Halloween is one of my favorite holidays, but you wouldn’t know based on my lack of preparation and how much I rely on last-minute costumes. Sure, I make notes throughout the year when ideas pop into my head, but once October 30th rolls around, it’s as if the last 364 days have gone by in a flash, and all that plotting goes out the window. I either end up bringing my Tipsy Elves skeleton onesie out of retirement for the umpteenth time, or draw eyeliner cat whiskers on my cheeks and call it a day.
But not this year.
No, despite the fact that most celebrations are happening via Zoom or in socially-distanced scenarios, this year, we’re going to do better. And, I say “we” because I know I’m not the only one who procrastinates or flat out forgets until it’s almost too late.
To help us all prepare for the inevitable, I’ve rounded up some of the best last-minute Halloween costume ideas I could find on Instagram. They’re easy, comfortable, and since they mostly include wardrobe essentials, you can pretty much piece them together with just a few days — or hours! — notice.
What You’ll Need: A long-sleeved black mini dress or oversized sweater and a collared white button-down to layer underneath.
How to Style: Wednesday Addams from the Addams Family might be creepy, cooky, and sadistic, but she also knows the value of a LBD, so we can (try to) overlook her questionable qualities. There are a few ways to recreate the character’s signature look, and if you have a long-sleeved black mini dress, you’re more than halfway there. Wear the dress over a white button-down shirt with the collar exposed. For accessories, dust off an old black choker necklace (or use a ribbon as a replacement) and opt for a short, chunky black heel. As for makeup, go for a smokey eye look (heavy on the eyeliner along the water line) and a neutral lip.
Joel From Risky Business
What You’ll Need: An oversized white dress shirt, knee-high tube socks, and dark sunglasses.
How to Style: Even if you’ve never watched Risky Business (definitely add it to your list), you probably recognize this outfit. From Domino’s commercials to the Jonas Brothers’s “What A Man Gotta Do?” music video, the classic scene in which a young Tom Cruise glides across the floor in nothing but a dress shirt, tighty-whities, and tube socks has been recreated over and over again. Throw an oversized white button-down over a pair of shorts and a tank top (or bralette), slip into some comfy tube socks, and wear your favorite dark sunnies in the house. Don’t forget to slide from room to room, and bonus points if you karaoke into a candelabra.
What You’ll Need: A workout tank top, biker shorts, robe, boxer gloves or athletic tape, and sneakers.
How to Style: Get dressed as if you were going to the gym and throw on a tank top with matching biker shorts and sneakers. However, instead of working up a sweat, you’ll be working a silk robe all night long. You can snag a pair of boxing gloves at any sports or party store, or via Amazon here. But if yours is a super last-minute Halloween costume, just wrap some athletic tape (or something that looks like it) around your hands for a similar effect. Put up your dukes, because we’re predicting this Halloween costume is going to be a hit.
What You’ll Need: A black turtleneck, black bottoms, and black eyeliner
How to Style: Animal costumes are simple because you put more effort into the makeup than the actual outfit. To mirror this fierce feline, pair a black long-sleeved top with a black skirt (or pants, depending on how cold it is in your neck of the woods), and black knee-high boots. Draw on whiskers and fill in your nose with black eyeliner. Bonus points for a dramatic cat eye and double buns that can act as your “ears.”
Elliot from E.T.
What You’ll Need: A red hoodie, black pants, a laundry basket, aluminum foil, a dish towel, and construction paper.
How to Style: Now, here’s a last-minute Halloween costume to phone home about (get it?). You really can’t pose as Elliot from E.T. without his extraterrestrial pal, which makes this two-in-one costume all the more genius. You probably already have a few key components in your closet and around the kitchen: black boots or sneakers, black bottoms (sweats, yoga pants, leggings, etc.), a laundry basket, and aluminum foil. This costume does require a little arts and crafts when creating E.T.’s face, but don’t sweat it if you aren’t an artist — he’s meant to look a little creepy, anyway.
