After things were understandably subdued last year due to the pandemic, Halloween celebrations were back across the city over the weekend. New Yorkers of all ages tend to take this holiday quite seriously, and after a year of mostly avoiding human contact, everyone seemed more excited than ever to show off their brilliant, clever and often weird costumes while traversing our mass transit system.

Indefatigable photographer Sai Mokhtari, who first started this Subway Halloween project nine years ago (it has become our favorite annual tradition since), went out between 5 p.m. and 10 p.m. on Sunday to capture all the hottest Halloween looks... in transit. Overall, Mokhtari said, "the subways were more crowded than last year but definitely a far cry from pre-pandemic days (I'd say maybe half as many people overall)."

Photos of people dressed up in costumes on the subway for Halloween 2021

Squid Game


By far the most popular costume this year was Squid Game—we counted at least 10 people or groups of people wearing some variation on the instantly iconic costumes. There were plenty of classic superheroes and other movie and TV references: Spider-Man, Spongebob, Cruella, Star Wars, Waldos, Ghostbusters, Venom, Wonder Woman, and more. Perhaps most surprising were what we didn't see: not a lot of Day Of The Dead costumes, few bloody zombies, and perhaps best of all, not a single “COVID virus/COVID-themed” costume. 

"I tend to gravitate towards pretty costumes, sparkly things, the wild, the outrageous and homemade, or clever low effort things that have to be explained to me," Mokhtari explained.

Check out all the photos up above, and if you spotted any great NYC costumes out there, send photos to