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Best Last Minute, Clothes-You-Already-Own Halloween Costumes

 
gardener
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I LOVE Halloween. As a kid, I was lucky enough to have a mom who sewed, so costumes were planned and executed months in advance. I am far too snobby to BUY a costume, but... Not organized enough to sew one in advance.

That being said, here are my tried and true day-of-event-planned costumes, using nothing more than what I have in my house. No waste, no fuss, no garbage. Sounds like a permies costume to me! Plus, I often win best dressed prizes for my free costumes!

Farmer - old jeans, plaid Button up, white undershirt, truck brand hat

Cowboy -  all above, but usually my leather vest and Dad's old cowboy hat

Pirate - Leggings, loose button up, vest, tons of handkerchief on the neck and head, bedraggled hair, gold hoop earrings or a single flashy stud, a sash.  Tall leather boots, a coil of rope, etc.

Fortuneteller - loose drifty clothes, silk scarves, hoop earrings, lots of makeup, lots of costume jewellery.

Construction worker- steel toed boots, jeans, button up shirt, safety vest, safety goggles, hardhat....

Witch- all the black drifty clothes I own, plus a witches hat I bought maybe 10 years ago

There are tons more options - caricaturizing something that you already are is often an easy and very fun costume.

And then - make up a story about who you are, make it funny and your costume will be 100 % better. I often decide on my story as I drive to the event, but it's better if you can do it while still getting ready and add details to the costume.

Instead of a farmer -be a truck obsessed farmer who grows marigolds.
Instead of a pirate- be a laid off work pirate, or one who moonlights as an insurance broker.
Instead of a construction worker - be the health and safety officer. Or the guy who can't hear because they won't take off their earmuffs ( I may try this if I ever go to a loud event again).
Instead of a fortuneteller - maybe you can only read compost piles, not tea leaves.
Instead of a cowboy - maybe you are from the city, trying to become a cowboy
Instead of a witch - maybe you are a witch who rides a portable vacuum cleaner and has a need for speed.


What are your favourite last minute costume ideas?



 
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One of the best I ever saw: single guy, crappy housekeeper, said "I looked around the house, all I had was dirty clothes and dirty dishes." He cut up a laundry basket so it could go around his waist, hung it over his shoulders, filled it, and came as his dirty clothes pile. He said the dishes pile would have been harder to do.
:D
 
gardener
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Great ideas, y'all! I've been pondering what to do. Might just be gnomes again. Or a witch, even though not technically a costume for me..hehehehehe.
This one might be obscure and rarely recognized, but super easy. And warm! Pajamas, bath robe, bed head, confused, slightly scared look and a towel over the shoulder. Instant Arthur Dent of Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy!
 
Pearl Sutton
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Catie is right on with the "have an odd story" theory. I have made many costumes for many occasions, for many people, and seen how people wear costumes. If a person is dressed as a movie character, and when asked says "Yeah, I'm (whoever.)" that pretty much ends the conversation. What can you say? But if they say "I'm (whoever) before the movie was shot, when I was just minding my own business, and these people came up, and started filming me. I tried to get away, but they first threatened me, then offered to pay me a lot of money, what could I do?" Or "I'm (whoever's) twin brother, who did NOT get rich and famous from the movie, can you spare some change? Can I have that food on your plate?" NOW you have conversation starter!

Even a store bought cheap costume can be just worn, or worn really well, and it's NOT what you change on the costume, it's what you change in what you say about it. The story matters more than the outfit, it really does.
 
Pearl Sutton
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I made a costume for my bf at the time. I am a dumpster diver, with odd skills. I took a trench coat, cargo pants, and a comfortable shirt, and sewed pockets ALL over them (pockets on the back of the calves!) There's LOTS of room for pockets in a trench coat. Then we filled the pockets with everything odd we could find. And I had a LOT of odd around. He went as one of the classic "hey buddy, want to buy a watch?" guys who opens his coat up and has watches hanging there. The hanging area had earrings, some with mates, some without (he was trading them with women for the ones they were wearing) as well as watches that didn't work and fishing lures. The junk in the pockets ran the gamut: road flares, silverware, lingerie, packets of crackers and condiments, a toothbrush, books, sticky notes, toys, balloons, condoms, paint, temporary tattoos,  makeup, all kinds of odd clothing.
He did it beautifully, had a blast, and won a prize for "the most profitable costume!"
 
pollinator
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There was a Doctor Who episode (actually a few episodes) where the alien they were looking for could make you forget about them the moment you looked away, so they counted them by writing tally marks on their skin. One year I had lost track of the date entirely, and found myself in need of a fast costume. So, I drew tally marks all over my arms, and pretended not to remember what they were for.

I don't think many people got it, but there were a couple of Whovians who caught on :)
 
Pearl Sutton
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Bump! Time to think on this!!

If you are where I am, it's going to be a cold year. Start with a warm outfit, then dink it up. The fortuneteller outfit Catie listed can start with scarves pinned to a hoodie. A full mechanic's coverall can start all kinds of things, from the guy who waves flags at planes (try to wave in planes to land at the party!!) to a deep sea diver with a bowl on your head and tubes. And never discount injured! Snowmobile outfit covered in leaves and blood? Hunting outfit with one sleeve tore off, the arm tucked inside, blood, pretend to not have a CLUE your arm is gone! Sweat pants can have all kinds of things pinned to them (a bunch of rubber snakes crawling up your legs?) (Wings that pin to wrists and ankles?)

:D

 
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I am a big fan of make your own Halloween Costumes.

