What can I be for Halloween without buying a costume? Ah the age old question. Whether you’re short on cash, short on time, or just want to keep it simple this year, you’ve come to the right place. There are lots of costumes you can create quickly and at an extremely low cost by using items you already have in your own closet.
As you go through the list keep an open mind and get creative with your current closet inventory. Don’t forget that for many costumes, the accessories make the look.
You may already have the major pieces needed, but perhaps you need sweatbands, a fun wig, a string of faux pearls, a bandana or an inflatable guitar. Sometimes, you can borrow these items from a friend. Other times you can grab them online or at the local costume shop at an extremely low cost.
When we hand-selected these costume ideas we scoured the internet for the best costumes that don’t require much. We really aimed to select costumes that could be 100% sourced from what you already own or those that can be completed by borrowing or buying one accessory to complete your look. We hope you enjoy the list and feel inspired to create your unique Halloween look this year.
Let’s dive into these ideas.
Costumes with a Jean Jacket
This one requires a puffer vest in red or another solid color will work if you’re in a pinch. Coordinate your jacket with a pair of jeans, sneakers, and a collared button up shirt. It’s a lot of layers, so hopefully your event is somewhere cool.
Wear your jacket over a graphic tee, and an unbuttoned and untucked flannel shirt. Add a slouchy beanie and khaki style pants to complete the look.
Start this look off with a white t-shirt underneath an unbuttoned and untucked flannel shirt with jeans. Finish the look with leather boots and your jean jacket. Bonus points if you add dark shades.
Cowgirl or Cowboy
Wear jeans with your jacket buttoned almost all the way up. Add a bandana and a cowboy hat if you have one. Boots are encouraged for shoes.
Pair your jean jacket with a tie dye shirt and sneakers. Add bright bold makeup or moody dark makeup. Carry an inflatable or small child’s guitar or microphone. Bonus points for crimped hair or an 80’s hair band wig.
Costumes with a Leather Jacket
Add a black shirt and glasses with jeans to complete the look.
For Sandy, pair your jacket with a white or black tank top and black leggings. Add red lipstick and high heels to complete the ensemble. To go as Danny, wear a white or black plain t-shirt with jeans and slick back your hair.
Motorcycle enthusiast or biker
Add a bandana or scarf and black shoes, preferably boots. Pair these items with jeans.
Pair your leather jacket with jeans and a white tee shirt. Add a red scarf tied around the neck and tucked into the jacket. Carry a baseball bat (barbed wire not required).
Pair a camisole top, preferably silky and a solid color, with jeans or a mini skirt and your leather jacket. Add ankle or knee high boots. Twist your hair into a clip with the pieces sticking out the top in a soft faux ponytail look. Wear lots of eyeliner and lipstick. If you happen to have a wooden stake around, you can carry that for good measure.
Costumes with a Black Dress or Black Suit
Add long pearl necklaces or a statement necklace with long black gloves. Wear red lipstick with dark sunglasses and your hair swept up into an elegant hairdo.
Pair your dress with tall black stilettos and a dramatic makeup look. Think lots of smokey shadow and eyeliner with a lined lip. Add a bracelet to your upper arm if possible for the complete 90’s vibe.
Be the star of your own show just like contestants from the reality tv show, The Bachelor/Bachelorette. Carry one single red rose or several and give them out throughout the night.
Grab those ears from your trip to Disney and paint on some whiskers with face paint or eyeliner. Add white gloves if you have them and bright red lips.
A Halloween Witch
Add a black witch hat, black tights, and spooky or glam makeup. Carry a broom or a wand for added impact.
Costumes with Glasses
Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Create a large white collar using computer paper, tissue paper, or a ruffle collar shirt. Wear it with a black dress or sweater. Sport your glasses and wear your hair combed back or in a sleek low bun.
For this one you’ll also need a superman t-shirt. Wear jeans and a collared shirt or a suit with the tee underneath. Unbutton the shirt so the tee will show. Fix your hair into the perfect fancy Clark Kent do and out the door you go!
Pair a bright quirky dress with a long cardigan or a button up shirt with a sweater and jeans or a skirt. Combine the outfit with sensible flats and fix your hair down with lots of volume or in a fluffy ponytail.
Find a pink shirt and a white shirt in your closet. Layer the pink shirt over the white with the edges of the white showing. Pair the look with jeans, sneakers, and a pink beanie hat. This one will be very comfortable.
No need to look far for what you need here. You’ll need a polo or short sleeve collared shirt, with jeans, and suspenders. Add some white tape to your glasses and you’re ready.
