Everybody is stepping up their Halloween costume game... everyone except you, that is. You’re busy, you’ve got a life, and somehow, it’s five days before Halloween and you’re wondering if you should just buy a tacky store-brought costume. Don’t panic! Here’s our ultimate list of last-minute costume ideas!
Some of these costumes will be a little esoteric and will most likely end up with you having to explain what the hell you’re dressed up as—but hey, you’re the one who left this down to the last minute. You can afford to go a little out there. And if you don’t like any of these, io9 has been a handy resource for last-minute costumes in the past as well—here’s some of our previous roundups.
I’m going to be real with you, readers: looking back at our past last-minute costumes, I have no idea how we’ve not included Arthur in any of our past last-minute ideas posts. He’s so easy to get right!
All you need is some pajamas, a long dressing gown/bathrobe, some comfy slippers, and of course, your trusty towel. Ability to look as astonished/confused as Martin Freeman regularly does is not included, but would be a lovely addition.
If you’re a big fan of Pacific Rim, any one of the heroic Jaeger pilots would be relatively doable—there’s a lot of tank tops and navy military fatigues and all that. But hey, who doesn’t want to dress up as Rinko Kikuchi’s wonderful badass Mako Mori?
Mako has two easy-to-replicate looks in the movie—her training gear (tank top, belt, dark cargo pants, and some boots, as well as a long wooden pole) or her raincoat from the first time we see her: black clothes underneath a black raincoat, a black umbrella and, and you could hold your iPad around to match her own datapad. Throw in an easy-to-aquire black bob wig and bam, you’re an awesome Jaeger Pilot!
I know it. You know it. Star Wars is going to be the big thing at Halloween this year, whether it’s perennial classic costumes, or most likely, it’s going to be a ton of people dressed up as the likes of Kylo Ren, Rey, and Poe Dameron.
Want to join in on the fun—but you just realized that it’s a bit too late to whip up your own First Order Stormtrooper suit? John Boyega’s Finn is a surprisingly simple look to achieve, if you go for his non-trooper getup. A black, longsleeved undershirt, black trousers and white trainers are pretty much all you need. For a bonus, you can get a cheap brown jacket to complete the look (hell, you can go through the effort of getting some red tape to make the shoulder and chest markings too), and pick up a NERF stormtrooper blaster to make a nod to Finn’s First Order past. Just run around looking exasperated and out of breath all the time!
Daredevil was huge this year, and while it’s a bit too late to recreate Matt Murdock’s final red suit, the black getup he wears for most of the spectacular Netflix series is simple enough. Black boots and gloves, black cargo trousers, a longsleeved black shirt, and then a piece of black material to cover your head and eyes. If you want props, a simple wooden pole sawn in half for clubs would do. Just make sure you can see through your headgear—Daredevil has enhanced super senses, you don’t!
Daredevil’s alter-ego would be simple to do, too—a grey suit, tinted glasses, and a white cane. Ladies are unfortunately tougher to get Daredevil looks for, but blogs like MCU Fashion let you get inspiration for some of Karen and Claire’s outfits from the series. Claire Temple could carry around a first aid kit and be Night Nurse for the evening—handy if your Daredevil-dressed partner can’t see through his headgear and takes a tumble in the dark.
You could be even more timely and go for Netflix’s other Marvel star: Jessica Jones! Jess’s look is pretty simple: a hooded black jacket, a big scarf, and some jeans and black boots. Maybe use some makeup magic to add a few cuts to your face, like you’ve just punched the living crap out of some bad guys.
If you’ve got the build for it, guys, you could accompany a Jessica Jones costumed friend as Luke Cage! Tight t-shirt and jeans is all you need—you could even make the shirt yellow as a nod to Luke’s Power Man persona in the comics.
Hey, if you thought the New 52 Superman reboot look was easy, his newest look in “DC You” is even simpler: it’s literally just a T-Shirt with the superman “S” symbol on it, some jeans, and scraps of red cloth wrapped around your fists. A buzzcut would work wonders!
Even more esoteric would be Batman—not Jim Gordon’s mechsuit-enhanced Batman, but Bruce Wayne, who’s lost all his memories of being Batman and now runs a kid’s centre in Gotham. Black hair and a scraggly thick beard are a must—just wear a plain casual button-up shirt, and whenever someone asks who you are, just say “Bruce Wayne.” If they respond with “Oh, Batman?”, just give them a puzzled look and say “Who??”
Most superheros secret identities are super simple to pull off—and in an age where you can get character T-Shirts based on their superhero costumes, it can be a fun idea to wear one underneath your “disguise” to reveal your true colors as part of your costume. This works great for Clark Kent—business suit, a notepad filled with story ideas, and some thick-rimmed glasses—but you could get a light up arc reactor shirt and easily become Tony Stark.
A Peter Parker look could pretty much be Clark Kent—just add a toy camera and a fake copy of the Daily Bugle. Gwen Stacy would just need a blond wig and headband, and maybe a mint-green coat to homage her outfit from her death in both the comics and Amazing Spider-Man 2. Even if you’ve left it too late to do a superhero costume, their alter-egos are usually a quick and easy option.
