17 Last-Minute Costume Ideas for Halloween
Calling all costume coordinators: This year, there's no need to fret about sold-out sizes or sewing fiascoes. All you need is a solid-color long-sleeved shirt and a twisted sense of humor to pull together these quick and quirky getups. Wear them with a big wink, especially if you go for our Model Pupil look.
Not every Halloween costume needs to be planned months in advance or require hours of sewing time. It's quite possible to pull together a costume with a few items from around the house, a touch of makeup, and simple supplies from your local crafts store.
When choosing a last-minute Halloween costume, think in terms of accessories: One of the easiest items you can use is a mask, headpiece, or a pair of glasses—all of which can be found in a costume shop or an accessories store. All you have to do is add some attachments—feathers, fur, or creepy-crawly fake bugs—and you have a ready-to-go costume in less than 15 minutes! Creepy crawlers added to some sunglasses are frightening, but you rock the style with a black turtleneck and black lipstick. Become a flower by attaching some petals to the glasses' frames and mimic the stem by donning a green tank-top. All of these ideas need no sewing required.
Your hairstyle also provides endless last-minute costume possibilities. Braid your hair and wrap it around your head in the fashion of the ancient Romans and Greeks. But turn into Medusa when you weave in some rubber snakes. Wear all white and golden sandals to complete the look. For the idea pictured here, adhere plastic bugs and snakes to black frames with durable glue, such as E6000 permanent craft adhesive. Stick extras to your cheeks with body glue. Finish with black lipstick and a turtleneck.
Now suit up, everyone, and let the wild rumpus start!
Artist and former Living staffer Lauren Dumler is the dearly departed deer in the taxidermy topper she dreamed up, featuring foam board covered in wood-veneer paper and lightweight antlers. To craft this costume, cover foam core with spray adhesive, and press and smooth wood-veneer paper onto it; let dry completely. With a craft knife, cut foam core into a plaque shape. Cut a three-inch slit at the center of the top of the plaque, then cut a hole large enough to fit your neck. When ready to wear, put on a turtleneck. Use eyeliner to line your eyes, accent eyebrows, and outline nose and lips as shown. Add white freckles. Put your hair up in pigtails, and secure with antler ponytail holders. Fit the plaque around your neck.
Don't bring a last-minute hostess gift; dress like one instead. Slip on an oversize faux-bud headband, wrap yourself up in a sheet of clear vinyl (just add armholes),and cinch it with a satiny red bow. To make this costume, hot-glue faux blossom onto a headband; let dry completely. Cut out leaf and thorn shapes from crepe paper. Cut out armholes in vinyl at the proper height for you, leaving 10 to 12 inches of excess above them for your wrapper. When ready to wear, put on the turtleneck and headband, slip your arms through the holes, and cinch the vinyl at your waist with the ribbon. Have a friend pin the leaves and thorns onto your sleeves.
ShopWildThings.com Oversized Large Silk Rose Bloom with Removable Stem, 44" x 14", $19.99, shopwildthings.com; ZQNYCY Crepe Paper Rolls, in P14 Dark Green, $6.99 for 2, amazon.com; Joann Fabrics 16-Gauge Clear Vinyl, 54", $6.99 per yd., joann.com; Offray Grosgrain Craft Ribbon, 1 1/2", in Red, $8.92 for 10 yards, amazon.com; Wosalba Women's Long-Sleeve Mock Turtleneck, in 38218 Dark Green, $19.89, amazon.com.
We'll let you decide whether you're an evil or all-seeing eye. Trick out an inexpensive white Venetian mask with a painted-on pupil, paper corners, and extra-long plastic car-headlight eyelashes (they really drive home the idea). To create this costume, cut a circle out of the paper or a plate to make a stencil. Place the stencil on the center of the mask, and spray paint it black; let dry completely. Cut white paper or a plate into rounded triangles, and hot-glue them to either side of the mask to make the corners; let dry completely. Hot-glue lash strip to top edge of mask, and let dry completely.
Queen of the Mice
Step out with a scurrying, pink-eyed colony—furry cat toys hot-glued onto a floral-mesh bib—and you'll terrify anybody who has ever heard a squeak in the night. To recreate this look, cut mesh into a bib shape. Hot-glue on rows of mouse toys to cover it, then glue one mouse toy onto the ring; let dry completely. When ready to wear, put on white tee, and line upper and lower lash lines with white eyeliner, then pink eye shadow, extending to cover the entire lids. Apply several coats of pink mascara to your upper and lower lashes. Put on your bib and ring.
