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Easy Last-Minute Halloween Costume Ideas

Updated on March 21, 2016
SusanDeppner profile image

Susan believes that playing dress-up is one of the best parts of being a kid. Her creative costume ideas help bring out the kid in everyone!

T-shirt, pajama pants, hair color make an easy, last-minute Halloween costume.
T-shirt, pajama pants, hair color make an easy, last-minute Halloween costume.

How to make a quick, easy, homemade Halloween costume at the last minute.

Looking for easy, last-minute, DIY Halloween costume ideas? We can help you pull together an easy homemade costume with items you have on-hand or with a couple of quick purchases at your local discount store.

These are all tried and true ideas - and we have the pictures to prove it!

For instance, the picture above shows my mom (the family's costume genius) in a simple Halloween t-shirt and print pajama pants, both of which can be easily picked up right up to Halloween day at your friendly neighborhood Walmart. She also picked up an inexpensive Halloween makeup kit to decorate her face. The orange hair is natural. Just kidding! She actually dyed her hair orange! (Wouldn't you like to have a fun mom like that?) You can get a similar look with a can of colored hair spray, easy to find at the discount or drug store and an inexpensive, easy last-minute purchase.

It's easy to pull together a last-minute Halloween costume that's simple but very effective like this one as well as some of the ones we'll show you below. Just let your imagination run wild and have fun!

Photos from the author's personal collection.

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Halloween Makeup Kit

Super Value Family Makeup Kit
Super Value Family Makeup Kit

This isn't theatrical quality, but it's certainly fun to use to make up the kids' faces for trick or treat night (much safer than wearing a mask). Washes off with soap and warm water for a quick, Halloween-night cleanup.

 

Last-Minute Cowboy and Indian Costumes - These costumes were pulled together from closets and the toy box. Bet you have some of these things at your house!

Two young cowboys take Indian princess captive.  All in fun, of course!
Two young cowboys take Indian princess captive. All in fun, of course!

These two little guys wore jeans and flannel shirts along with their toy cowboy holsters and guns and a bandana. They used some eyebrow pencil to draw on a simple mustache. They topped their costume off with a cowboy hat and cowboy boots.

The lovely Indian princes (ahem) braided her hair in pigtails and tied on a piece of decorative wide binding around her head and stuck a feather in for good measure. She wore warm, comfy sweat pants and a t-shirt with a southwestern design. Add a pair of moccasins if you have them.

Putting your heads together to create quick costumes like this is also referred to as "making memories" and need not - in fact should not, be restricted to the last week of October.

Last Minute Costume Shopping?

Need to buy a costume in a hurry?

Join Amazon Prime and get

free 2-day shipping on qualifying costumes and accessories.

Pirate and Super Hero Costume Ideas - Pull out the imagination and create the character of your choice.

Pirate and superhero Halloween costumes are easy last-minute ideas.
Pirate and superhero Halloween costumes are easy last-minute ideas.

Every child's dress-up closet should be equipped with bandannas, capes, simple masks, long sashes, and - without a doubt - superhero capes, store-bought or homemade. The cape in the picture was sewn from an old silky sheet. Both my boys had one and they were used by my two creative geniuses to create costumes on a regular basis for years.

Ever Kid Needs to Own a Superhero Cape

Rubies DC Comics Boys Trio Action Set Dress Up Trunk
Rubies DC Comics Boys Trio Action Set Dress Up Trunk

Or how about three capes, with costumes included. This is an awesome dress-up set that every kid should own. Age 4 at our house was the perfect year for superhero play, but with two sons three years apart, we entertained superheroes on a regular basis of a several-year span.

This set has earned 4.4 stars from 299 reviewers (and climbing).

Remember too that even a bath towel pinned, sewn, or velcroed to a t-shirt can serve as a cape, in a pinch.

 

Kids play sports? Bet you have a costume on hand already! - If not, grab a ball and improvise like these guys did.

Fun football player costumes.
Fun football player costumes.