Pulling off the Twelfth Doctor’s usual outfit may take a bit more effort and time than you need—but in the current season of Doctor Who, he’s been wearing a much tattier getup. A medium length blue jacket over a black jumper and a barely zipped up hoodie, and a part of baggy tartan sweatpants are all you need to be a 100% rebel Time Lord. Finish it off with a grey wig and some “sonic” sunglasses. If you’re truly brave, attempt a Scottish accent for the evening too!
You’ll have to buy an orange jumpsuit—there’s plenty around for “prisoner” fancy dress suits, or you could find one at a hardware supply store. Use some black masking tape or sharpies to draw the simple circular Aperture Science logo on the back, and bam, you wouldn’t look out of place in a test facility completing a manic test from the Portal games.
If you’ve got a little extra time—five days is more than enough!—you could whip up a Companion Cube to carry around out of a cardboard box. Or if you’re crafty, you could make your own Portal Gun model out of household goods—Instructables user Ducttape Ninja has a great how-to guide to build your own out of everyday items. Don’t have the time to make props? Just have the jumpsuit on and make a joke about how you’re part of the control group that wasn’t given any testing apparatus.
This one is simple at first, but can have a cool twist to it—get yourself some black business wear (or hey, whatever dark clothes you wear to work), whip up and print off your own personal SHIELD ID and slot it on a lanyard or name tag (double bonus if you have one for your Work ID already!) and grab a toy pistol. Ready to defend Earth alongside Melinda May and friends.
A fun extra twist would be making your own Hydra ID card and slipping it on the reverse of your SHIELD one. If you’re going with friends in a similar get up, flip it over during the night and reveal your true allegiances. Hail Hydra!
This year, Vertigo’s classic comic series about Fairytale icons came to a close—and if you’ve got longish hair and a beard (or heavy stubble) and stuggling for new costume ideas, you could honor its passing by dressing up as the hardboiled detective human persona of the Big Bad Wolf, Bigby. That, or say, you’re a big fan of the video game adaptation!
All you’d need is a white dress shirt with the sleeves rolled up, some dress pants, and a loosely-tied dark tie. Extra bonus if you’re hairy, you can say you’re mid-transformation into your wolf form!
This one’s a super easy one, and a classic last-minute get up. Just wear clothes you wouldn’t wear normally, and act completely different to how you do usually. Bam, you’re the you of Earth-2! If you’re going to a party with some Star Trek fans, even better: slap on a fake goatee, praise the Terran Empire, and it’ll be as if you’ve stepped out of the Mirror Universe.
Fury Road’s huge success means that Mad Max will rule cosplay this year, but while everyone’s working on their extravagant Furiosa prostehtic arms or their Max costumes, you can get in on the fun and be a war boy.
All it takes is the confidence to walk around in late-October weather with no shirt on, some black cargo pants and boots, and some makeup to blacken your eyes or forehead and make your skin look chalky-white. If you’re bald, it’s easy, but if you’re unwilling to shave your locks, a bald cap could do in a pinch. Grab a can of silver spray paint and some goggles, and run around yelling “WITNESS ME!”
We’ve suggested the Log Lady from Twin Peaks before as a last-minute costume, and that’d be another great one this year, especially now that the show is making a much-awaited come back. Dale Cooper would be simple enough—a suit, an FBI badge, and a cup of damn fine coffee to carry around.
But basically every Peaks character is simple enough that you could arm yourself with a few choice quotes, a lookalike outfit, and get away with it.
Like the Pacific Rim fatigues, this one would be easy to recreate too for Men and Women. Olive cargo pants, a belt or holster, and a dark grey tank top over a lighter grey muscle shirt, and you’re ready to play Triad with the best of them. For a bonus, fashion your own hexagonal dog tag out of cardboard and say “Frak” a lot!
Earlier this month, we lost one of the most beloved and infamous members of the Arrow supporting cast: Stephen Amell’s horrendous blonde wig from all the show’s flashback sequences.
Honor the legacy of the flashback wig by finding the worst long blond wig you can find, ruffling it up a bit, and then walk acting like a spoiled rich kid. You’re Oliver Queen before he shot people up with arrows everywhere! You could even rip it off and carry it around with a folorn look, waving an “RIP Flashback hair, 2012-2015” sign around.
I’m pretty sure this will only work in a) The United Kingdom and b) Among the tiniest subsection of British Sci-Fi/Comedy fans, but hey, if people like that are attending your Halloween party, they’ll love it. Cut out a tiny cardboard “H”, secure it to your forehead, and there you have it: your real self probably died quite a while ago, but your Hologram self lives on.
Find yourself a cheap Police Officer uniform. Add a fake moustache and one toy Fire Axe. You are now Axe Cop, the zany star of the self-titled webcomic (and cartoon series) by Ethan and Malachai Nicolle. Bring a stuffed dinosaur as your companion (or something to threaten with your axe), and you’ll be set!
The easiest, and therefore ultimate last-minute costume on this list: all it requires is that you go as yourself. When people ask why you aren’t dressed up, you tell them that you are: You’re a Life Model Decoy—the android duplicates often used by Nick Fury in the Marvel comics—sent to attend this party while your fleshy real-self is back home in the warmth watching Netflix.
If your host is a diehard comics fan, they’ll get the joke, have a laugh and move on. If they’re not, they’ll probably admonish you for your pure laziness—so it’s best to try this one out with people you know will get it.
There’s plenty of time left to give us your own ideas for last minute costumes—let us know about them in the comments below!