For some, Halloween is the perfect chance to show off their crafty, creative skills, and they relish spending October making the perfect witty, flattering costume. The rest of us usually find ourselves scrambling in the last week of October to buy something overpriced (generic sexy pirate lady you will never wear again, just $64.99!) from an overcrowded costume store, paying extra for rush shipping online, or throwing together something lame for our closets (raise your hands if you’ve done “’80s girl” more than once).
We’re here to tell you that you can relax this year — and still gain plenty of oohs and ahhs as you hit the party circuit or the trick or treating crowds. The Internet shall provide! We combed the web for some of the cleverest and easiest costumes to suit your needs.
This isn’t necessarily restricted by your relationship status but rather your independence re: costume theme.
The directions for a little girl can easily apply to a grown woman, as long as you have a friend to do the tracing. We love the versatility of this idea (go as elaborate or simple as you like, and wear whatever you want underneath), and how great it will look in photographs. Head over to BrassyApple.com for instructions.
The Hawaiian globe pictured here has a very carefully constructed volcano, but if you’re scared of anything involving spray paint and sculpting, you can just as easily create your own globe environs using items from a toy store. This would also make clever group costume.
“About 75 pink balloons were harmed in the production of this photo,” photographer Phil King says of this Nemo-themed costume. The balloons are twisted in the middle and attached to a tunic with yarn.
Groups of Friends
Plan on traveling in a pack this Halloween? You’re going to need to agree on a theme and on how long you each want to work on your costumes. These can be as difficult or easy as you want them to be, and you won’t need to spend a ton of money on supplies.
The staff of superstar crafty site Brit.co worked together on these Pixar-themed costumes, so don’t worry if your version isn’t quite so polished (even though their instructions are very easy to follow). It will be every bit as adorable.
This just requires a whole lot of spray paint and body paint, some athletic gear, and cardboard for the pedestals, which you can probably attach to one of your shoes if you don’t feel like carrying it around all the time. To give this an original twist, we suggest tailoring each trophy to your own personal talents (not necessarily sports) or inventing new ones.
Old-Timey Toy Chest
Instagram/@bitmapjpegtiff One marionette is not enough! You and your friends can make up a whole collection of life-size wind-up dolls and puppets, creeping out everyone you meet. Here are instructions for the marionette strings, and here is how to make the wind-up key. Then everyone just needs a super-girly dress or an old-fashioned suit, plus some exaggerated makeup, and you are ready to be our nightmare!
Two-person costumes are a bit easier to coordinate for big groups. What we like about these is that if you and your friend go in separate directions, everyone will still get who you are. The Grady Twins
Those little girls from The Shining are scary even to people who haven’t seen the movie or read the Stephen King book. You’ll need blue dresses (or nightgowns), pink ribbons, and a hair clip. Fake blood is optional.
Buzz and Woody
Sometimes, switching the gender of a character is all it takes to make it seem cute and original. You don’t even need to go the crop-top “sexy” route if you’re not into that. Bonus points for the little details, like “Andy” written on their feet. (Visit this site for plenty of other user-submitted ideas.)
Dressing as an app still hasn’t gotten old. You can go for something useful, like the one pictured here, or pick something trendier, it’s all in the cardboard and tape application. (Question: If you go as Snapchat, do you have to keep disappearing from the room after every conversation?)
These and the BFF costumes are basically interchangeable. The trick is in getting your S.O. to agree on something.
Roller Coaster Riders
Instagram/@beccadiva We’ve seen versions of this featuring a bunch of people, and another where the couple’s seats are attached, but both seem annoying to pull off. Follow these instructions for two separate seats and then just coordinate your “ride” when you feel the need to perform. Emmet and Wyldstyle
Here’s the thing about Lego costumes: You can go insanely complicated, like this guy did, with foam and shiny paint and all the right angles. Or you can go super simple, like the adorable Brit in this how-to video. We suggest the latter, but with a bit of extra painting and styling to make yourselves into the lead characters of the Lego Movie.
Barbie and Ken
You can print out the logos for a more professional look than these kids managed, but the point is that you and your partner can be as silly as you like (traditional pink? Astronaut gear? Punk?) inside the boxes. Here’s a sweet tutorial on building the box itself.
Little ones usually have their own (sometimes impossible) ideas of what they want to dress up as, but maybe you can persuade them into one of these.
We never knew pool noodles could be so useful! Head over to Alphamom.com for complete instructions and other sea-themed costumes.
It’s basically impossible to keep a kid in a mask all night, so this hat option from MakeandTakes.com is kinda perfect.
Thomas and Friends
If your toddler is obsessed with Thomas the “really useful engine” as every kid we know, this easy box costume will get some usage long after October 31. HelloWonderful.co has instructions and printable faces, so you can make one for every member of the family if you’ve got the space.
Lego Movie Family
See above for our thoughts on making this as hard or easy as you’re willing.