Easy, Last-Minute DIY Halloween Costumes

Posted by York & U on October 30, 2018

Student Life

Happy Halloween, Lions! Halloween 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 30 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, unique 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 repeat last year’s costume 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 made in no time!

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: am I being conscious of social and cultural sensitivities? If not, don’t wear it – Halloween is meant to be a fun night for everyone.


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 fancy and add suspenders, mime makeup and a black hat. Even if you can’t find these additional accessories at the last minute, people will still know you’re a mime!

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


Own an “I heart NY” t-shirt or a hat that has “Hawaii” written across the front? Great! Those accessories will add nicely to your 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!

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


If you own a plaid shirt and blue jeans, this costume is for you! When you dress as a scarecrow, you could add some extra accessories like fake stitches, a floppy hat and possibly some straw to stuff in your shirt and pants pockets to complete your outfit.

Mixing up some straw in your hair is also a great touch!

Bulletin Board

I saw this idea online 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 day.

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

Rosie the Riveter

Famous, basic, easy to make – many of us know who Rosie the Riveter is and nothing says “girl power” more than 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.

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

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.

Greek God or Goddess

Now this may seem like a tricky costume, but all you really need is one or two bedsheets and safety pins. If you want to add some accessories to your outfit, consider a gold rope around your waist or a decorative headband. Since we are celebrating Halloween at the end of October, I strongly recommend wearing warm clothes under your bedsheets!

If you are worried about getting gold accessories, you can wrap a plain scarf around you and add a pop of colour!

Error 404

Finally, the easiest last-minute costume is hardly 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 a marker: “Error 404: Costume not found.” Voila! Your 2018 Halloween costume is made.

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

Have a costume but nowhere to go? Join the fun at a few events happening at York U and around the campus area! You can wear your DIY costume to the Lunik event on Glendon Campus for a fun night of music, games and drinks (19+). Another exciting event at York U is Keele Campus’ Jack.org at York Escape Room in McLaughlin College!

Jack.org at York Escape Room in McLaughlin College room 107

They are running the Escape Room in room 107 from 4 pm to 8 pm, but spaces are limited. If you would like to test out your escape skills sign up quickly through their Facebook page!

I hope everyone has a spooky evening!

What are you wearing for Halloween this year? Comment below or tweet us at @YorkUStudents.

Note: This post is an updated version of the original blog post by Elizabeth Naccarato.