Will Byers Costume Guide

Will Byers is a beloved character known for his gentle nature, artistic talent, and unwavering friendship. This costume guide will help you recreate Will's classic look from "Stranger Things," offering step-by-step instructions and insights on how to capture his distinctive style. Whether you're heading to a convention or channeling Will's spirit for Halloween, we'll guide you toward an authentic transformation. We'll also explore how to go beyond the outfit and embody Will's personality, as well as delve into his significance in the show's thrilling narrative. With our experience in crafting creative costumes, we'll ensure your Will Byers portrayal is both impressive and faithful to the character.

Our Verdict:

  • Difficulty: 3/10
    • Most of Will's outfit is achievable with everyday or thrifted finds.
    • The striped shirt might be the trickiest element if you're aiming for an exact match.
  • Can you build it from your own wardrobe: 
    • This depends on your existing clothes! If you or a family member have 80s style athletic shorts, plain white sneakers, and tube socks with stripes, you're halfway there.
    • The striped shirt is the most specific item, making it less likely to already be owned.
  • Scare factor: 1/10
    • Will's costume isn't inherently scary. However, adding "Upside Down" makeup effects could increase the scare factor!
  • Cost: $$$$$ Here's a rough breakdown:
      • Basic (from your wardrobe or thrifted): ~$10-$25
        • (if you need to purchase a striped shirt secondhand)
      • Mid-range (mix of new and pre-owned items): ~$30-$60
        • (if you need to purchase new elements like sneakers, shorts, or a more accurate shirt)
      • High-End (replica pieces): ~$60+ (if you want an exact replica shirt, custom-made shorts, or brand-specific sneakers for accuracy)

Additional Notes on Cost:

  • Thrift stores in your area are your friend for this costume!
  • Fabric paint/markers for the shirt and sneakers offer an affordable DIY route.
  • Sales and online secondhand marketplaces can be great sources for the specific items.

Will Byers Costume Essentials

How to DIY Will Byers' Iconic Look

Channel Will's understated 80s style and capture his endearing spirit with these DIY costume tips. While we've provided a shopping list above for those short on time, there's a special satisfaction in crafting your own Will Byers look. Let's transform everyday pieces into the perfect costume for embodying this beloved character.

The Iconic Striped Rugby Shirt

  • What You Need:

    • Long-sleeved T-shirt (preferably white or very light gray)
    • Fabric paint (Red, Navy/Black)
    • Wide paintbrushes
    • Cardboard (to insert inside the shirt)
    • Ruler or measuring tape
    • Optional: Iron-on transfer paper, striped fabric
  • How To Do It

    1. Prep: Insert cardboard inside the shirt to prevent paint bleeding. Lay the shirt flat.
    2. Measure: Mark out stripes with a ruler, aiming for roughly 1-1.5 inches wide.
    3. Paint: Carefully begin painting the red stripes first, let them fully dry. Then add the navy stripes, allowing for full drying between colors.
    4. Alternative: No time to paint? Consider iron-on transfer paper pre-printed with stripes, or finding a striped long-sleeve shirt in similar colors.
  • Bonus Tips:

    • Will's shirt features uneven stripes, so don't stress about perfection! I find slightly thicker red stripes and a thinner navy stripe create that homemade 80s look.
    • If hand-painting is tricky, search online for vintage striped rugby shirts - you might find the perfect match!

Comfortable Navy Shorts

  • What You Need:

    • Navy athletic shorts (ideally mid-thigh length)
    • Fabric scissors
    • Optional: Sandpaper, lighter
  • How To Do It:

    1. Find the Shorts: Search thrift stores or online secondhand shops for 80s style athletic shorts. The more worn-in, the better!
    2. Customize: If they're too long, carefully trim them shorter and leave the edges raw.
    3. Weathering (Optional): To achieve Will's well-worn look, lightly sand edges or distress the fabric with a lighter (adult supervision advised).
  • Bonus Tips:

    • Check sportswear sections for kids' sizes if you're petite - those often have the right proportions for Will's look.
    • If you can't find navy, dark blue or even black athletic shorts work as a base.