Costumes with Winter Gear
Love outdoor winter activities? Go as a skier or snowboarder. Grab those ski pants, a warm shirt and winter boots. Bonus points if you can create your own lift pass and pin it to your shirt. Print one out on the computer or freehand one if you are artistic!
Costumes with Gym Clothes
Go as an exercise instructor or gym class patron. Wear your best gear-shorts, leggings, biker shorts, yoga pants, tank top, and zip front hoodie. Pair it with sneakers and sweatbands if you have them. Carry your gym bag and a water bottle. Quick and easy.
Costumes with Ugly Christmas Sweaters
Dig out your holiday sweater from that ugly sweater party a few years back. Give it new life and go as an ugly Christmas sweater party guest. Pair this with jeans and comfortable shoes. Bonus points if you have a Christmas hat or accessories you can add.
Costumes for Couples
Ketchup and Mustard
Grab one red and one yellow solid color tee, sweatshirt or sweater from the closet. Using paper, a marker and painter’s tape make Ketchup and Mustard labels. Pair this with jeans or leggings.
Salt and Pepper
Similar to Ketchup and mustard. Look in your closet for one white and one black solid color shirt. Using paper, a marker and painters tape to make Salt and Pepper Labels. Pair with the bottoms of your choice.
Look through your closet for some cream colored pants or shorts and a top with a bright pattern (bonus points for florals or Hawaiian prints). Tuck the shirt into the shorts and add a belt. Add sneakers and socks that show out of the top. Add a hat that’s designed to protect from the sun, something like a visor, sun hat, a beach hat etc. For bonus points wear a camera around your neck, add a fanny pack, or a lanyard with a fake passport around your neck.
With the release of the new Barbie movie coming soon, there is endless inspiration to draw upon. You can be casual or dressy. Think of all the Barbie’s out there, some are based on activities like tennis, camping, or baking. Others are based on careers like doctor, veterinarian, dog walker, babysitter, or spy. While others are more generic like holiday, fancy evening wear, athletics etc. See what you have in your closet and create a matching look. Be sure to add name tags!
Couple at the Gym
Grab your gym clothes and gym bag! Easy peasy. Add sweatbands, extra scrunchies in your hair, water bottles, or ankle weights for extra fun!
You’re bound to have some shirts and hats to support your favorite team. Get dressed up and paint your faces like you’re going to the playoff game. Bonus points if you make a poster or carry a big foam finger!
Have a puffer vest and a tool belt laying around? You’re all set. Layer a t-shirt with an unbuttoned and untucked collared shirt. Add the tool belt. You can also add a flannel for the shirt or puffer vest for extra umph. Pair this look with jeans and boots.
If you want to go fancy this is the costume for you! Check your closet for your best suit and full length black dress. Add heels and fishnets for the dress and bow tie to the suit if you have them. Make sure your hair and makeup are equally fancy. Practice your dance moves and you’re ready to go as the well dressed spy couple.
Frequently Asked Questions
What makes a great Halloween costume?
It all comes down to personal preference and your personal style. If you prefer dressy, go dressy. If you prefer, current trends go with something new and relevant. Pay attention to the details because those can make all the difference and take a good costume to great in no time! We recommend comfort, style, and pieces that can be used year after year.
How can I find a Halloween costume in my own closet?
Start by looking for an inspiration piece. Maybe it’s a leather jacket, black or white dress, jean jacket, flannel shirt, festive accessory, or hat. Once you have that piece think of people or characters that would work well. For example, a white dress could be a nurse or a bride-to-be at a bachelorette party. A jean jacket could pair with jeans as a cowboy or 80’s rocker. A sun hat with a swimsuit or cover up can turn into a beach goer or cruise ship patron. Build off of what you have and if needed add fun makeup or a wig for the final touch.
What should I be for Halloween?
The good news, you can go as anyone or anything you choose! The bad news, you can go as anyone or anything you choose, so there are an overwhelming number of options. Start by considering where you will be going to celebrate.
If you’ll be indoors you can choose almost any costume. If you’ll be at an outdoor bonfire or party, consider the weather. Where it’s warm go with a costume that won’t cause you to overheat i.e. avoid full ski attire or large heavy costumes. Where it’s cool, consider outfits with layers. Next, consider your personal style and comfort. Do you like to dress fancy, go for it. If you want something more casual consider a costume that is only a tee shirt such as one in red and add a ketchup label etc. Pair with you favorite jeans and you’re all set to celebrate in comfort.
There are lots of relevant costumes that work well every year such as new or popular movie characters, musicians, politicians, or traditional hits like a witch, ghost, or black cat. This year we predict Barbie and Ken will be popular due to the upcoming new movie release.