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?
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.
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!
"The garden teaches us there is something we are all capable of doing. Only with something so small that can be in everyone's hand can we challenge the empire."
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.
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!"
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 :)