Last-Minute DIY Halloween Costumes

Posted by Elizabeth Naccarato on October 31, 2017

Entertainment | Events | York & U

Happy Halloween, Lions! October is full of scary stories, haunted houses, corn mazes, pumpkin patches and good old-fashioned, spooky fun. But sometimes the scariest thing about Halloween is when you realize it’s October 31 and you’ve been so focused on assignments and midterms that you don’t have a costume. This realization leads to chaos as you rush around trying to find a costume that’s clever, witty and relevant at the last second. Unfortunately, most stores are left with next to nothing at this point and you’d rather not spend $60 on a costume you’ll only wear once. That leaves you with two options: 1) Rummage through your old costumes and be an outfit-repeater for the night or; 2) Create a quick and easy DIY costume with things around the house or items that can easily be bought. If you forgot to plan a costume, don’t worry: I have compiled a list of last-minute costumes that can be easily made for all you forgetful folks who just now remembered that today is Halloween.

Side-note: It’s fun to dress up for Halloween night, but think carefully about your costume and whether it is socially conscious. In other words, ask yourself: Does my costume belong to a culture that is not part of my heritage? If so, don’t wear it: cultures are not costumes.

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Dressing up like a mime is one of the easiest go-to Halloween costumes!


I know what you’re thinking, but as generic as it sounds, a mime costume is probably one of the easiest to create at the last second. All you need to do is find a black-and-white striped t-shirt and pair it with some black jeans (or black bottoms in general) and white gloves. You could even get more fancy and add suspenders, mime makeup and a black hat, but these aren’t really necessary.

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Put your old vacation clothes to good use by dressing up as a tourist!


Own an “I heart NY” t-shirt or a hat that has “Hawaii” written across the front? Good, because those things will add nicely to a tourist costume. This costume can have different variations as there is no specific “tourist” look. The main idea is to make it look like someone on vacation: add a camera, a fanny-pack, a straw hat, a Hawaiian shirt, a big paper map, sunscreen on the nose, you name it: the possibilities are endless!


If you own a plaid shirt and blue jeans, this costume is for you. If you choose to dress as a scarecrow, the only accessories you’ll need are make-up to make your face look doll-like, a few fake stitches, a floppy hat for the scarecrow and possibly some straw to stuff in your shirt and pants pockets.

Bulletin Board

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Want a creative costume? Dress up as a bulletin board!

I saw this idea on a website and thought it was the cleverest DIY costume, so I had to share it with you. All you need for this costume is a plain t-shirt and post-it notes. Take the post-it notes and write little to-do lists, reminders or anything you would find stuck on a bulletin board and then pin the notes all over your shirt. You can even bring extra post-its and a pen with you and let others leave little messages throughout the evening.


Another simple but effective costume is a cat. You can either buy cat ears at any local costume shop or supercenter, or you can make your own out of a headband and either felt or cardboard paper. The rest of the costume is just everyday clothes and makeup with a nose and some whiskers.

Rosie the Riveter

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Want a classic costume? Dress up as Rosie the Riveter!

Famous, basic, easy. Many of us know who Rosie the Riveter is and nothing says “girl power” like a blue shirt, red kerchief and flexing. All you would need to pull off this classic costume is a blue long-sleeved button-up, jeans and a red-and-white polka-dot headband.

A Year (i.e. 2017)

The most unique costume on this list would be to dress up as a certain year. This idea came from my roommates and I scheming what to be this year for Halloween. One friend finally decided he was going to wear 2017 New Year’s glasses, walk around with a fidget spinner and write or tape different 2017 memes all over his t-shirt. This idea can work for any year as long as you have the iconic New Year’s glasses (which can easily be crafted by online tutorials) and elements that represent that year in particular.

Error 404

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If you have a spare white t-shirt, dress up as Error 404: Costume Not Found!

Finally, the easiest last-minute costume is actually not one at all. This costume only requires a white t-shirt and a sharpie. All you need to do is write on the t-shirt with the marker: “Error 404: Costume not found.” Voila! A masterpiece is made.

Have a costume but nowhere to go? There are a few events happening at York and around the campus area! Vanier College is hosting a Halloween Cosplay Café today which starts at 11am and runs until 7pm. They’ll have sweets, treats and spooky games throughout the day in room VC001. Later in the evening if you still haven’t fulfilled your Halloween needs, Complex One is hosting a Haunted House from 6pm until midnight. I hope everyone has a spooky evening! Boo!

What are you wearing for Halloween this year? Comment below!

Elizabeth Naccarato
Elizabeth Naccarato

Elizabeth is a fourth-year Professional Writing major at York U. She enjoys reading for pleasure (no textbooks please), a nice cup of coffee (but only iced) and being surrounded by good company. She hopes her blog posts will be helpful and inspiring to current and future York U students.

See other posts by Elizabeth Naccarato

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