I wouldn’t really consider “unpreparedness” one of my main personality traits, but for some reason Halloween always seems to sneak up on me year after year, leaving me stuck with the same boring costume ideas.
Like, do you ever have all these big plans to do an amazing group costume with all your friends, a la The Kardashians, then all of a sudden it’s October 30th, everyone else has bailed harder than a block of hay, and you find yourself stuck in the basement of a costume shop where the only things left are mismatched animal ears and tails, along with the really nice — yet excessively high priced — costumes that you don’t want to break bank just to wear for one night (what is this, your wedding…)?
Lucky for you, your closet can be turned into a makeshift costume shop with a little bit of optimism and creativity.
This year, consider going as some of these last minute Halloween costumes:
Are your palms sweaty? Knees weak? Arms heavy? Then we’ve got the perfect look for you! Don your favorite open zip up, pullover hoodie, and beanie, all in various (50?) shades of grey, along with blue jeans and sneakers, topped off with a pop of color in the form of black head phones.
(Vomit on your sweater is optional; angry face is not.)
2. Wednesday Addams
Have a bad case of that RBF? Pull out your long sleeved black dress (or sweater/skirt combo), a white collared button down, and tie your hair into braids for an instant Addams Family inspired getup. Yay homicide!
Classics are classic for a reason. Say you literally woke up on Halloween morning with no costume to wear. All you need to do is whip out the very bedsheet you just got out from under, cut two eye holes, color on some circles with a sharpie, and BAM! You’re now spooktacular. Just try not to be disappointed when instead of candy you end up with rocks.
4. Regina George
For all the Mean Girls out there who forgot to put a dress on hold at 1-3-5 back in January (sorry, you can try Sears…), worry not as you can still look like teen royalty this Halloween. All you need is a white tank top (that you’re okay with destroying, for the sake of an awesome costume), a purple bra, and a black skirt. SO fetch.
5. A Sim
My mom always did tell me I should “be myself.” And that’s exactly what this costume allows you to do! Just wear your own clothes, top it off with a homemade green construction paper Sims icon, and wallah! You just went from the laziest person at the party to the most creative in 3.5 seconds.
6. A Mummy
Your roommates will hate you when you’re out of toilet paper for a week, but you’ll be the life of the party when someone accidentally spills their drink. Note: Wrap over white jeans and a white tee shirt for maximum effect.
7. Brawny Paper Towel Guy
OR, if you still want to come in handy when it comes to tackling spills at the party, but also want to spare yourself the roommate battle, grab your favorite plaid button down and jeans, grow a beard, and just be the Brawny paper towel guy.
8. Jim Halpert/3-Hole-Punch
Two costumes in one, AWW YEA. All you need is three black construction paper circles, tape, scissors, and normal office attire to magically become America’s Sweetheart/the most underrated tool in the office. Then spend your entire night breaking the fourth wall with those iconic Halpert mugs to the camera.
8. Frida Kahlo
For all the bushy browed beauties out there looking to play connect the dots and sport a unibrow for the night, all you need is a white peasant dress, a butterfly or flower for your hair, and a dark eyeliner pencil. Brownie points if you can find yourself a primate friend to carry around!
9. Morton Salt Girl
Time to dig the sundresses out for one last hoorah before winter. Pair this iconic salt container from your kitchen cabinet with a yellow long sleeved shift dress (though really, any yellow sundress will work just fine on an intelligent crowd). If inadequate people ask you what your costume is supposed to be, you have the added bonus of being able to hit them with your umbrella.
10. Steve Jobs
Jacob: Are you the billionaire owner of Apple Computers?
Jacob: Oh, ok. In that case, you’ve got no right to wear New Balance sneakers, ever.
Remember that glorious scene from Crazy, Stupid Love? Well, according to Ryan Gosling, now may be your only chance to appropriately rock these sensible shoes. Pair ‘em with the late C.E.O’s trademark long sleeved turtle neck sweater and plain blue jeans. And of course, don’t forget to bring your iPhone. (If you have a Samsung Galaxy, why are you even considering this…)
11. Rene Magritte’s “Son of Man”
Do you have a suit? Good. Put it on. Do you have a bowler hat? Good. Put that on too. Then print out this picture of a giant green apple, cut it out, and tape the stem to your hat. Now you’re costumed and cultured!
12. U.S. Secret Service Agent
Take your best funeral suit and matching black tie, a white collared shirt, and a bad ass pair of aviators. For an ear piece, you can use any standard ear bud. Just have it running down inside your suit jacket, and remember to frequently hold your hand up to it to make sure you’re clear on your orders.
13. 404 – Costume Not Found
Okay, so this isn’t exactly a costume… and it’s probably going to earn you some serious eye rolls. But hey, if all you’ve really got to work with is a plain white tee and a sharpie, then don’t let the haters stop you from doing your thang.
