Five Easy, Last-Minute Hallowe’en Costumes

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.

Four: Tourist

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!


Five: Fruit

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.

Costume Creativity: Basic Hallowe’en Ideas… But With Some Twists

It’s nearly Hallowe’en, and you haven’t decided on a costume yet. Every year you just lump with a classic costume like ‘generic witch’ or a more cosplay style pop culture reference like a recently deceased celebrity as a zombie. Yawn. But don’t panic! It’s easy to make more of an impact at your Hallowe’en parties with very little cerebral effort (that means thinking) and impress people with one of these twists on the costume classics:


A monster less popular these days, possibly due to the effort it takes, the lack of realism in many portrayals, or the lesser place of wild animals in our lives. Either way, a werewolf costume is a retro-feeling costume that’s easy to make feel unique.


Not quite as silly as the Wallace and Gromit film “Curse of the Were-Rabbit”, taking the typical werewolf approach to another animal makes a funny twist. Ripped and muddy clothes go well with big, furry, carnivorous animals for an old school scare. A were-rabbit could be scary; give it the creepy full-head mask look for an uncanny creepy feel.

Big Bad

A fairy tale twist on horror, or a horror twist on fairy tales? The wolf in granny’s clothing is easy to be funny, but that was done with high viewership in Shrek. Keep this one dark with blood or even evidence of eating Little Red Riding Hood herself. The other Big Bad Wolf was in the Three Little Pigs, so another scary tale costume can swap red fabric for some bacon…


It feels like a staple, but the simplicity of ghost costumes makes them feel boring. Despite the fact that it’s unlikely anyone you know has every cut eye holes out of a sheet and put it over their head to be a ghost, it’s a stereotype. Put some effort in, or don’t because ghosts aren’t as overplayed as they feel.


Step one: dress up in as accurate a historical costume as you can, be it Victorian or the 80s. Step two: make sure all of the clothes are white, paint your exposed skin white and use temporary hair colour to make your hair white. Boom. You now look like an accurate [into time period here] ghost! It’s high effort, but highly spooky and impressive.


Far less effort and far less spooky is this jokey option. Riffing on the classic bedsheet costume, take a coloured or patterned sheet or even a blanket and cut eyes in it. The deliberate fail of a basic ghost costume that isn’t even plain white is well worth the giggle, and you won’t feel like you wasted time and money if the laughs don’t last all night.


This classic costume is mostly confined to the ladies. It’s also one of the most common costumes with most of the more basic twists just as common. Characters, including Harry Potter and plain clothes witches like those in Charmed and Sabrina, done. Gothic or punky, making it more of a regular fashion outfit with a pointy hat, done. Good or cute witch, done. Luckily there are some untapped ideas.


From the Slavic kikimora to the English Jenny Greenteeth, watery witches are a global terror. With a wet-look costume and some culturally specific accessories, such as a kikimora’s bare feet or Jenny’s big pointy teeth, this witch might be hatless but is definitely horrifying. You’ll definitely make a splash at a party, at least.

The Three Graeae

A group costume, yes, but a group costume to rival all others. The Graeae were the trio of witches that Perseus meets in his quest to kill Medusa. They sometimes took the form of hideous old women for those who want to wear fake warts and cloaks, and sometimes the form of beautiful young women, for those who want to sexy it up. Oh, and they only had one eye between them, which they took in turns to use and passed to each other by hand.


Watch out, there’s a spooky, scary skeleton inside you right now! The ever present fear of death not only hangs over us and makes us terrified of our insides, but gives us great amusement in Hallowe’en costumes (and decoration). Maybe it’s that deep down we know that it’s something that exists non-scarily in our everyday lives, or maybe it’s the ridiculousness of unconnected bones managing to stay upright in a human shape.

Muscle Man

While skeleton costumes are easy to make at home, ready made skeleton costumes exist to save you time and artistic effort. Likewise, muscle costumes exist. No, not those padded strongman tops, but another insides horror. Unsettling in a way skeletons can’t be, this probably isn’t safe for children’s parties, or safe from anatomical criticism from any doctors or medical students you might know.

Beast Bones

What’s a little creepier than a human skeleton? An animal skeleton, of course. With some different bone structures to play with, including wings, tails and legs, there’s space for creativity. Most obvious of all, of course, is the skull. Birds have beaks, deer and goats have horns, big cats have big teeth. Swapping the two tone face paint for a strangely shaped mask is a definite costume win.