Classic White Sneakers

  • What You Need:

    • Plain white canvas sneakers (the more retro-looking, the better)
    • Navy or black fabric pen/marker
    • Reference images of the specific sneaker brand
  • How To Do It:

    1. Research: Look up the three-stripe sneaker style prominent in the 80s. Pay attention to the stripe design specific to that era.
    2. Imitate: Carefully draw the stripes onto your white sneakers, using your reference images as a guide. Repeat on the other shoe.
  • Bonus Tips:

    • I've had success finding affordable white sneakers at thrift stores that are perfect for customization!
    • A slightly dirty/scuffed look on the sneakers adds to the authenticity of Will's outfit.

Tube Socks with Stripes

  • What You Need:

    • White knee-high tube socks
    • Blue fabric paint or fabric markers
    • Cardboard inserts
  • How To Do It:

    1. Prep: Insert cardboard into the socks to prevent bleeding.
    2. Paint: Carefully paint two blue stripes near the top of each sock, allowing them to fully dry before adding any additional details.
  • Bonus Tips:

    • This is a great project for kids to help with!
    • If painting is messy, blue athletic socks often already have the stripe detail.

You're well on your way to channeling Will's classic look! Next up, let's explore how to capture his gentle mannerisms and bring this beloved character to life.

Will Byers Cosplay

Adding Will's quiet determination and genuine demeanor will complete your transformation. Let's explore the subtle ways to channel his personality, adding true authenticity to your costume.

Will Byers
Will Byers

How to act like Will Byers at the Halloween Party:

A Touch of Shyness

  • What to Do: Will often displays a slight shyness, especially around new people or in unfamiliar situations.

  • How to Do It:

    • Body Language: Maintain a slightly slumped posture with your shoulders rounded and head down. Avoid bold gestures or taking up a lot of space.
    • Eye Contact: Hesitate before making eye contact. Dart your gaze around nervously from time to time.
    • Voice: Speak softly and avoid interrupting others.
  • Bonus Tips: Remember, even in brave moments, Will's core nature is somewhat timid. I sometimes practice Will's expressions in the mirror before heading out in costume!

Quiet Observation

  • What to Do: Will is a keen observer, often noticing details others miss.

  • How to Do It:

    • Focus: Pause and really look at your surroundings as though searching for clues or something unusual.
    • Reactions: Express subtle reactions to everyday occurrences – a frown at a loud noise, a shiver in the cold.
    • Wonder: While Will's world is dark, he still retains childlike curiosity. Allow a hint of wonder in your eyes from time to time.
  • Bonus Tips: This is perfect for photoshoots! Imagine what Will might be quietly noticing in the scene and let it show on your face.

Unwavering Loyalty

  • What to Do: Will's devotion to his friends is his greatest strength.

  • How to Do It:

    • Protective: Stay physically near your friends in costume, especially if they portray Mike, Lucas, Dustin, or Eleven.
    • Supportive: Prioritize your friends' needs. If another character is teasing them, step in with a concerned look or a subtle word of defense.
    • Always There: Even when Will is scared, he rarely backs down from helping his friends. Channel that quiet courage as part of your portrayal.
  • Bonus Tips: If you're attending a convention with friends in costume, this is where your group dynamic can really shine!

Will's Artistic Eye

  • What to Do: Will's creativity fuels both his artwork and his ability to see beyond the obvious.

  • How to Do It:

    • Sketchbook: Carry a small sketchbook and occasionally jot down notes or quick doodles. This is a great prop and helps convey Will's artistic side.
    • Imagination: When describing things, subtly add an element of fantasy or whimsy, reflecting Will's vivid inner world.
    • Wonder: Allow yourself moments of awe when encountering something new or exciting as if fueling your artistic ideas.
  • Bonus Tips: Learning a few quick sketches beforehand can make those sketchbook moments feel more genuine. I find myself doodling in Will's style even after the convention is over!

Combine these techniques, and you'll find yourself naturally inhabiting Will's essence. These subtle mannerisms layered with your awesome DIY costume will offer a truly convincing portrayal!

Couple, Group and Family Costume Ideas

Take your Will Byers costume to the next level with these fun and creative couple, group, and family costume combinations!

