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Easy Last-Minute Halloween Costumes

Halloween is right around the corner. It probably snuck up on you like it does every year and you aren’t costume ready.

Life is busy! You’re in good company. Every year I think it’ll be different. I start thinking about it months in advance. Then one day I wake up and Halloween is days away and somehow a costume didn’t magically materialize in my closet. It’s fine. I’m a master of throwing things together and doing a halfway decent job of it.

I often put something together out of items I already own. This works for adults and kids. Occasionally I’ll have to run to the store to purchase a piece to make the outfit complete. I like buying things that I can reuse in future years or even clothing that I can wear in a regular outfit. But sometimes I see a silly $5 mask and I can’t pass it up!

If you’re someone who needs a last-minute idea, this timeless list of spooky guises is for you.

Smarty Pants

Dress includes hot-gluing Smarties to a pair of pants. The glue comes off sweatpants fairly easily and you have an instant snack if you get hungry during the night!


Dress includes throwing on a pair of pajamas, messing up your hair, and maybe adding a little makeup for that sleepy look. People ask, “What are you?” You simply reply, “Tired.” If you can believe it, this was a costume from my teenage days.


Dress includes black pants, a black shirt, a black hat, and a cheap plastic black mask. The candy bag can have a dollar sign on it.


Dress includes a black dress (cape optional) and a black hat. Unless you’re really skilled, you’ll probably have to find the cape and hat, but honestly those are Halloween staples and it shouldn’t be an issue. This is a costume that can be easily recycled! One year my mom got really fancy and hand-sewed a beautiful dress and cape for me. I’ve held onto it all these years and still wear it!

Black Cat

Dress includes black pants, a black shirt, ears, and a tail. You can hot-glue felt onto a headband if you don’t want to buy the ears. You can also pin felt or another sturdy fabric onto the pants to make the tail. Just don’t cross anyone’s path.


I have an epic photo from when I was little. My dad was the Joker, my older brother was Batman, and I was Robin. They were all amazing homemade costumes. I attempted to re-create a Robin costume a few years ago. Not nearly as cute, but still fun. Dress includes: green pants, a red shirt, an “R” badge (I made mine out of paper and pinned it on my shirt), a black mask, and the family secret, a yellow hand towel pinned to the back for a cape. “Holy Costume Party, Batman!”


Dress includes boots, jeans, a flannel shirt, a winter hat, and a beard (can be painted on with face paint or a crocheted beard can be purchased on Etsy).

Rosie the Riveter

Dress includes jeans, a denim or blue long-sleeve shirt with the sleeves rolled up, and hair pulled up and wrapped in a red and white polka dot scarf (or piece of fabric). Extra points if you feel like making a “We Can Do It” sign.


Dress includes denim overalls, a red or green T-shirt, and a red or green hat. Cut out a white circle and either a “M” or “L” letter. Glue the letter on the circle. Glue or pin the circle onto the hat. Draw on a mustache. “It’s-a me, Mario!”


Dress includes jeans, boots, a flannel shirt, a bandana, and a cowboy/cowgirl hat. (Notice how this costume is very similar to the lumberjack!)

Snorkeler/Scuba Diver

Dress includes black pants, a black shirt, swimming mask, snorkel tube, and fins if you have them! This costume will be especially appropriate if it rains.


Dress includes a cheap mask (remember my $5 mask story?), black clothes, and a great mumbly groooowl.

Take notice how many costumes include clothing items that you may already own! If you don’t, they are staple items that you can wear as part of your normal wardrobe and can be repeated for future costumes.

These costumes work well for children and adults. So whether you’re heading to a party, trunk or treat, or trick or treating on Halloween, you’re sure to be the stress-free, well-dressed, spookiest version of yourself that your neighbors are sure to be jealous of.

What are you and your family going to be for Halloween this year? —Katie

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