Prep School Student
What You’ll Need: A plaid skirt, white dress shirt, a matching tie, and dress shoes.
How to Style: Prep school students — or simply preppy students — are peppered throughout pop culture. You have Blair and Serena from Gossip Girl, Rory Gilmore of Gilmore Girls circa her Chilton days, Ashley Banks from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Cher and Dionne from Clueless — the list goes on. Luckily the uniform is generally the same if you want to portray any one of these characters: A plaid skirt, dress shirt, and a matching tie. The only thing that really differentiates them all is their color scheme.
Rosie the Riveter
What You’ll Need: Jeans, a denim top, a bandana, and some red lipstick
How to Style: You likely already have 80% of Rosie the Riveter’s uniform on-hand. Embrace the denim-on-denim look, add a bandana, swipe on a bold red lip, and get ready to show off your bicep all night long.
What You’ll Need: A black and white striped shirt, suspenders, white gloves, and a beret.
How to Style: A mime’s uniform speaks for itself, so if you’re feeling anti-social at some awkward Zoom party, just dress up as a silent comedian for Halloween and everyone will get the hint. The costume calls for black bottoms, a black and white striped top, suspenders if you have them, and white gloves. You can also add a beret if you’re feeling extra French.
What You’ll Need: A button-down, wig, and painter’s palette.
How to Style: Bob Ross is one of those pop culture icons everyone knows, and it’s hard to picture him without some sort of palette or brush in his hand. He also always wore a button-up tucked into jeans, so the trickiest part of putting together this costume will probably be the wig and beard set.
Cruella De Ville
What You’ll Need: A black dress, faux fur coat, temporary hair color spray, red gloves, and red lipstick
How to Style: Cruella de Vil from 101 Dalmatians is arguably Disney’s most fashionable villain. Her signature look consists of a sexy black dress and a (faux!) fur coat, so you’ll look good and stay warm all night long. Up to you if you want your own pup to be in on the action.
What You’ll Need: A plain t-shirt, loaf of bread, and medal necklace
How to Style: Anyone can be a breadwinner with this carb-loaded costume. If you’re really short on time, like running-out-the-door-without-a-costume short on time, grab a loaf of bread and accessorize a plain tee with either a medal you won as a kid or some sort of pendant necklace. It’s simple, original, and something to snack on if your soiree’s spread is underwhelming.
What You’ll Need: A grey pullover, track pants, thick belt, and hiking boots.
How to Style: 2020 is the year of loungewear, so why not put your sweats to good use? The terrifying Ms.Trunchbull has the comfiest off-duty uniform: Pair track pants with a grey pull-over, secure a thick belt high around the torso, and if you must leave the house, stomp around in old hiking boots. The most effort you’ll have to put into this getup is mustering up the energy to put an angry snarl on your face for the ‘gram.
What You’ll Need: A red and brown striped shirt, black bottoms, a fedora, finger knives glove
How to Style: 1… 2… this classic Freddy Kreuger costume is coming in clutch for you. Not only is a sweater and jeans as basic as it gets, Freddy Kreuger’s fashion sense definitely parallels your fall uniform. And because Nightmare on Elm Street’s resident slasher is a scary movie icon, the cinematic props that complete the look (his tan fedora and knives for fingers) are widely available at costume retailers and Amazon.
Rory or Lorelei Gilmore Girls
What You’ll Need: A sweater, jeans, stack of books, and a Luke’s Diner to-go mug
How to Style: Whether you’re a Lorelei or a Rory, Gilmore Girls costumes are easy to emulate. It’s always cozy in Stars Hollow, so you can’t go wrong with a sweater and jeans. Throw on a beanie if you’re portraying TV’s coolest mom, or balance a stack of books to channel Rory’s bibliophile aesthetic. Don’t forget to sip out of a Luke’s Diner mug or to-go cups exclusively, snack on PopTarts, and eat your cheeseburger pinky up.