Let’s be honest, we forget to pick up a fun Halloween costume even in a good year. So if 2021 festivities find you scrambling once again to come up with something festive on a moment’s notice, it makes total sense. But just because you’ve waited until the day of to pull together a last minute costume doesn’t mean you can’t still wear something clever, classic or pulled from the latest pop culture references. Here are 16 last minute Halloween costume ideas you can put together using pieces you likely already have hiding in your closet or around the house.
1. Moira Rose from Schitt’s Creek
What you need: White Button-Down Shirt + Black Trash Bag + Statement Necklace
Realistically, you can just layer whatever black-and-white clothing you have, swipe some red color on your lips and pile on lots of statement jewelry and you’ll likely wind up looking like Moira Rose. But this particular look is also very easy to create if you don’t have a ton of black-and-white patterned pieces. (P.S. We recommend slipping some black bike shorts on under your trash bag just in case your costume accidentally comes loose or rips while you’re out.)
2. Rosie the Riveter
What you need: Red Bandana + Denim Shirt + Jeans
The fact that this feminist icon’s ensemble is so easy to recreate (and so comfortable) just makes us love her even more. Be sure to roll up the sleeves of your shirt to best show off your biceps, just like Rosie.
3. The Bachelorette
What you need: Evening Gown + One Red Rose
This is a very fun way to get more use out of those special occasion dresses you have stowed in the back of your closet. Add a logo-emblazoned date card to really sell the look.
4. Mare from Mare of Easttown
What you need: Messy Bun + Circle Scarf + Cozy Midlayer + Cargo Jacket + Jeans
A great costume option for anyone who really doesn’t want to bother with complicated (or even minimally involved) hair and makeup. Simply toss your strands into a messy low bun or ponytail and pile on those practical layers. Finish with a look of despondent longing and you’re good to go.
5. Elizabeth Taylor in Cleopatra
What you need: White Sheet + Lots of Gold Statement Jewelry + Blue Eyeshadow + Black Eyeliner
There are multiple ways to knot a plain bedsheet to achieve the look of an ancient Egyptian dress (try one of these sarong-tying methods). Next, add as many gold bangles, statement necklaces, dramatic earrings and chunky rings as you can. Finish with some over-the-top cat-eye eyeliner and a swipe of blue eyeshadow before draping yourself on the nearest couch like a true diva.
6. Pantone Color Swatch
What you need: Matching Separates + Printed Out Pantone Frame
This is just about the easiest DIY costume we can think of. Of course, you could also wear a dress or jumpsuit rather than trying to match your T-shirt and pants exactly, so long as you affix that signature Pantone color frame to your person. You don’t even need to go hunting on the Pantone site to find the exact shade of your sweater—just print out a hi-res version of the frame, then use scissors to cut out the center square. Voilà! Done and done.
7. Tennis Pro
What you need: White Top + Tennis Skirt + Sneakers
Whether you take your inspiration from the Williams sisters, Naomi Osaka or Billie Jean King, this is a fabulous way to repurpose that trendy pleated skort you bought this summer. Add a tennis racket, tennis ball or white visor or baseball cap to round out the look.
8. Tropical Tourist
What you need: Hawaiian Shirt + Visor + Fanny Pack + Camera
Be sure to tuck your shirt into some high-waist pants or shorts and consider toting a tropical cocktail with your as well. If you want to add a pop culture spin, we have two easy options. The first requires the addition of a pill bottle and bushy gray mustache, which will have you looking just like Armond from The White Lotus. The second needs a lei and a voluminous midwestern blowout to transform you into either one of the leading ladies in Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar.
9. Miss Trunchbull from Matilda
What you need: Gray Sweatshirt + White Washcloth + Brown Leather Belt + Sweatpants + Hiking Boots
Still can’t get enough of your newfound “sweats all day, every day” lifestyle? This fun throwback costume uses all your coziest pieces and requires no complicated makeup tutorials (or any makeup at all for that matter). Wrap a washcloth around your neck and into the collar of a gray crewneck sweatshirt, knot your hair in a tight bun and tuck your sweatpants into some tall socks peeking out from lace-up hiking boots. Now all you need is a wide brown leather belt around your waist and a desire to swing someone by the pigtails the length of a football field.
10. Princess Leia from Star Wars
What you need: White Sheets + Belt + Two Massive Buns
This look is really all about the hair, making it an easy one to pull out without requireingmuch else. For the dress we suggest wrapping one sheet around your waist as a skirt and another over your shoulders and torso to create those draped sleeves. (You can also cut a hole in one sheet to wear it like a poncho if you don’t mind cutting up your linens.) Then simply add a belt to define your waist and you’re good to go! And no, you don’t need the space gun to look as tough as General Organa.
11. Dr. Ellie Sattler from Jurassic Park
What you need: Red or Pink Button-Down Shirt + Blue T-Shirt + Hiking Shorts + Hiking Boots
Did you pick up hiking during the pandemic? Then you likely own half the things you need to recreate Laura Dern’s iconic ensemble from Jurassic Park. Be sure to roll up your sleeves and knot your shirt at your waist. And if you happen to have a dinosaur stuffed animal lying around, you can carry him with you as well, just for fun.
12. Holly Golightly from Breakfast at Tiffany’s
What you need: Sleeveless Black Dress + Pearl Jewelry
For the classy Halloween celebrant, knot your hair in a high bun, fashion a pearl necklace around your neck and slip into your favorite black dress to go as one of Audrey Hepburn’s most iconic roles. If you happen to have a pair of elbow-length black gloves or want to fashion a long cigarette holder out of chopsticks, they’ll only add to your final look, but don’t worry if you don’t have time to find or make these accessories.
13. Joel Goodson from Risky Business
What you need: Oversize Button-Down Shirt + White Socks + Sunglasses
This timeless costume is a breeze to put together and it’s incredibly comfortable, making it an obvious go-to in our book. Although we suggest adding some minimalist white kicks and a pair of bike shorts underneath if you plan to leave the house.
14. Stereotypical Parisian
What you need: Striped Shirt + Neck Scarf + Baguette
If you also own a beret, that’s even better, but it’s not 100 percent necessary to pull off this classic costume. Feeling punny? Paint your face in dramatic black-and-white makeup a la the band Kiss and say you’re a French kiss.
15. Daisy Duke from The Dukes of Hazzard
What you need: Plaid Shirt + Denim Shorts
You don’t need to opt for super-short shorts or knot your shirt to reveal your entire stomach if you don’t want to—denim cutoffs of any length and a plaid button-down knotted at your waist will still capture Daisy’s signature southern style. Finish with a Farrah Fawcett-inspired blowout and some cowboy boots.
16. A Ghost
What you need: White Sheet + Scissors
OK, so this one is actually the easiest DIY costume ever. No, it’s not that exciting, but it is a funny classic that we feel is definitely underrated. If you want to do something a bit cleverer you can cut holes all over and go as Charlie Brown from It’s The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown. Don’t want to ruin your sheets with scissors? Use black construction paper and tape instead to fake the holes.
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