15 Last-Minute Costume Ideas for Halloween

Photo: Aaron Dyer

Not every Halloween costume needs to be planned months in advance or requires hours of sewing time. It's quite possible to pull together a look 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. Some of the easiest items you can use are a mask, headpiece, or a pair of glasses, which can be found in a costume shop or an accessories store. All you need to do is add some attachments—try feathers, fur, or creepy-crawly fake bugs—and you have a ready-to-go look in less than 15 minutes.

Your hairstyle also provides endless last-minute costume possibilities. Braid your hair and wrap it around your head in the fashion of ancient Romans and Greeks. Or turn yourself into Medusa by weaving in some rubber snakes. Complete each look by wearing all white and golden sandals. Now, for the fun part: It's time to suit up and let the spooky festivities commence!

01 of 15

Bad-Luck Buck

deer taxidermy head piece costume
The Morrisons

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.

Shop Now: Upredo Brown Oak Wood Grain Adhesive Paper, 15.8" x 79," $10.89, amazon.com; Country Art House White Foam Core Backings, 3/16", $20.95 for 10, amazon.com; Elope Deer Antlers, $31.19, amazon.com.

02 of 15

Deli Rose

wrapped deli rose costume
The Morrisons

Turn yourself into a walking present with this clever DIY costume. 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.

Shop Now: ShopWildThings.com Oversized Large Silk Rose Bloom with Removable Stem, 44" x 14", $27.99, shopwildthings.com; Offray Grosgrain Craft Ribbon, 1 1/2", in Red, $11.99 for 10 yards, amazon.com; Wosalba Women's Long-Sleeve Mock Turtleneck in green, $25.55, amazon.com.

03 of 15

Model Pupil

pupil mask costume
The Morrisons

We'll let you decide whether you're an evil or all-seeing eye. Decorate an inexpensive white Venetian mask with a painted-on pupil, paper corners, and extra-long plastic car-headlight eyelashes. 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.

Shop Now: Mask It 71001 White Full Female Mask, 8 1/2", $7.79, amazon.com.

04 of 15

Queen of the Mice

queen of white mice costume
The Morrisons

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.

Shop Now: Kats'n'Us White Mouse Toys, $13.99 for 10, amazon.com; BBCrafts White Floral Mesh Wrap, 10", $5.99 for 10 yds., bbcrafts.com.

05 of 15

Holly Golightly "Cat" Costume

Chelsey Heidorn

To recreate this iconic Breakfast at Tiffany's scene, pull out a trench coat, black leggings, and a pair of flats. For Holly's hair, pin half of your hair in the back with bobby pins and separate the rest into two pigtails. Carry a stuffed cat (or, if you're hosting a Halloween party at home, keep your own cat cradled in your arms).

06 of 15

Glam Goddess Costume

Aaron Dyer

In this ensemble, you'll 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.

Shop Now: Pattnium Short Straight Bob Wig with Flat Bangs, in Sky Blue, $19.99, amazon.com.

07 of 15

Flower Girl Costume

Aaron Dyer

Perfect for the bohemian spirit, this costume has a decidedly '60s vibe. To recreate this costume, remove stems and stamens from 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.

Shop Now: Willbond Store Faux Daisy Flower Bouquet, $21.99, amazon.com.

08 of 15

Honeycomb Coiffures

honeycomb and flower fan paper wigs for Halloween
Barbara Donninelli

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.

Shop Now: Bingpeng Paper Honeycomb Tissue Balls, $8.99 for 3, amazon.com; Flexicore Packaging Store Hot Pink Gift Wrap Tissue Paper, $5.89 for 10 sheets, amazon.com.

09 of 15

"Eye See You" Costume

braided hair updo with doll eyes
Addie Juell

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.

Shop Now: Eyes from Schoepfers Oval Doll Eyes, from $15.80, etsy.com; All in One Bobby Pins with Glue-on Flat Pads, $8.99 for 50, amazon.com.

10 of 15

Werewolf Costume


From the knees up, you're a law-abiding citizen. Below the ankles, you're a were-wolf on the prowl. To get the look of a beast mid-transformation, clip a row of hair extensions to the cuff of your favorite shoes. Add some makeup to coordinate your look, and you're ready for a night on the town (don't forget to howl at the moon).

Shop Now: MapofBeauty Long Straight Five-Clip Hair Extensions, in Brown, $6.99 each, amazon.com.

11 of 15

Bank Robber Costume

bank robber costume for Halloween
Addie Juell

Got ten minutes? Great—that's all you need to pull off this Halloween costume. 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.

Shop Now: Yasashi Nylon Drawstring Storage Bags, $19.16 for 3, amazon.com; Teacher Created Resources Store Play Money, $5.99, amazon.com.

12 of 15

Crow Costume

no-sew crow cape costume for Halloween
Addie Juell

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.

Shop Now: FSLESI Rooster Hackle Feather Fringe Trim, $13.99 for 1 yd., amazon.com; M&J Trimming 02450 Black Velvet Ribbon, 2", $5.98 for 1 yd., mjtrim.com; Elegant Lashes F096 Feather False Eyelashes, $12.99 a pair, amazon.com.

13 of 15

Holly Golightly Little Black Dress Costume

Chelsey Heidorn

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 little black dress, a pearl strand necklace, large sunglasses, and rhinestone earrings.

14 of 15


skeleton makeup tutorial

Some black and white makeup is all it takes to achieve this spooky skeleton look. Start by painting your entire face white, then add on the details—use black eyeliner for the darkened out eyes, cheek bones, and nose and white liquid face paint to draw on the teeth. Complete the eery undead look by wearing all black.

15 of 15



Are you a fan of Greek mythology? Dress up as one of the most iconic legends of all time: Medusa. The look is easy to achieve—simply braid three hair extensions and wrap them into a bun on your head, using bobby pins to hold the extensions in place. People with long hair should also braid their natural strands and wrap them into the bun, while those with shorter hair should should simply pin it down. Finally, weave fake snakes into your hair and pin them in place until they feel secure.

Shop Now: Skylety 15-Piece Realistic Rubber Snakes, $17.99, amazon.com.

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