It happens every year. You have an amazing costume planned, you work on it and get all excited, and it’s just not ready by the time Hallowe’en rolls around. You have an idea, but you can’t find the thing you need in time. You just entirely forget until two days before Hallowe’en. You could throw on that same lazy vampire costume you wear every year, or pull a “serial killer: they look just like everyone else” normal clothes ‘costume’. You don’t need to! You have a day or two, you can do one of these easy costumes that will still say “I planned this and I love costume parties” to everyone else.
One: A Sim
There are levels to this, and all you actually need to buy or make is a plumbob head piece– the green diamond that floats above a Sims head. Greet people with “sul sul!” and occasionally say nonsense or fail to interact with a chair and you’ll really sell it.
At the most basic level, you can wear literally whatever you like. By now, the Sims have near infinite clothing options. Plain tops, t-shirts with nonsense writing or generic images, and slightly odd outfits like pyjamas or a sports outfit are best for that Sims feel.
For a really top-level costume a knee-length strapless red dress, flat shoes and straight dark hair makes for a spot on Bella Goth outfit. Her look varies from game to game, so accuracy is flexible. If you have a little more time and craft skills, another impressive Sim costume is nude Sim. Make yourself a large board of skin-colour pixels and find a way to hang it or attach it to you, and leave your arms and legs bare.
Two: Beanie Baby, Build a Bear, etc
You’ve got an animal costume, but it’s a bit dull and overdone. Spice it up and give people a laugh by turning yourself into a Beanie Baby, a build a bear or other recognisable brand of toy! For the beanie baby costume, just throw on your lazy cat costume or penguin onesie and make your label. Take thick card or cardboard and cut it in a heart shape, colour it red with a big white “ty”. An optional bonus to the label is the yellow “ORIGINAL BEANIE BABY” part, whether the star shape or the bubble text version. Tie it round your neck or to your costume ear with red ribbon and you’ve turned a cliché costume into a funny pop culture reference.
If your costume isn’t a full animal, opt for Build a Bear! Those toys come with clothing and costumes, so the possibilities are nearly endless. Whether you have a full bear costume or cat ears and tail with a princess dress, as long as you have a paw-like glove and a BAB heart-print on it you’re a Build a Bear. The hand logo is a heart shaped red paw print with “BAB” on it in white.
Other brands you can impersonate include Steiff, who have a distinctive yellow label in the bear’s ear, or Hamleys, who have a red ribbon with their name on tied in a bow around the bear’s neck. If you can recreate the label, you can dress as the cuddly toy.
Three: Easy Film/TV Characters
Raid your wardrobe and get your cosplay thinking hat on. A black dress and plaited pigtails equals Wednesday Addams; a shirt and a moustache equals Ron Swanson from Parks and Recreation; a little black dress and some nice accessories equals Holly Golightly from Breakfast at Tiffany’s.
Got a leather jacket and some hair styling products? White tshirt and jeans and you’re Danny from Grease or the Fonz. Black leggings and some blonde curls and you’re Sandy from Grease. Some sunglasses (if you’re muscular) and you’re the terminator. The list goes on, Marlon Brando in Wild Ones, Charlie Sheen in the Breakfast Club, Mad Max…
There are incredibly easy group costumes in this category. Three friends in red, blue and green plain dresses are the Powerpuff Girls. A green t shirt is a rubbish costume unless you have a friend in a purple dress, a friend in an orange sweater and a friend in a white top with a red scarf, and suddenly you’re the Scooby Doo team!
You could even be as lazy as possible and turn up to the party in a dressing gown. If you grab a towel, you’re Arthur Dent from Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and if you grab some milk you’re the Dude from the Big Lebowski.
All you really need for this one is a camera or a map, but there are some nice tourist stereotypes to wear if you have them. The most obvious is a Hawaiian shirt and beige shorts, but you can swap those out with I heart NY t-shirts or a top with a landmark on it. Just pop down to your local tourist area and grab one of the t-shirts there, or even dig out one you bought on your own holiday and never wore again.
Accessories are what takes costumes like this from half-baked to last minute winner. With socks and sandals, a sun hat and a bumbag (fanny pack to Americans) it’s obvious what you are. Give yourself a sunburn or some tan lines with make up and take a selfie with a selfie stick and you’ll impress people.
To really sell it, stay in character just like with the Sims costume. Pose for photos, take selfies, maintain a general feeling of confusion and awe. If there’s more than one of you dressed as tourists, go on a tour of the party!
It’s not spooky, it’s not pop culture, and it’s not funny, but it is a costume and it will pleasantly surprise people. Get as accurate or stylised as you like, and stick to the most visually obvious fruit. You can wear it again at a non-Hallowe’en party, too.
Solid colour outfits are best here, with a hat or headpiece turning it from clothes to costume. Make a green leaf hat and you can mix and match for multiple fruits! A yellow dress is now a pineapple costume, pink or red with polka dots is a strawberry, and wearing all orange makes you a carrot.
Give yourself a round shape and any colour is a fruit. Red apples, orange well, oranges, yellow lemons, green limes, blue blueberry or purple grape. Get a pear shape to your costume for a pear, and get the sharpie out to dot yourself a pink watermelon top. A little fabric paint and you can make a group citrus slice costume, with orange, lemon and lime.
For top notch fun, a bunch or purple or green balloons makes you into a whole bunch of grapes, or a tall yellow hat with a long yellow dress makes you into a banana.