11 last-minute Halloween costumes that need only one item
These easy getups are low on effort, high on cleverness.
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The number of days until Halloween are dwindling, which means the time you have to construct a painstakingly perfect costume is, too.
Starting to feel the crunch? Don’t fret. Though you may not be able to put together a movie theater-ready Captain America look in time for trick-or-treating, you can still rock an awesome costume—in the easiest way possible. Here are some super-simple Halloween costumes, inspired by ideas we found on Pinterest, that you can put together with just one item, and maybe a few things you have around the house.
1. Give your best frown as Wednesday Addams
Wednesday Addams is a popular Halloween look for a reason—the costume only requires a collared black dress and two hair braids. If you want to add some depth, add in a prop skull (hey, maybe you can use it for a Hamlet costume next year) and throw on some black lipstick. And remember—as the dour Addams’ daughter, you’re never fully dressed without a frown.
2. Put one over the Big Bad Wolf as Little Red Riding Hood
For a modern, literal, and super, super easy take on Little Red Riding Hood, a red hoodie will suffice. If you want to make it a little more true to the fairy tale, get yourself a red cloak and repurpose a handled wicker basket. If you’ve got a costume buddy—whether they’re a partner, friend, or a dog—get them some ears and have them go as the wolf.
3. Say “boo” as an old-school ghost
Got an old white sheet lying around? If so, you have the potential to create one of the simplest costumes imaginable: a ghost. Cut out some eyeholes (make sure you line them up with your actual eyes) and, if you’re crafty with a thread and needle, sew some sleeves to keep the sheet in place. With that, you’ll be all set to scare people silly all around town.
4. Look tough as the Brawny paper towel man
Want a costume that shows you’re rustic and have discerning taste when it comes to cleaning products? With a plaid flannel shirt, gel-tousled hair, and a roll of paper towels (they should be Brawny, but you can fudge it with another brand), you’ll be the spitting image of everyone’s favorite mountain-dwelling, paper towel-shilling guy. You can add in some scruff if you want, but that’s by no means necessary.
5. Make yourself heard as Damian from “Mean Girls”
The movie “Mean Girls” has a lot of quotable moments. But the easiest one to emulate with a costume is Cady's friend Damian, who sneaks into the girls-only school assembly to reveal that someone pouring her heart out to the crowd does not, in fact, attend their school. Just slide on a purple hoodie, cinch it around your face, put on sunglasses, and carry around a sign that says “she doesn’t even go here” and you’ll be the fetchest person out on the town.
6. Speak in gibberish as a Sim
Remind everyone how you spent your formative years—on the family computer, playing a game in which you controlled humans, who would sometimes die in freak accidents and get collected by the Grim Reaper—by dressing as a Sim from the nearly-two-decade-old game Sim City. All you need to do is don a green diamond headband. You can make one yourself with a glue gun and a dollar store headband, or get one pre-made. If you get the latter option, enhance the costume by using all the extra time you would have spent toiling away on a homemade costume by learning Simlish.
7. Show you took Psych 101 dressed as a Freudian slip
Freudian’s theories have mostly been debunked. But as far as we’re concerned, this punny costume will never lose credibility. All you have to do is wear a nightie or flowy spaghetti-strapped dress and cover it with index cards with well-known Freudian terms written on them, such as “Oedipal Complex,” “Ego,” “Aggression,” and “Id.”
8. Hand out lemons as a walking cliche
When life serves you lemons, your instinct may be to make lemonade. But with this costume, you get to give away the sour citrus fruit and let those you encounter do with them what they wish. All you need is a T-shirt, upon which you can print the words “LIFE”—or get a tee that says it for you—and a basket of lemons.
9. Rock a power turtleneck as the daughter from “Succession”
“Succession,” HBO’s drama about a wealthy media family, is one of the buzziest shows of the moment, which means you can expect to see a lot of Roy family-inspired costumes come Halloween. Luckily, their look is a lot easier to build a costume around than HBO’s last popular show, “Game of Thrones." This is especially true if you decide to go as Shiv Roy, the family’s power-bobbed daughter, who will be recognizable if you wear the highest-necked turtleneck you can find. To go the extra mile, pair it with some paperbag-waisted pants and hook on a shiny pendant, to project an aura of old money with a sharp razor edge—just like Shiv.
10. Get lost as Waldo or Wenda
If you love stripes and traveling the world, deciding to go as Waldo or Wenda from the “Where’s Waldo” books should be an easy choice to make. To make the look work, wear a striped red-and-white tee (or strategically place red or white tape on a shirt of the opposite color), a winter hat, black plastic-rimmed glasses, jeans, and sneakers. Just don’t be surprised if people come up to you all night claiming they’ve “found” you.
11. Get punny as a “cereal” killer
You know what to do with this one. Wear what you’d normally wear in day-to-day life, tape an old cereal box to yourself, and carry around a spoon and bowl (or a knife, if that’s how you roll) to show you’re the most dangerous cereal killer out there.
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