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A Photographer On The Prowl Captured New York City's Most Outrageous Halloween Costumes

New Yorkers traded masks for ... well, different masks this Halloween weekend, and Adam Powell captured some of the best costumes on the streets.

Posted on November 1, 2021, at 11:17 a.m. ET

Adam Powell is a British photographer who brings an outsider's eye to his street photos of New York and America as a whole. His work often focuses on obsession, and for many people, Halloween is as obsessed as they get. His photos of America seek out the strange and reflect it back for us to consider. There's never been a better time to get weird than Halloween, nearly two years into the pandemic, with plenty pent-up energy and costume ideas boiling over.

For these photos, Powell crisscrossed Manhattan and Brooklyn over two days and brought us back the best of the costume landscape.

Five people on a bench dressed like characters from Scooby Doo
Adam Powell for BuzzFeed News

Scooby and the gang take a seat in Washington Square Park.

Left, a man dressed as a skeleton walking a dog dressed like a skeleton; right, a jeff koons balloon animal dog
Adam Powell for BuzzFeed News

Left, a man walks his dog in Bushwick, Brooklyn, both dressed as skeletons. Right, a Jeff Koons balloon dog in Union Square.

Two people on a bench with sheets over their heads, dressed like ghosts
Adam Powell for BuzzFeed News

A pair of ghosts take a seat in Washington Square Park.

Left, a hand holding a phone live streaming a man dressed like the joker, right a man dressed as shrek looking lovingly at his partner
Adam Powell for BuzzFeed News

Left, a man dressed as the Joker, livestreams from Times Square; right, a couple dressed up as Shreks outside a bar in the East Village.

Three women dressed as blue men entering the subway through the turnstiles
Adam Powell for BuzzFeed News

Three women dressed as the Blue Man Group leave the subway in Brooklyn.

Adam Powell for BuzzFeed News

Costumes along the parade route

A large group of people dressed as playing cards banging drums
Adam Powell for BuzzFeed News

A group dressed as playing cards makes their way up 6th Avenue.

Left, the hulk in a liquor store, right, a man with bad makeup in front of a miller high life sign
Adam Powell for BuzzFeed News

Left, the Hulk makes a stop in a liquor store in the East Village; right, a man in makeup outside a bar in the East Village.

A ghost on a subway, a witch sits next to him
Adam Powell for BuzzFeed News

Halloween revelers catch the L train into the city on Oct. 30, 2021.

A woman in a gimp costume and a dog looking surprised
Adam Powell for BuzzFeed News

Left, a woman in a gimp costume is led by her partner in Union Square; right, a dog dressed up for the occasion.

A man in a cowboy hat pretends to pour a beer into the mouth of an inflatable cow
Adam Powell for BuzzFeed News

A cowboy and his cow enjoy a drink at a bar in the West Village.

Left, the tin man drinking a beer, right, a bob ross painting sipping out of a pouch
Adam Powell for BuzzFeed News

Left, the tin man with a beer; right, a Bob Ross painting takes a drink.

Six people dressed as spiderman, one batman, a captain america and a joker in front of a fountain
Adam Powell for BuzzFeed News

A group of superheroes gathers for photos by the fountain in Washington Square Park.

A baby in a stroller in costume with a pumpkin bucket, right a witch between closing subway doors
Adam Powell for BuzzFeed News

Left, a child dressed up as a chicken gets taken trick-or-treating in Bushwick, Brooklyn; right, a witch alights the Q train at Times Square.

A ghostly marie antoinette walking in front of a door that says stair D on the street
Adam Powell for BuzzFeed News

A ghostly figure walks down Houston Street.

Left a group of people in wild costumes, right a man with assless chaps on the street
Adam Powell for BuzzFeed News

Left, a reveler dressed up as Cynthia from Rugrats at 3 Dollar Bill, Brooklyn; right, assless chaps in the East Village.

A drag queen with a massive purple wig in a purple bathroom
Adam Powell for BuzzFeed News

Popular drag queen Rify Royalty preparing for her show in the bathroom of 3 Dollar Bill in Brooklyn.

Left, a nun and a clown in face makeup look out the window of a bar, right, a man in adidas and a king costume sits alone on a bench
Adam Powell for BuzzFeed News

Left, a nun and a clown in a bar; right, a king sits alone in Washington Square Park.

A group of partygoers in a club, with disco balls all around them
Adam Powell for BuzzFeed News

The dancefloor of 3 Dollar Bill, where people had gathered for the "Haus of Whorrors."


A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.