Jayme Woods

Writer. Geek. Adventurer.


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5 Last Minute Halloween Costume Tips

You’ve just gotten a Halloween invitation you can’t refuse… but you don’t have a costume. Never fear! You probably have the makings of an awesome costume right in your own closet.

Have anything like this lying around? It might make a great starting point for a costume.

Have anything like this lying around? It might make a great starting point for a costume.

Tip #1: Keep it simple.
You don’t need to win Best Costume to have fun at a Halloween party. Pair your little black dress with a witch’s hat and you’re good to go. To take it up a notch, throw on some playful fishnets or striped hose or pick up a fun accessory like a spider ring or bat necklace. Don’t feel like wearing a dress? Opt for a ruffled shirt and pirate hat. If anyone gives you trouble, tell them to go walk the plank.

For guys, you can’t go wrong with a suit and the words, “Bond. James Bond.” If you’re feeling alternative, lace up some Converses and call yourself Chuck Bartowski or find a snappy hat and introduce yourself as White Collar‘s Neal Caffrey.

chuck white collar

Believe me, you clean up nicely. The ladies won’t mind that you’re not wearing a chicken suit. For something a bit more laid back, a red hoodie and jeans is the costume that keeps on giving. Grab that old stuffed E.T. from your closet and you’re Elliot. Add some zombie makeup and you’re R from Warm Bodies (bonus points if you bring your lady some yellow daisies).

red hoodie

Yet more red hoodies. They're seriously everywhere. Smallville. City of Bones. EVERYWHERE!

Yet more red hoodies. They’re seriously everywhere. Smallville. City of Bones. EVERYWHERE!

Tip #2: Go Closet Diving
Want to venture beyond everyday wear? Fair enough. Dig back into the rarely-worn items crammed into your closet’s darkest recesses. That old lab coat from freshman Chem? Iron on an Oscorp, Stark Industries, or S.H.I.E.L.D. logo and you’re good to go (print out a name tag for extra geek cred). That awful dress you could never bring yourself to re-gift? Douse it in red paint and go as Carrie or distress it and transform yourself into an extra from The Walking Dead.

Don’t be afraid to take advantage of your fandoms!

All you need is that time turner on the right and a pink hoodie to pull off Hermione.

All you need is that time turner on the right and a pink hoodie to pull off Hermione.

Pull out that mint-condition Star Trek insignia and pin it to a red, yellow, or blue shirt or dress. Have a Jayne hat lying around? Pair it with cargo pants and go as everyone’s favorite Hero of Canton.

jayne

Don’t stress about being screen accurate. No one cares if your army coat is two shades darker than Katniss Everdeen’s. Just pin on that mockingjay and go have fun!

And when I say to use what you’ve got, I don’t just mean your clothes. If everyone says you look like Flo the Progressive Girl or Doug Funny, go with it! Both have easily replicated costumes. Do you have beautiful blonde hair? Grab a green dress, glue some giant pom-poms to your ballet flats, and rock out as Tinkerbell.

Tip #3: Closet Dive with Friends
Remember, you’re not just limited to your closet. Maybe you’ve got a pair of old overalls and a red shirt. If your friend has a Mario hat, you’re one fake moustache away from everyone’s favorite plumber. In return, maybe you’ve got the perfect boots for the BFF’s cowgirl costume or you could help her with hair and makeup.

My sister's shirt + my McDonalds morpher and communicator = instant costume.

My sister’s shirt + my McDonalds morpher and communicator = instant costume.

Halloween is more fun together! Don’t stress about perfect fit. You can always use pins to adjust for size or focus on swapping items like hats, scarves, and accessories, which brings us to…

Tip #4: Accessories, Accessories, Accessories!
What is Indiana Jones without his fedora?

Don't be afraid to improvise. ;)

Don’t be afraid to improvise. 😉

Recognizable accessories can overcome any number of costume imperfections. Maybe you’ve got a gorgeous silver dress. Pair it with a red heart necklace and a foam ax. Everyone will know you’re the Tin Man – and I seriously doubt your date will mind you’ve foregone the silver face makeup and clunky costume.

A Superman shirt, button-up, and tie make a classic costume – if you’ve got a pair of thick-rimmed glasses to go with them. The Dollar Store is a great place to pick up cheap frames. Pop out the lenses and you’re good to go – but wait! What if you can only find pink frames? Spray paint those suckers! If you don’t have time to watch paint dry, try paint markers or my favorite trick – nail polish. It won’t last forever, but you don’t need it to.

No black frames? No problem! Paint those pink and yellow stems and you're good to go.

No black frames? No problem! Paint those pink and yellow stems and you’re good to go.

Tip #5: Have fun!
No matter what you’re wearing, remember to be yourself this Halloween. You’re the one your friends will remember, not your costume.

What is your costume this year? Do you have a favorite costume tip? I’d love to hear it!

Wishing everyone a safe and fun Halloween!