If your teenager just decided that they aren’t, in fact, too old to go out on Beggars’ Night, your little one accidentally ruined their costume at the school party, or you decided at the last minute to accept an invitation to a costumed Halloween party, you’re going to need a costume, fast. If you hop on the Internet, you will find an absolute plethora of “last minute” “cheap and easy” Halloween costume ideas; the problem is, many of them take a lot more time than the last minute offers, and require a trip or two to the local craft or fabric store. Here, I am going to give you seven absolutely last-minute, cheap and easy Halloween costume ideas that you really, truly, can probably put together from stuff you have around the house, or a quick stop at the drugstore, tops. Sometimes, we have to make the best of what we’ve got, and these Halloween costumes will help you do just that!
If you have the time to stop at the costume shop for a set of pig ears and a nose, that’s great, but pink construction or scrapbook paper and a few odds and ends will work just fine! Cut out piggie ears and attach them to a headband with tape or hot glue. It’s easy to make a pig snout out of a bathroom tissue or paper towel roll, cut down to a couple of inches in length and covered in pink paper. Make a hole in each side of the snout with a hole punch or kitchen skewer to attach elastic or a ribbon tie to hold your snout on your face. Wrap up in a big, cozy fleece blanket, and you have an hilarious and adorable Halloween costume! This is especially good when it’s cold out and you want to stay toasty warm!
It’s not a cop-out, it’s a classic! Dress in your favorite sparkly or spooky black outfit, add some touches of poison green or purple, apply glamorous makeup, and you’re almost there! If you don’t have an old witch hat knocking around the house, you can fashion one out of a cone-style kids party hat and some black paper. Cover the party hat in black paper, and then glue or tape it onto a circle of black paper. Attach that to a headband or sturdy hair barrette, and voila! Witch costume! If you have the time and resources to stop at the Halloween store for a proper hat, striped tights and a spider ring, that’s great, but it’s really not necessary, and that’s the beauty of this costume!
This is a funny one! Stop at the drugstore for a medical eyepatch and a cheap black eyeliner pencil. Wear one of your favorite outfits, don the eye patch, and then use the eyeliner to add one feature to your face. Guys, a drawn-on moustache with curled ends is great, while ladies might go for a Marilyn Monroe-esque beauty mark. Now, you are your own Evil Twin, just like those in gothic novels and 80s soap operas! You can really get into character with this one, switching between your own name and one that rhymes with your own, getting small details of your life slightly wrong, etc. This is sure to entertain your friends!
A fixture of classic costumes, a sheet-ghost is fun and simple to put together. But you can kick the fun factor up a notch with a stop at the thrift store, or even better, a rummage in the linen closet! Take an old flowered or printed sheet, throw it over your head and mark your eyes with a marker. Cut eye-holes about an inch and a half in diameter, and—this is key—edge the cuts in glue or clear nail polish so they don’t fray or rip out. Add a classic orange plastic pumpkin Halloween bucket, and you are that one kid who is slightly disappointed in their grownup, and looks hilarious! Lay the sheet away for another year’s costume, or cut it into pieces for cleaning rags. This is a funny crowd-pleaser costume that is truly cheap and easy!
These fascinating invertebrates make for a quick and easy Halloween costume. Start with an umbrella—the plastic bubble kind in white or another light color is best but anything will do in a pinch. Attach crepe paper, tulle, or other gauzy fabric tendrils to the underside of the umbrella, concentrating on the edge. Wear a monochromatic outfit that matches your umbrella and its tendrils; easy knits or athletic wear are ideal for this so that you can be perfectly comfortable all evening. Aaaaand, you’re a jellyfish! If you have the time and inclination, those tiny LED fairy lights look great in the underside of the umbrella, but it’s absolutely not necessary.
This costume makes lots of “last minute” costume lists, and there is a reason why, which we will elucidate. Rosie the Riveter is about an idea, not specifics, so it’s easy to capture the concept with a few key signifiers rather than highly-specific pieces. We know that almost every Lands’ End shopper has a terrific chambray shirt, and that’s a great place to start for this costume. If you have a navy blue factory jumpsuit, super! But dark blue pants, a chambray shirt, a quick updo, a red bandanna, winged eyeliner and patriotic red lipstick are all you need to convey this empowered-woman favorite! After all, “We can do it!”
Dress all in white. A dress is fine, capris and a T-shirt or sweater work well, too. Spend about 20 minutes blowing up and—this is important—safety pinning balloons in clear, as in transparent, white, and one pastel color such as light pink or light blue to your outfit, concentrating around the face and shoulders. If you’re wondering how to safety-pin balloons to fabric, simply remember to pin through the rubber under the knot, not the inflated part. It is actually extremely easy once you get the hang of it. You might consider wearing a shower cap, or a headband with more “bubbles,” a net loofa or a rubber duckie attached! Carry a long-handled back brush if you like; it gives your costume that little something extra.
When you have to throw together a costume on the fly, remember that doing something quickly, with no fuss, is usually a lot easier and a lot more fun than a lot of planning. Rather than stressing over an elaborate costume for weeks, you spend half an hour making some ears or applying makeup; I think that sounds a heck of a lot better! Having some ideas in your proverbial bag of tricks can make you the grownup or bestie that comes through in the clutch, too, which is always a nice feeling. If it comes down to the very last minute, try our best ideas for a last-second DIY Halloween costume, and concentrate on having fun instead of your outfit!