DIY / October 19, 2017

7 Last-Minute Halloween Costumes

Last-Minute Halloween Costumes | Leslie Knope and a Tourist

This year was a weird year for me because I decided what I was going to be for Halloween (Bellatrix Lestrange) almost a month in advance. And I even had time to buy a dress to make into a costume.

That’s super unusual for me, since I’m definitely the girl who plans her Halloween costume on October 30th. Or at 5:00 on Halloween night (which is what I did last year).

But this habitΒ has helped me to get pretty good at throwing together a costume with the items already in my closet. I enlisted my sister to help me think up a few more, and I’ve listed my favorite seven below!

#1 – Anyone from Harry Potter

Last-Minute Halloween Costume Ideas | Harry Potter (or really any Hogwarts student)
Image via

What you’ll need:

  • Black graduation robe
  • A stick/wand
  • A scarf or tie in your house’s colors

If you have actual Hogwarts gear, you’re obviously set. But even if you don’t, you can be pretty convincing. Put on a white shirt, grab your graduation robe (you may want to steam it or iron it since it’s probably been wadded at the bottom of a box), and throw on a red, yellow, blue, or green scarf/tie. Oh, and grab a stick from the yard for your wand. πŸ™‚

See how Matt Sherry wore it here.


#2 – Leslie Knope

Last-Minute Halloween Costume Ideas | Leslie Knope
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What you’ll need:

  • A pant suit
  • Fliers or buttons promoting your campaign (optional)
  • A binder — or three (optional)

This is probably one of the easiest costumes ever. Grab a pant suit or matching slacks and a blazer — you know, the ones you (probably) hate to wear to work — and wear your hair down. If you have extra time, use printer paper and markers to make yourself a Knope 2020 button. Or take it a step further and make Knope 2020 fliers to pass out to everyone at your party. You could also carry a binder with your very elaborate 27-step plan for anything.

See the cover picture for how I wore it.


#3 – An Olympian

Last-Minute Halloween Costume Ideas | An Olympian
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What you’ll need:

  • Workout clothes
  • Medals -or- a piece of paper

Use this as an excuse to wear your gym clothes. Pick your favorites, decide which sport someone would play while wearing them, and call it a day. (Running clothes = track and field, old dance costumes = ice skater, body suit + sweatpants = gymnast, track suit = person at their medal ceremony)

If you have medals from high school sports or running a 10K, layer them on like Michael Phelps. If you don’t have medals, grab printer paper and make yourself a bib like the ladies in the picture.

Variation: Make it a group costume and go as a 4X400 team or the US women’s soccer team.

See how Ann Perkins wore it here.

#4 – Miss America

Last-Minute Halloween Costume Ideas | Miss America
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What you’ll need:

  • An old prom or bridesmaid dress
  • Printer paper (or an actual sash, if you have one)
  • Crown or tiara

Put that “dress you’ll only wear once” to good use as your Halloween costume! Tape strips of printer paper together to make a sash that says Miss America (or Miss Iowa or whatever), and add a crown. Bonus points if you stage a reenactment of your coronation at some point during the night.

Variation: Wear a cocktail dress (or tulle skirt), find a pacifier, and go as Toddlers in Tiaras. My sister and her friend did this in high school, and it was really funny.


#5 – Zenon (Girl of the 21st Century)

Last-Minute Halloween Costume Ideas | Zenon: Girl of the 21st Century
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What you’ll need:

  • Matchy-matchy clothes, ideally:
    > Matching vest and skirt
    >Matching shirt and tights
  • Hair ties

If you ask me, the hair is the most important part. So start there and then build an outfit that’s a little out there. This would be a great time to reuse wilder items (pink tights, metallic leggings) that you bought for other costumes.

Variation: Wear all green, wrap your ponytails into buns and go as an alien.


#6 – A Tourist

Last-Minute Halloween Costume Ideas | A Tourist
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What you’ll need:

  • A Hawaiian shirt or T-shirt (ideally one from a place you went on vacation)
  • A hat
  • Shorts (jean shorts or cargo shorts are the best)
  • Tall socks
  • Tennis shoes (or slip-on sandals)
  • Extras: a fanny pack, a camera, a map, a backpack (optional)

This costume is especially great because it uses everyday items like tennis shoes and shorts. Form a picture of the “ideal” tourist in your head (camera? fanny pack?), and then see how you can use the random items in your closet to create that look.

See how Matt wore it in the cover photo.Β 

Note: Matt used a couch pillow to create a beer belly (that turned into a puffy chest). So that’s an option, too. πŸ™‚


#7 – Three Hole Punch Jim

Last-Minute Halloween Costume Ideas | Three-Hole Punch Jim
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What you’ll need:

  • Regular clothes
  • Construction paper

Cut out three circles and tape them to your shirt. Done.

Variation: Go as Dave.


If you have any other easy costume ideas, let me know! (I’ll probably need them at some point.) Thanks for reading!

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