20-Plus Last-Minute Halloween Costume Ideas for the Creatively Challenged!

The record $8 billion expected to be spent on Halloween this year includes $370 million on costumes for pets. However, my dog Buddy won’t be spending anything on his getup because he’s wearing the same one as every year: nudist.

I’m not going to spend a dime either, but not because I’m going as a nudist. That choice would cause a number of issues I prefer to avoid, like frostbite on a brisk New England night in October. Although going naked would be the easiest Halloween costume, I don’t recommend it due to those pesky laws prohibiting people from walking the streets in the buff.

Honestly, I am not a huge fan of making or wearing Halloween costumes—too much pressure—but I admire the creativity of others.

One of my all-time favorites was created by my then-11-year-old son who decided to go Trick-or-Treating as a “Chick Magnet.” We borrowed three Barbie dolls from his cousin, attached them to an old sweatshirt, and added a sign with “Chick Magnet” in large letters. I believe that year marked his biggest Halloween candy haul ever thanks to neighbors who found the costume hysterical.

There’s a lesson here: You don’t need to spend a lot of money on a costume to look great, make people smile or get more candy. And if you’re like me in procrastinating until the last minute, these easy, fast and very cheap costume suggestions may be helpful:

Ghost – The next-easiest costume after “nudist.” Just cut out eye holes in a white sheet and throw it over your head. Variations: Put a bikini on over the sheet and you’ll be a ghost looking to get a tan. Or, cut the sheet into strips and wrap them around your body (leaving space so you can see and breathe) and you’re a Mummy!

Road Trip aka On the Road – Take a black t-shirt or sweatshirt, put a strip of yellow tape down the middle to make the road, and add some toy cars and trucks. Variation: Add a sign for your local interstate highway.

Christmas Tree – Dress in dark green and wrap a strand of Christmas lights around you. If you’re at a party, plugging them in could limit your movement, however. Variation: Use battery-powered lights. Add tinsel to your clothing.

Burglar – If you’re feeling more dark, dress in black, carry a black duffle bag, and use a black scarf or long thick ribbon with holes cut out for the eyes. Variation: Add cat ears and a tail to be a Cat Burglar.

Trash – Cut holes for your arms and legs in a large trash bag. Pull it up around your body, bunching the top around your neck. Add crumpled up newspaper inside the bag for more volume, with some of it peeking out at your neck. Variation: Use a white trash bag and you could be White Trash.

Laundry Basket – Cut a hole in the bottom of a thin laundry basket that can sit on your hips after you pull it over your head. Add (preferably clean) laundry. Variation: Add a small box of detergent.

Sky – Wear light blue clothing. Use construction paper to add clouds, sun and maybe even some birds if you feel especially creative. Variation: Add a rainbow.

Nerd – Pull out your “nerdiest” clothing so that you end up with pants that are way too short and suspenders, slick back your hair and add some large eyeglasses that looked taped together.

MasterCard Ad – Make a cardboard sign that lists a price for the type of clothing you’re wearing (such as, Shirt: $25, Jeans: $45 (you get the idea) and conclude with something along these lines: “Costume that required no effort: Priceless.”

Really silly costumes

I-Pad -- Simply don glasses with or without lenses, attach a Post-it note over one eye with the words: “Eye-Pad.” Yes, I know it’s corny, but people will laugh.

Facebook -- Use large sheets of white paper to make what looks like an open Book with a colored cover behind the pages. Cut out a hole for your Face.

Iron Chef – Here’s another silly one: wear a chef’s hat and carry an iron.

Buccaneer – Tape a $1 bill to each ear and you’ve got a... buck-an-ear. (Groan.)

Cereal Killer – Attach small boxes of cereal to a long-sleeved shirt. Glue plastic knives to the boxes, or stick the knives into the boxes. Variation: Add a few drops of red to signify blood.

Costumes that require a large box:

Dice – Paint the box white. Add cut-out black dots with paint, construction paper, felt etc. Cut holes for your arms and head so you can put the box over your torso. Variation: Go with someone else to be a pair of dice!

Gift – Use gift paper to wrap the box like you would if there was a present inside. Cut out holes for your neck and arms. Add a bow or gift tag.

TV – Draw a screen and buttons for the front of the box. Cut out holes for arms and neck. Variation: Use wire coat hangers to make an antenna or wrap them in foil.

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