Will Byers & Eleven
Will Byers & Eleven

Couple Costume Ideas

  • Idea 1: Will Byers and Mike Wheeler (Best Friends)

    • Why It Works: Their bond is at the heart of "Stranger Things." Will's quiet loyalty beautifully contrasts with Mike's bolder personality.
    • Difficulty: Easy
  • Idea 2: Will Byers and the Demogorgon (Hero vs. Monster)

    • Why It Works: The ultimate clash! This visually striking pair represents Will’s strength against overwhelming odds.
    • Difficulty: Moderate (finding/making a Demogorgon costume)
    • This one is my favorite couple costume idea.
  • Idea 3: Will Byers and Finn Wolfhard (Actor Connection)

    • Why it Works: A meta-costume for superfans! Dress in Will's Upside Down garb, your partner as Finn outside the "Stranger Things" world.
    • Difficulty: Easy

Group Costume Ideas

  • Idea 1: The Hawkins Middle School AV Club

    • Why It Works: Capture the quintessential 80s nerd squad with Will, Mike, Dustin, and Lucas. Bonus points if you add Eleven or Max!
    • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Idea 2: Creatures of the Upside Down

    • Why It Works: One Will Byers with an array of monsters - Demogorgon, Mind Flayer, or original creature designs! Perfect for groups of varying skill levels.
    • Difficulty: Ranges from Easy to Challenging depending on the creature
  • Idea 3: 80s Kids on Bikes

    • Why It Works: Tap into the broader trend! "Stranger Things", "E.T.", "The Goonies" - channel those iconic movie vibes with similar style adventurers.
    • Difficulty: Easy

Family Costume Ideas

  • Idea 1: The Byers Family

    • Why It Works: Joyce's frantic energy, Jonathan's cool-older-brother look, and Will's earnestness are an instantly recognizable trio.
    • Difficulty: Easy
  • Idea 2: Characters Facing the Supernatural

    • Why It Works: "Stranger Things" plus your favorites! Think Joyce Byers, Buffy Summers, or Mulder and Scully, united against the unexplained.
    • Difficulty: Varies depending on character choices
  • Idea 3: Noah Schnapp Through the Years
    • Why It Works: This is hilarious! Noah Schnapp alongside his characters from "Stranger Things", "The Peanuts Movie", and more. Perfect for showcasing different ages.
    • Difficulty: Varies by character

About Will Byers

Will Byers is more than a victim of the Upside Down. He's a layered and often overlooked character whose experiences shape him into a quiet hero, making him a fascinating figure in the "Stranger Things" universe. Let's explore his background, his role in the story, and why he resonates so deeply with fans.

Character Overview

  • Role in "Stranger Things": Will is often the catalyst. His disappearance kicks off the series, and his lingering connection to the Upside Down drives much of the plot.
  • Played By: Noah Schnapp

Background and Personality Traits

  • Personality: Gentle, artistic, and loyal. Traumatized by the Upside Down, Will struggles with feeling different but retains an inner strength.
  • Appearance: Bowl-cut hair, small stature, and 80s attire like striped shirts and high-waisted pants visually reinforce his gentle and somewhat sheltered nature.

Role in the Story

  • Turning Points: Will's disappearance into the Upside Down, his possession by the Mind Flayer, and his lingering psychic link to the Upside Down mark significant shifts in the story's direction.
  • Impact: While often needing rescue, Will's unique connection helps his friends understand and battle the threats against Hawkins. His experiences drive him to mature while yearning to retain his childhood innocence.

Cultural Impact

  • Fan Reception: Will is a beloved underdog. Fans root for him, create intricate theories about his powers, and his vulnerability leads to iconic cosplay moments.
  • Thematic Significance: Will represents the struggle between innocence and experience, and the lasting effects of trauma. He embodies the idea that true strength can lie within quiet perseverance.

With this deeper understanding of Will Byers, you're well-equipped to bring him to life – whether through your costume or by channeling his captivating spirit.

Further Reading


With your DIY costume, a grasp of Will's gentle demeanor, and an understanding of his significance within the "Stranger Things" world, you're prepared for a truly authentic transformation. Whether channeling Will for a convention, Halloween, or just for fun, this guide has provided the key ingredients. Now, step into his shoes, carry that sketchbook, and bravely face whatever your imagination – or the Upside Down – might throw your way!

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