Team colors, a toy hard hat and Army helmet with drinking straws and masking tape turned these guys into "professional" football players for a day (well, lots longer than just a day, really). If your family has a favorite team, chances are you already have a t-shirt or sweatshirt or baseball cap. Grab a ball and run with this easy, last-minute costume idea!

Personal note: Yes, these are my sons and yes, these helmets lasted a long time. And yes, they thought up on their own how to create a football helmet out of a hard hat and an Army helmet. These guys are all grown up now, but looking back I'm so glad we encouraged their imaginations and creative play. Hope you do with your kiddos, too.

Need More Costume Ideas - Fast? - Try this book - Kindle edition is available instantly!

And you don't need a Kindle to read it. Amazon has free apps (available on the book's product page) for smart phones, iPad, iPod and more - including your PC or Mac. Just follow the instructions for downloading. Quick and easy - and some great quick, easy costume ideas here!

QUICK & EASY HALLOWEEN COSTUMES: 24 no-sew, last-minute panic solutions
QUICK & EASY HALLOWEEN COSTUMES: 24 no-sew, last-minute panic solutions

Here are 24 great costume ideas, read in minutes using craft materials, old clothes, etc. that you already have on hand.

Parents, add this book to your "creative play" arsenal to use year-round.

Get it for just 99 cents (price subject to change) or read it free with Kindle Unlimited.

 

Thanks for visiting! I love reading your comments. Please share your ideas in our guestbook, below.

© 2010 Susan Deppner

Did You Find a Helpful Last-Minute Costume Idea? Did you choose any of ours?

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    • SusanDeppner profile image
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      Susan Deppner 14 months ago from Arkansas USA

      I love your ideas to accessorize your hobo costume, MikeyPete! Sounds awesome! Have fun!

    • profile image

      Mike 14 months ago from Harrisburg Pa

      Pulled out the hobo costume I previously used. I did a few "icing on the cake" things. Working on a sign and a big coffee can will be turned into a hobo stove. I'm sure that I can find something else to do.

    • SusanDeppner profile image
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      Susan Deppner 19 months ago from Arkansas USA

      I'm one of those people who love that type of costume, MikeyPete! The ugly tie is a great idea. Have fun dressing up!

    • profile image

      Mike 19 months ago from Harrisburg Pa

      Going through my wardrobe . I found a pair of almost trashed jeans, flannel shirt, worn work boots. I can pull off a hobo costume this year. I also found a ugly tie at a really free market and only need a worn jacket. I used the same basic principle for previous Halloweens. Most people love it.

    • SusanDeppner profile image
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      Susan Deppner 2 years ago from Arkansas USA

      I absolutely agree with that, ladyguitarpicker! Love to watch the kiddos!

    • ladyguitarpicker profile image

      stella vadakin 2 years ago from 3460NW 50 St Bell, Fl32619

      Part of Halloween is to make your own costume. That is the fun part then the candy part. We all like to dress up and watch the granddaughters.

    • SusanDeppner profile image
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      Susan Deppner 2 years ago from Arkansas USA

      Thanks, Lorelei! My mom was always so good at putting costumes together. She sewed many but supplemented with things we had around the house. My kids could do that, too! Have a happy Halloween!

    • Lorelei Cohen profile image

      Lorelei Cohen 2 years ago from Canada

      Ha love those cute family photos. So funny and such easy costume ideas. It really is amazing what a person can dig up from in the back of their closet.

    • SusanDeppner profile image
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      Susan Deppner 3 years ago from Arkansas USA

      Thanks for the sweet comment, Peggy. I think my mother enjoyed putting costumes together even more than we enjoyed wearing them. We come from a great generation of creative moms, I think!

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 3 years ago from Houston, Texas

      When we were kids my mother always helped us pull together homemade costumes like you did with your sons. Just as much fun or even more can be had when making them up instead of paying for new ones each year in some store. I also come from the baby boomer generation. :)

    • SusanDeppner profile image
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      Susan Deppner 3 years ago from Arkansas USA

      Time flies, doesn't it CherylsArt? I'm with you on the homemade costumes. That's what we did when I was growing up, so no surprise that I carried on that tradition with my kids. Thanks for stopping by again!