14. The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge
Everybody loves a costume that involves a good pop culture reference. Approach fellow party goers with a bucket (full of ice water; or not, depending on how bold you feel) and demand candy/alcohol, lest they suffer the frigid consequences. All you need is a bucket, your day clothes, and a GIANT pair of balls.
15. Tim Howard
For any “beardily endowed” men out there, this costume takes a little more effort, but the benefits are oh so worth it. Hop into a pair of black shorts, knee socks, sneakers, and a long sleeved black tee shirt with “1” and “Howard” fixed on the front and back (with paper and safety pins, tape, embroidery, whatever floats your boat — or you could just wear his jersey, of course). Then walk around the party, spot people flirting with each other, and dive in between them. Successful block.
16. Olivia Pope from Scandal
Do you look this good in an off white lady suit? Definitely not. But do you own an acceptable off white blazer/blouse combo? Probably! Put ‘em all together and curl your hair to emulate the perfection that is Kerry Washington (don’t forget your floppy hat and extra extra extra long stemmed wine glass!).
17. Pat from Silver Linings Playbook
REPEAT ALERT! If you’re planning to attend two Halloween parties, you can use the same grey pullover hoodie that you used for your Eminem costume, and just pair it with a black gallon Hefty bag and grey sweat pants to seamlessly transform from hood rapper to Oscar-nominated actor! BONUS: If you get too ~inebriated~ and start acting crazy, you get to use the excuse that you were just “in character.” (But please refrain from calling your ex. If Veronica doesn’t want Bradley Cooper back, your chances are slim to none.)
It’s easy to do just follow these steps:
1: Cut a hole in a box.
2. Put your junk in that box.
3: Make her open the box.
And that’s the way you do it!
There’s a lot you can do with a pack of colorful construction paper, and this guy just gets it.
20. That JCrew Gingham Shirt
Reliable sources like this Instagram, Business Insider, and my own two eyes tell me every man in the world owns this damn shirt. Convince a few friends (who undoubtedly own it too) to join in and you’ve just become the preppiest gang the mean streets of suburbia have ever seen.
21. Beyoncé as Rosie The Riveter
No, not just Rosie the Riveter. Wear a simple denim button down shirt and classic red bandanna to embody the spirit of two powerful female icons at once. Most importantly, remember that shouting “WE CAN DO IT” or singing Beyoncé lyrics are the only two ways you can communicate with anyone all night long. WORTH. IT.
22. (The Book of) Mormon
Jon Stewart says, ““This (costume) is a crowning achievement of humanity. If aliens come thousands of years from now, and this is the only record of our time on earth, I will be absolutely satisfied with that.” Wow. Who WOULDN’T want to be that? All you need is black slacks, a white oxford, a black skinny tie, and, most importantly, the Good Word. Won’t your neighbors be surprised when you ring their door bell and, instead of asking for a treat, you give them one instead (re: SALVATION)!
23. Bill Cosby
24. Liz Lemon
Put on a white button down, a navy blue sweater, and some non-prescription glasses and — GOOD GOD, LEMON. You’ll be high-fiving a million angels all night! Complete the look with a bag of Sabor de Soledad and some homemade cheesy blasters.
25. Shia LaBeouf (post-fame)
Itching to break out the ol’ tuxedo? Hell, you don’t even need to be handsome to pull off a facade of this former Even Stevens star. All you need is a $0.99 lunch bag and a sharpie. It’s your lucky day, average Joe!
26. ALL The Holidays
I’m a bit of a hoarder myself. Not like the TLC show status, but I hold on to things way past when I should. It’s because of this that I have amassed an entire drawer of holiday costume attire, ranging from St. Patrick’s day shot glass necklaces to multiple Santa hats, from a 4th of July American Flag crop top all the way to 2011’s NYE light up glasses. Stop asking questions, just put all of your holiday garb on at once and bask in the confusion of passersby.
27. Dancing Girls Emoji
Though it’s unclear what exactly those sticks protruding from their heads are supposed to be, a black bow, a black dress, black flats, and a best friend are all you need for this simple yet savvy costume.
28. Walter White
Any tighty whitey aficionados in the hizzity-house? Embrace your Breaking Bad obsession with brown Timberlands (or Sperrys, whatever you have) paired with brown socks, a green button down, and white undies. Accessorize with a Ziploc bag full of blue rock candy and a dollar store water gun full of your choice of booze. YOU ARE THE ONE WHO KNOCKS.
29. Edward Snowden
Probably the only costume on this list that could get you arrested if you do it well enough. All you need is a plain collared shirt, glasses, some jeans, and a brief case (a black folder will suffice) stuffed full of government secrets with this printable NSA logo affixed to the front.
30. The Real M.V.P.
Buy this 240-piece bag of mini candy. Hand some out to everyone at the party. No one cares what you’re wearing anymore; you can literally do no wrong.
I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t be caught dead on Halloween dressed as Bookface. These costumes may be low effort, but low effort is better than no effort!
Not sure where to go out in the city for Halloween? See our exclusive guide on the Top 50 Bars in NYC for 20somethings for inspiration.