Here are some threads that might give folks ideas about some costumes that can be made from "Clothes You-Already-Own Halloween Costumes":

https://permies.com/t/231607/Permie-Halloween-costumes

https://permies.com/t/128403/Historical-versions-today-Halloween-costumes


 
Pearl Sutton
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Pearl Sutton wrote:Catie is right on with the "have an odd story" theory. I have made many costumes for many occasions, for many people, and seen how people wear costumes. If a person is dressed as a movie character, and when asked says "Yeah, I'm (whoever.)" that pretty much ends the conversation. What can you say? But if they say "I'm (whoever) before the movie was shot, when I was just minding my own business, and these people came up, and started filming me. I tried to get away, but they first threatened me, then offered to pay me a lot of money, what could I do?" Or "I'm (whoever's) twin brother, who did NOT get rich and famous from the movie, can you spare some change? Can I have that food on your plate?" NOW you have conversation starter!

Even a store bought cheap costume can be just worn, or worn really well, and it's NOT what you change on the costume, it's what you change in what you say about it. The story matters more than the outfit, it really does.


Bumping that idea. You can pull off ANYTHING with a good enough story.

Think of who you are, and what is one step mentally away from that. Few people can pull off a totally NOT anything in their life costume, but something that's sorta you, or a part of you they don't know, are always easy for you to do. Think of parts of you that you let go of, or paths in your life you never followed up on.



If you are one of the permies who has a real life and no one knows you even think about this, a copy of Gaia's Garden, and some good over their head or off the wall talking is easy. "Well, you see if we put a swale right here, through the living room then when the toilet backs up, it'll fertilize the carpet better!"

Used to be a video game head but are now a stockbroker? (What ARE you doing on permies then?!)  Bring a game console, make noises every time you move, if someone bumps into you, penalize them hit points.

The clothes you wore to work? "I came home from work, she pushed me into the car, I have NO CLUE what's going on. Why are you dressed up like that? What's wrong with you?!" Even better if you aren't married "I don't know who she is, she shoved me into her car...  She disappeared when we got here, WAIT, was it YOU?"

Panhandler is always easy, especially if you are panhandling for their drinks or snacks, or try to talk them out of their nice sneakers.

Dress as a waitress, carry around beer on a try that you won't give out, or give it out and collect tips, your call :D

Wedding gown in the closet still? Or a formal? Dumped at the altar! Or "He never picked me up for prom! It was 15 years ago, I still wear the dress all the time in hopes of his return!" Or "I think with this much booze flowing someone's gonna get married tonight, I'm the maid of honor!"

And if all else fails, read a good webpage about a random subject and be an expert on it that badgers anyone who will listen (or not) about it.

Good story matters more than elaborate costume.


 
Pearl Sutton
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One prop costumes:
Go to a cheap store look at things like stuffed animals and weird things.

How about a stuffed shark hanging off your butt or arm? Bathing suit helps there.

Cheap shower cap and a towel?

Something I did as part of a costume was a stuffed raccoon hanging off my belt and I had a cleaver. I had caught him in my chicken coop, and he was headed into the soup pot!!

A chicken on your head, with you having no clue what they are talking about? (Discworld, the Duck Man!)

A guy I knew had a stuff koala in his jacket. Said he was pregnant with koala.

A bunch of little smiley face things all over you? Maybe paint your face to match them!


 
pollinator
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One time, in my mid-twenties, I went to a Halloween costume party dressed as a mutual friend who had moved far away earlier that year. He had a very eclectic manner of dress, which was easy to pull together from my own wardrobe and a old sport coat from the attic. Shorts with thermals underneath, tee-shirt, mismatched socks, sport coat, and a unique hat (but so close to my also unique hat) that a facsimile of a patch from his was enough! The host made one wrong guess at my costume as I arrived, before realizing who I was dressed as, then paraded me around the house to be sure everyone saw! Our friend was flattered that I dressed as him at the party.
 
Pearl Sutton
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Kenneth: That's lovely!  :D  

One year a girl, with help from the victim's husband, came as her best friend. She was wearing her favorite clothes, had tattoos drawn on in sharpie, had her hair etc right. I was there when the victim saw her, that was QUITE an expression on her face!
 
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I once went as "tired" and wore a bathrobe, slippers, etc.

A friend wore black pants, turtleneck, and beret- think poet- and had mailing address stickers all over him and was a magnetic poetry kit (he really wanted women to get into moving the stickers around on him. They didn't).

My daughter is a butler this year. That could really be played up well at a party.

 
master pollinator
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Well, the classic dead broke solution is a green garbage bag and a red toque (a stocking cap to you 'Mercans).

I'm an olive! Throw me into a martini! Haha.
 
pollinator
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When I was a kid I made a penguin costume out of a black contractor bag and white duck tape. Cut a hole in the bottom of it for my head, cut slits in the sides for my flippers. I did tape the sides of each flipper together to allow it to act as a sleeve on my arm. (Tape you won't see, not the white stuff)

My brother (much more artsy than me) made me a beak out of construction paper which I attached to a string and had over my nose.

I really liked penguins as a kid (I mean... still do) so it was perfect for me!
 
pollinator
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One Halloween I didn't wear a costume.
Everyone thought I was garth from Wayne's world.
PARTY ON WAYNE!
 
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No need to overcomplicate things: just go nude and say you're "the emperor."
 
Nothing up my sleeve ... and ... presto! A tiny ad:
Building a Better World in your Backyard by Paul Wheaton and Shawn Klassen-Koop
https://permies.com/w/better-world
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