    • CherylsArt profile image

      Cheryl Paton 3 years ago from West Virginia

      Wow, I see that I was here 3 years ago. Anyway, I love the home made costumes the best. Great job.

    • SusanDeppner profile image
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      Susan Deppner 4 years ago from Arkansas USA

      @pitlock: Thanks!

    • SusanDeppner profile image
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      Susan Deppner 4 years ago from Arkansas USA

      @BarbaraCasey: Gotta love that shirt!

    • SusanDeppner profile image
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      Susan Deppner 4 years ago from Arkansas USA

      @TerriCarr: You're right - maybe not quite politically correct but certainly a blast from the past!

    • SusanDeppner profile image
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      Susan Deppner 4 years ago from Arkansas USA

      @Ramkitten2000: Hope you did dress up!

    • SusanDeppner profile image
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      Susan Deppner 4 years ago from Arkansas USA

      @MariePalmer LM: That's so funny! Great idea for a last-minute costume, too!

    • MariePalmer LM profile image

      MariePalmer LM 4 years ago

      Sure did. My son didn't have a costume planned but his co-workers called and asked him to dress up. He went out and purchase khaki pants, a white dress shit and a skelton tie with black suspenders and put on a pair of geeky safety glasses that double as those old fashioned nerdy type glasses and he went to work as a nerd. Well a young child came into work and thought he was actually Clark Kent!

    • Ramkitten2000 profile image

      Deb Kingsbury 4 years ago from Flagstaff, Arizona

      Talk about last minute ... it's about 5pm here, and neither my husband nor I have a costume put together. Not that we're going anywhere, but we might get a few trick-or-treaters. Thanks for the ideas!

    • TerriCarr profile image

      TerriCarr 4 years ago

      Funny. When I was a kid, hobo costumes were common. But at that time, homelessness was not such a widespread problem. I bet there are many fewer hobo costumes these days. Though I see one commenter is doing it.

    • profile image

      BarbaraCasey 4 years ago

      Fabulous lens, Susan. As a kid, our costumes were all home-made and I also created my son's when he was little. It's more fun that way. This year, I'm wearing my usual "This is my Halloween costume" t-shirt.

    • pitlock profile image

      pitlock 4 years ago

      Oh how fun, everyone could use a last minute ideas. Great lens.

    • Erebos411 profile image

      Erebos411 4 years ago

      Thanks for the great ideas. Looks like all you need is a little imagination! Happy Halloween.

    • SusanDeppner profile image
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      Susan Deppner 4 years ago from Arkansas USA

      @smine27: Oh, go ahead and dress up! You don't need kids to do that!

    • smine27 profile image

      Shinichi Mine 4 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      Great ideas here! I wish I had kids. :)

    • charnjeh profile image

      charnjeh 5 years ago

      Couldn't find any that suites me. But these are great for kids! Happy Halloween!

    • SusanDeppner profile image
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      Susan Deppner 5 years ago from Arkansas USA

      @ConnieGreen LM: Good costume choice!

    • SusanDeppner profile image
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      Susan Deppner 5 years ago from Arkansas USA

      @aesta1: Thanks!

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Wish I am there where Halloween is celebrated. These are great practical ideas.

    • ConnieGreen LM profile image

      ConnieGreen LM 5 years ago

      I'm a hobo this year - thanks for your tips!

    • SusanDeppner profile image
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      Susan Deppner 5 years ago from Arkansas USA

      @Dianne Loomos: LOL Aren't they cute?

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      @Aunt-Mollie: good 1..just may use that

    • Dianne Loomos profile image

      Dianne Loomos 5 years ago

      Sometimes last minute costumes are the best! Love those two little cowboys!

    • SusanDeppner profile image
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      Susan Deppner 5 years ago from Arkansas USA

      @TreasuresBrenda: Thanks, Brenda!

