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Last-minute Halloween costume ideas you already have in your closet

Have suspenders and glasses? Go as a nerd for Halloween.
Have suspenders and glasses? Go as a nerd for Halloween. Getty

You’ve waited too long and now you’re without a Halloween costume.

Costume shops are practically empty, or maybe you decided to hit up a party last minute. Whatever your excuse, don’t worry – there’s still hope.

READ MORE: Halloween photo challenge: Share your spooky shots

Chances are you already have all the parts to a decent costume hanging in your closet, you just need inspiration that’ll help you put the puzzle pieces of a Halloween costume together.

So to help out all you last-minute costume seekers, here is a list of 13 Halloween costumes that you can make with clothes you can already find in your closet.

1. Nerd

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#feelingmyself I prefer to make my own costumes for two reasons: 1) single-use Halloween costumes made from polyester are horrible for the environment, not to mention cheap looking, and 2) the costumes offered for women are often overly sexualized. For example, one year I wanted to be Sherlock Holmes, and the female version of the costume had a super short skirt and bustier top. Really?! The men's costume would've been way too big for me. Another advantage to DIY costumes is that, with a little creativity, it can cost you next to nothing, like this nerd costume I put together by borrowing pieces from 5 real-life nerds – shoutout to my mom for lending me her reading glasses! 🤓🤓🤓 Do you have any DIY costume ideas for Halloween? Let me know in the comments. For more tips on having a sustainable Halloween, check out my latest blog post.

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Hike up your pants, tuck your dress shirt into your waistband and throw on some glass and you have your nerd costume. Even if you don’t wear glasses, take an old pair of sunglasses and punch out the lenses. Finish the look with a bowtie or tie and feel free to add pimples using whatever makeup you have lying around the house.

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2. Serial killer

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If you like puns, then this costume is for you. Take old clothes you don’t wear anymore and stain them with fake blood or a red liquid that resembles blood. Attach some small cereal boxes to your clothing and have plastic forks driven through the boxes. And there you have it, you’re a serial killer.

3. Tourist

Don’t pretend like you’ve never looked like a stereotypical tourist while on vacation. You already have the shorts, Hawaiian shirt, knee socks and hat in your closet. Exaggerate your look more by adding sunglasses, a fanny pack around your waist and camera around your neck.

4. Nudist on strike

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This is quite possibly the easier costume to make (unless you’re going as yourself). Wear whatever clothes you feel comfortable and hang a cardboard sign around your neck that says “Nudist on strike.” How easy was that?

5. Retro costume

Whether it be the ’50s, ’60s, ’70s or ’80s, go as someone from your favourite decade. The great thing about trendy clothing is that it will often come back in style, so your closet is probably already full of clothing from decades past. If not, hit up your parents’ closet, they’re sure to have some oldies but goodies.

6. Rosie the Riveter

Continuing on the retro track, this costume is pretty simple to construct. A blue shirt, dark pants, a red bandana and red lipstick is all you need. Chances are people will know who you are right away, but just in case they don’t, show them your muscles.

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7. Where’s Waldo?

This can be done a couple of ways. If you already have a red and white striped shirt, then you’re pretty much set. If not, grab an old white shirt and paint or draw some red stripes on yourself. Throw on some jeans and a white and red toque and voila, you’ve found Waldo.

8. Lumberjack

Plaid shirts have been hanging in almost everyone’s closet for the past few years, so whip one out this weekend. Pair it with some jeans and suspenders and you’re ready for your party. Bonus points if you have time to make your own fake axe or can pick one up at a costume store or dollar store on your way out.

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9. Crazy cat lady

Go comfortable this Halloween and wear your sweats or pajamas with your housecoat. Put your hair in some rollers and grab that old stuffed cat you’ve had since you were little and you’ve just become the crazy cat lady everyone knows and loves.

10. Regina George

There are several costumes you can wear that’ll make people think you’re the queen bee from Mean Girls, but this one is simplest. Grab an old white tank top you’re OK with cutting up and make two holes. Underneath wear something purple and finish your costume up with a leather skirt and black heels. That’s so fetch.

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11. Baby and Johnny

This could be a couple’s costume or single’s, but Baby and Johnny from Dirty Dancing are both easy costumes to whip up. For Baby, a white dress shirt tied into a knot with jean shorts and white tennis shoes. For Johnny, a black tank top with black pants and black shoes.

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12. Walter White

For fans of the show Breaking Bad, they’ll know the outfit Walter White wore in the first episode of the first season where his RV flips over. Get a green button-up shirt and some tighty whities and you’ve just become Heisenberg himself.

13. Joel Goodsend

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This one’s always a popular choice and for good reason. This Risky Business costume really only consists of a few pieces: a long dress shirt, tighty whities, white socks and black sunglasses. It might be a tad chilly to wear if you’re outside, so make sure to at least wear pants (only temporarily) on the way to the party.