Last-Minute Halloween Costumes on a Budget

halloweenYou’ll Still Get Candy, I Promise.

In a perfect world, you’d pick out a Halloween costume well in advance. In the real world, you may find yourself scrambling at the last minute to put something together. And maybe you don’t want to spend a ton of money. So here are some ideas for last-minute costumes that can mostly be created from the contents of your closet and your makeup case.

Most of these are from personal experience, and while they may not be the world’s most amazing costumes, they get the job done. The job being, of course, acquiring enough candy to be sick to your stomach for a good week. 

The Disco Queen (or King)

I tried this one out a few years ago with pretty good results, minus the fact that I was obviously a full-grown adult trying to hide behind my then-boyfriend’s younger siblings as I stuck my sack out to get candy. This costume is pretty easy to create. Raid your own closet, or your parents’, and find your widest leg, most ridiculous looking pants, your most intricate, ruffliest shirt, and your thickest-soled shoes.

If you don’t have any of these items, a quick trip to the thrift store should remedy that. Tease your hair to its maximum width and height — for me this meant brushing mine out into an enormous afro — and apply hairspray liberally. When dipping into the makeup kit, remember that more is more. Go for dramatic eyes, lots of pinks and blues and a very bold mouth. Men can skip this makeup step if they want. For more ideas on this look, watch “Saturday Night Fever.”


A variation on the disco queen outfit, this can be created with some worn, bellbottom jeans, flip flops and/or Birkenstocks, and a tie-dye shirt. Dread your hair for the night, or wrap a headband around your forehead. Throw on some small, circular, and preferably tinted sunglasses, and you’re pretty much good to go. Dab a bit of patchouli oil on yourself as a finishing touch.

’80s Punk Rocker

This one is easy to create, and it’s fun! Big jewelry and ripped clothing is key. If you’re a girl, wear something bold and off the shoulder, with some stretch pants or pegged jeans, preferably of the acid wash variety. Wear enormous earrings and about 15 colored bangle bracelets. And don’t forget to tease your hair, which should ideally be in a side ponytail high on your head. Big bangs are a plus.

Commercial Rapper

This is ideal for a male with lots of baggy clothes in their wardrobe, or an older brother. Get your biggest, baggiest jeans, your most oversized shirt, and some sort of boots that resemble Timbalands. Throw on a do-rag, and then hit the jewelry chest — if you find anything that sparkles, put it on. Earrings, enormous chains, a gaudy watch, and more chains are key. If you have a grill, you get double points. It would help if you memorized some kind of trick-or-treat rap to greet door-openers with and arrived with a scantily clad female on your arm.


OK, this one is borderline lame, but I tried it once when I was in a jam, and it worked. Throw on your biggest, ugliest flannel shirt, and grab a pair of Dickies from your father brother, uncle or boyfriend. Or if you’re a guy, just grab a pair of Dickies. Wear big, unattractive boots, and if you’re a girl, paint a mustache and some kind of goatee on your face. If you have an axe lying around, bonus!

Shower Lady

I don’t even know what this is, but I tried it once, and I still got candy. Basically this couldn’t be simpler. Throw on a robe, slippers and a shower cap and you’re set! You can bring your loofah along if you want.

Your Profession

If your profession requires a uniform, why not leverage it and turn it into your costume? For example, when I worked in a lab, I had to wear a lab coat and safety glasses. This could have easily been turned into some kind of mad scientist costume with a little tweaking. Maybe your profession has a costume-in-waiting for you too.


One Comment on “Last-Minute Halloween Costumes on a Budget

  1. Pingback: Halloween Etiquette: How Old is Too Old to Trick or Treat? | Lauren Carter

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