    • TreasuresBrenda profile image

      Treasures By Brenda 5 years ago from Canada

      Great ideas, Susan for those of us looking for easy costume ideas.

    • SusanDeppner profile image
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      Susan Deppner 5 years ago from Arkansas USA

      @Christmas-Gifts-Ideas: Thanks! Grab an idea, add some imagination, and go for it!

    • profile image

      Christmas-Gifts-Ideas 5 years ago

      I am late again with my Halloween costume. Great ideas for a last minute costume.

    • SusanDeppner profile image
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      Susan Deppner 5 years ago from Arkansas USA

      @RosaMorelli: Grocery store is a great place to find last-minute ideas, though. Thanks!

    • RosaMorelli profile image

      RosaMorelli 5 years ago

      I always swear I'm not going to leave things to the last minute on Halloween, and I always find myself in the local supermarket at 5 pm on the 31st desperately looking for a witches hat to make it look as if I at least *tried*! Love these ideas :)

    • SusanDeppner profile image
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      Susan Deppner 5 years ago from Arkansas USA

      @Aunt-Mollie: LOL Very clever! Sometimes those last-minute costumes are the very best!

    • profile image

      Aunt-Mollie 5 years ago

      My all-time favorite last-minute costume was a teenager who cut two holes in the bottom of a big trash sack for her legs, stuffed the bag with old newspapers, then tied the top in a bow around her neck. I asked her what she was. She replied: 'white trash.'

    • SusanDeppner profile image
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      Susan Deppner 5 years ago from Arkansas USA

      @Funny_Beekeeper: Very glad you enjoyed it and found it helpful! Thanks for the comment and the "like"!

    • profile image

      Funny_Beekeeper 5 years ago

      Well, looking it this way, sometimes can a simple T-Shirt or homemade mask, hat or maybe just pants make a very interesting and cool Halloween costume. All you need is to be a bit creative or find a lens like this one ;)

      I think this lens might come in handy. I will deffinitely bookmark it as I might need it in near future ;)

      Great job on this one, it sure deserves a big Squidlike!

    • profile image

      nrallstars 6 years ago

      I know halloween's over but these are some great ideas!

    • profile image

      backdropexpress 6 years ago

      Brilliant idea! I give your lens five *****

    • paperfacets profile image

      Sherry Venegas 6 years ago from La Verne, CA

      Added this to Halloween Themed Fabrics' Discovery. Perfect.

    • profile image

      bdkz 7 years ago

      Congratulations! You've been SquidBoo Blasted. Happy Halloween!

    • CherylsArt profile image

      Cheryl Paton 7 years ago from West Virginia

      It's so true that costumes aren't just for Halloween. My my daughter was young, she loved playing dress up in her costume, long after and Halloween, and sometimes before, if it was done in time.

    • pkmcruk profile image

      pkmcr 7 years ago from Cheshire UK

      Some really great ideas here for easy last minute halloween costumes that most people could make - great lens

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      Great ideas, Susan. When my boys were little, we did make most of their costumes and had such fun doing it. The last minute Halloween costumes were sometimes our best creations!

    • OhMe profile image

      Nancy Tate Hellams 7 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      Fun Last Minute Halloween Costumes. I think I was a Hobo a lot when I was young. lol My hubby and I went to a costume party last year as Edith and Archie Bunker. This year we will be Bruno's Chew Toys as Bruno is our new puppy who is enjoying going through the biting stage.

    • Dianne Loomos profile image

      Dianne Loomos 7 years ago

      I love homemade costumes. Putting them together is fun and part of the Halloween experience!

    • LisaAuch1 profile image

      Lisa Auch 7 years ago from Scotland

      Brilliant popped over via Twitter, I am going to lensroll to mine! I love the homemade costumes

    • TreasuresBrenda profile image

      Treasures By Brenda 7 years ago from Canada

      Excellent, excellent last-minute Halloween costume ideas, Susan.

      Yes, I find inspiration in your use of the everyday, on hand items!

      Ian and his girl (space) friends could go as the soccer team...we've lots of jerseys on hand!