Last-minute Halloween costumes to top your spookiest expectations

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Hanna Kryhina

A ghost costume is easy to make and requires only fabric from a sheet or tablecloth and scissors. “Get old school spooky and patch your costume together from things you already have in the house,” said London-based charity Hubbub, as part of its Sew Spooky campaign.

Whether you’re scrambling to find a Halloween costume less than a week before the festivities or a die-hard fan already scavenging for inspiration for your costume for next year, you’ve come to the right place. 

I’m a big fan of Halloween, and each year, I try to top my costume from last year. But, sometimes, life gets in the way, and I get too busy to plan an elaborate costume. 

If the above description seems like it is directly from a page in your autobiography, then I’ve got some Halloween costume ideas that are perfect for you. At the same time, if you’re not in a rush but rather looking for a simple costume this year, these options will also work for you.

While, in the past, you may have rushed to a store specializing in party decorations and costumes to find a pre-made costume in the last hours before Halloween, I may be able to guide you to avoid contributing to fast fashion this year. 

A classic Halloween costume like a ghost, witch, vampire, or zombie is still a great option. But, you can avoid needing to buy any costume pieces by using what you already own. 

To be a witch, all you need is a black or purple dress. You can tweak even that for a modern look. A pointy witch’s hat is optional and, in my opinion, cliche and unnecessary. 

Similarly, if you’re dressing up as a fairy, you don’t need to buy fairy wings. Instead, you can get inspiration from fairycore outfits, a more feminine aesthetic based around nature themes and soft pastel colors.

There are many other simple costumes inspired by your favorite aesthetics just waiting to come alive. Channel your inner dark academia aesthetic and dress up as a college student, teacher, librarian, or bookstore owner. 

According to London-based charity Hubbub, as part of its Sew Spooky campaign, making your costume does not need to be complicated, especially if you choose to be a character from a tv show or movie, celebrity, or person from history with iconic looks that is easy to recreate. 

For instance, the title character in “Arthur” of the books by Marc Brown and the subsequent PBS series is easy to distinguish by his mustard yellow sweater, white button-up shirt, and round glasses. 

If dressing up as a famous character using only clothes you already own seems like a challenging feat, take a look at the creations of Danielle and Nicole, owners of online vintage clothing store Betty Berry. These creative sisters have dressed up as various characters, from cartoon characters like Winne the Pooh and Peter Pan to live-action characters like Joey and Chandler from “Friends.” Their success will show you that it isn’t as difficult as it seems.

Don’t be afraid to gender-bend for a truly unique look. You could either dress up as a character that is not the same gender as you or ask yourself, what would this character look like if they were my gender? 

Halloween is also an excellent opportunity to wear clothes that you ignore throughout the year. You could go all-out and wear a piece of clothing that you feel is too bold to wear every day. Or, you could spice up a simple piece through a bit of transformation. 

For example, A dolled-up pumpkin costume is a classic made cute and a great way to use an orange dress that you may not wear often. 

If you’re looking for other simple ideas, you could be a personal trainer or a fitness fanatic. Just deck out in your favorite workout gear, and you’re all set.

Makeup can also make a big difference and add a lot to an otherwise simple costume. Draw fake freckles for a deer look or polka dots to assume the identity of a comic book character

Another way to find costume ideas is to be inspired by Halloween episodes of your favorite tv show. “How I Met Your Mother” shared a fun pair costume in its season one Halloween episode, a pirate and his parrot. Television is also a great place to find wordplay costumes, like “reigning cats and dogs” from “New Girl.”

In addition, take advantage of being in high school and the jokes that your peers will only appreciate now. What’s more spooky than a rejection letter from your safety school? It makes for a scary-good choice for a Halloween costume.  

While you’re still in high school, you’re also more believable as a child, and you’re likely not too embarrassed to dress up as one. You could dress up as a middle schooler at a sleepover and have an excuse to wear pajamas in public. 

Finally, the most important thing is to be mindful of offensive costumes. Your costume should not make fun of someone’s sexuality, gender, or race. Remember, cultural appropriation is never okay, even during Halloween.

These ideas are just the beginning. I hope I’ve inspired you to get creative and think of unique ideas. When it comes to last-minute Halloween costumes, the possibilities are endless.