Halloween is a magical holiday where you get to be who or whatever you want for an evening. An iPhone? You can be that. A giant piece of birthday cake? Go for it, girl. We more than applaud those of you who shoot for the moon on All Hallows’ Eve, but we know a super elaborate costume isn’t always the easiest thing to put together. If you’re in need of a little inspiration for this year’s costume, why not start with what you’ve already got hanging in your closet? Here are 37 show-stopping (not to mention affordable) costumes ideas you can create with garments you probably already own.
1. Overalls ($385): Hope you held onto this ’90s staple, because not only are they totally back in fashion, but they could also be a major element of this year’s costume.
To be Super Mario or a Despicable Me minion, just wear an appropriately colored shirt underneath and add signature characteristics like mustaches for M+L or silver goggles and a yellow beanie (genius hack!). To be a scarecrow, find a straw hat and a little hay, pin on some flowers and you’re good to go. (images via Pop Sugar, Pink and Black Magazine + Etsy)
2. Striped Tee ($34): Whether it’s black and white or red and white, either can work as the base garment for some really fun costume ideas.
Silence your lips and let your outfit do all the talking as a mime, sail the seven seas as a pirate (eye patch is a must!) or channel your inner Bonnie and Clyde as bank robbers with the Jay to your Bey. (images via See Jane Blog, Selfveda + Foster2Forever)
3. Hooded Cape ($185): Turn this whimsical coat into much more than a winter necessity just like this.
Throw your hood on to be a spooky fortune teller or a sweet Little Red Riding Hood (if it’s red, obvs). If you have a super dramatic cape, go all out and channel Winifred Sanderson, the Hocus Pocus witch we all love to hate. (images via DT Jaaam, Sidewalk Ready + Nawty Fox)
4. Sports Bra ($48): Never thought you’d rock a sports bra anywhere other than the gym? Well think again my friend.
Take your costume to celebrity status as Miley Cyrus (moms-to-be, you can also get in on the Miley costume action) or get even more creative by adding on a couple cupcakes to spend the night as a Katy Perry lookalike. (images via Brit + Co and Daily Mail)
5. Trench Coat ($114): What’s more classic than a trench coat? Paired with an umbrella in the spring and used as a windbreaker during fall, this belted outerwear makes any outfit instantly chic, including your Halloween costume.
Trenches instantly evoke an air of mystery. Play up that element as the always elusive Carmen Sandiego or the clumsy yet lovable Inspector Gadget (DIY-ing that propeller hat is a must!). Or try something a little more scandalous and go as Olivia Pope — make sure you always have a glass of vino handy for this option. (images via What I Wore, Instructables + Redbook Mag)
6. Turtle Neck ($135): With autumn fully in swing, it’s time to pull out those sweaters. Yes, you can be cozy and be in character while you trick or treat.
Take your turtleneck for a spin as the brainy Velma from Scooby Doo or copy Jimmy Fallon’s hilariously goofy look from his reoccurring “Tight Pants” skit. Oddly enough, both characters seem to have similar taste, not only in sweaters but in haircuts as well — and both make excellent group + couples costumes! (images via Artsimag, Brit + Co)
7. Flannel Button Down ($29): From chokers to flannels, the ’90s are fully back in fashion. Here’s how to make the near-effortless jump from everyday wear to Insta-worthy costume.
Take the decade’s grunge looks to an extreme as a ’90s teen that would give Angela Chase a run for her money with jean jacket, docs and a near constant eye roll in tow. You can also opt for an outfit that’s more in touch with the wilderness, like a hardworking lumberjane or a clawed and fanged werewolf. (images via Where to Get It, Sayyes + Pinterest)
9. Maxi Skirt ($26): This everyday alternative to jeans is also an epic costume in-the-making. Trust us.
If you own a red maxi, pull it up and turn it into an ultra simple dress. Pop on a wild wig, print out Thing 1 and 2 signs and you and your bestie have an excuse to be extra silly all night long. If you want something a little more dramatic, grab a black maxi and pair it with a black top. Then deck yourself in gold, gems and copious amounts of eyeliner to bring Cleopatra back from the dead. (images via Brit + Co and Halloween Costumes)
10. Little Black Dress ($67): Ah the little black dress. It’s great on its own, but even better when you can use it to become someone (or something) else.
Slip on your LBD and make some wings to fly around as a bat (a very, very cute bat). If you’ve always dreamt about what it might be like to be an Olsen twin, make that fantasy a reality with a coffee cup, oversized shades and a baggy sweater. Or make jaws drop as the Black Swan with a tutu over a dress to make the look extra dramatic (but just the dress + some killer makeup will still make a lasting impression). (images via Fashionista, Brit + Co + Lookbook)
Option 1: just add wings + a sparkly headband to become a heavenly angel. Option 2: Take it back to the stone age as Fred Flinestone’s glamourous wife, Wilma. Option 3: Grab some markers and let your kids doodle all over you dress — it’ll be worth it when you pop on a veil to recreate Angelina Jolie’s wedding day look. (image via Babble, A Thrifty Diva + Albawaba)
12. Denim Shirt ($35): You’re already wearing that chambray shirt 24/7 this fall, so why not make it work on the 31st, too?
Nothing says Halloween like a bit of time travel. Take it back to the ’40s as the oh-so-empowering Rosie the Riveter or skip forward a few decades and dress as the hoverboard-riding teen, the one and only Marty McFly. (images via The Nerdy Girlie, Buzzfeed)
Obviously, the ever-rebellious Margot Tenenbaum is our throw-on-and-go frontrunner. But if this Wes Anderson character is a little too monotone for you, go for Disney’s most over-the-top villain, Cruella De Vil. (images via The Year of Halloween, Flickr)
14. Leather Jacket ($80): Pop a leather jacket on and you’re immediately a little more badass, no matter what day of the year it is.
Rock out as punk royalty Joey Ramone in a Ramones t-shirt, messy black wig and round sunglasses, or go the bombshell route as Grease’s Sandy. If you ask us, any excuse to wear stellar heels and red lipstick is hard to pass up. (images via The Hormones, Yandy)
15. Leotard ($28): Yeah, we have a leotard in our closets too. Why? Probably the same reason you have — who knows?
The summer olympics may not be until next year, but you can get a jump start on the events as a sporty, sparkly gymnast. Or, for those tech-loving ladies out there, why not go as an emoji? Yeah you heard us, an emoji! It might be time to bring those dancing ladies into the three-dimensional world once and for all. (images via Pop Sugar, Thomas Family Tidbits)
Which of these ideas do you like best? Can you think of any fun ideas we missed? Share them with us in the comments if so!