Glam Goddess Costume
In this ensemble, you'll sure know how to make an entrance to the party. With an electric blue bob, lipstick to match, and a fur-lined shawl, you're guaranteed to evoke the airs of a socialite. A pair of goggly eyes give it a campy twist. To recreate this look, print our clip-art for cartoon eyes onto card stock. Cut out, and stick to round lenses with double-sided tape. Complete the look with a blue wig and lipstick and a furry stole.
Pattnium Short Straight Bob Wig with Flat Bangs, in Sky Blue, $14.99, amazon.com.
Bat Woman Costume
There's no easier costume than this one in head-to-toe black. To make the costume, print our bat template onto black card stock. Cut out, and stick to round glasses with double-sided tape. Swipe on red lipstick, then add a drizzle of fake blood.
Flower Girl Costume
Perfect for the bohemian spirit, this costume has a decidedly '60s vibe. To recreate this costume, remove stems and stamens from two artificial daisies. Use craft glue to reinforce layers of petals; let dry. Enlarge the centers with scissors. Stick flowers to glasses with double-sided tape. Mimic a stem with a green tank top.
If you have tissue-paper honeycomb decorations and bobby pins handy, then you can design an artistic, avant-garde look. Simply remove the cardboard backing, fan out the form, and secure it in place with bobby pins. Add color to your hair with cheery shades of pink, orange, or any other color that corresponds with your chosen outfit.
"Eye See You" Costume
This will make people do a double-take: Flaunt a pretty braided updo that reminds everyone that you have eyes in the back of your head. If you know how to braid hair with one of two techniques—the classic braid or French braid—style your hair into a loose wraparound crown and nestle glued-on-eyeball-hairpins.
From the knees up, you're a law-abiding citizen. Below the ankles, you're a were-woman on the prowl. To get the look of a beast mid-transformation, clip a row of hair extensions to the cuff of your favorite booties. Add some earthy makeup to coordinate your look, and you're ready for a night on the town (don't forget to howl at the moon).
Bank Robber Costume
Got ten minutes? Great—that's all you need to pull off this Halloween costume (or pull off a grab-and-go cash scheme for that matter). To rob a bank in style, stencil dollar signs onto black shoe bags, fill each with a half-inflated balloon, and pin on play money. Then dress in black and go extra-heavy on the eyeliner.
Be a blackbird in the dead of night with a shimmering cape of fine feathers. For this costume, no sewing skills are needed: Simply cut a semicircle out of black felt, then cut a notch in the center of the straight side to make an opening for your neck. Hot-glue on overlapping rows of feather trim, working from bottom up until covered. Add feathery faux eyelashes as an added touch.
FSLESI Rooster Hackle Feather Fringe Trim, $10 for 2 yd., amazon.com; M&J Trimming 02450 Black Velvet Ribbon, 2", $4 per yd., mjtrim.com; Elegant Lashes F096 Feather False Eyelashes, $11 a pair, amazon.com.
Holly Golightly "LBD" Costume
If you're an Audrey Hepburn fan (or simply love to rewatch Breakfast at Tiffany's), this costume can easily be assembled from garments in your closet. Chelsea Heidorn and Anna Leisermeyer, of the blog In Honor of Design, show us how to use closet staples to create this look. Think: your LBD, a pearl strand necklace, large sunglasses, and rhinestone earrings.
Holly Golightly "Out on the Town" Costume
For Holly Golightly's "out on the town" look, simply wrap thick wire-rimmed gold ribbon around the center of a sun hat and secure on the inside with clear tape. Loop a long piece of ribbon underneath and over the first piece to drape off the hat. Then, secure on the inside of the hat with a safety pin and remove the tape. Wear your black dress and pearls for a completed look.
Holly Golightly "Moon River" Costume
For a casual Holly Golightly ensemble, you'll need a pair of skinny jeans, an open-neck sweatshirt, flats, a guitar, and a hand towel. Twist the towel around the top of your head and secure in back with bobby pins or rubber band. Style your hair in a ponytail.
Holly Golightly "Cat" Costume
For the iconic Breakfast at Tiffany's scene, pull a trench coat, black leggings, and a pair of flats. For Holly's hair in this scene, pin half of your hair in the back with bobby pins and separate the rest of your hair into two pigtails. Carry a stuffed cat (or, if you're hosting a Halloween party at home, your own cat cradled in your arms).