Help, It’s Halloween!

Published 1 month ago - 6


Written by Maureen Lynch

If you’re like me, you looked at your calendar, realized it was October 1st, and immediately felt better about life. I always look forward to the start of October because it means Halloween is right around the corner. I mean who doesn’t love scary movies and eating too much candy? However, there is one glaring caveat that screws with my seasonal spirit. And that’s costumes.

Everyone likes dressing up for Halloween. I don’t care how old you are, it’s still fun to put on a costume and pretend to be something different for a night. The problem is, when you are a broke college student, options get limited. I have been staring at my closet over break, trying to figure out what I can do with the clothes I already have. And the thing I discovered while scrolling for ideas that the key to creating a cheap costume is to pick something that is distinctive, yet low effort.

I decided to write something for everyone else struggling to figure out what to be for Halloween using this new philosophy:

You can never go wrong with a movie or TV show character!

While looking for ideas myself, I found myself scrolling through Pinterest boards full of characters form popular media. Here’s the thing, characters that appear on TV and in films are already using normal clothes to create costumes for their characters, but still have distinctive styles. So, you probably have some things in your closet that will work. For the sake of narrowing it down a little bit, let’s look at two examples:

  • Olivia Rodrigo’s Sour album cover: Her cover art is recognizable and fun without being overly complicated to duplicate, which makes it perfect for a Halloween costume. All you need is a pink tank top and a pair of jeans. And stickers, which you can get at a Target, Walmart, or Five Below.
  • Neo from The Matrix: Again, Neo has a distinctive costume, but most of the pieces are normal clothes. A plain black shirt, black pants, a belt, and black sunglasses are all things most people have lying around in their closet. All you would need is a trench coat. And really, you could probably get away with just a long black coat of some kind, which is something you could find at a Target or Walmart or go to Savers or Goodwill.

Pop Culture is a go-to source for inspiration!

Pop culture is chock full of easy ideas. I realized this while scrolling through an article from Good Housekeeping about DIY costumes. Logos or symbols are easily recognized and require minimum effort. Again, I am going to share two easy examples from the article to show you what I mean:

  • Emojis: Now this sounds a little stupid, but I think this could be a fun idea. For this costume, I recommend getting some sort of yellow top if you don’t already have one and then a neutral pair of pants. A yellow dress would also work. Then, I suggest you decide what emoji you want to embody, or if you just want to go for it and be all of them. Then, print out a picture of an emoji, cut it out, and paste it onto the yellow shirt. And if you want to do multiple emojis, just print out different emojis. We have free printing on campus, so you can print out as much as you want!
  • Coffee/Barista: Now, I think this one, again, can be executed in different ways. You could just get a Starbucks or Dunkin’ shirt and call it a day, or you could get a little waist apron to go along with it and become a barista. Again, I recommend shopping at a Target or Walmart for the clothes or looking on Amazon. As for a bottom, you can choose anything you want!

Get a group together.

I am a big believer in group costumes, mainly because it is a great way to have fun with your friends while getting into the Halloween spirit. I recommend picking something from the two suggestions above. I’ll show you what I mean:

  • Nerds: Nerds are an easily identifiable archetype in the United States. All you need are some dumpy clothes and big glasses. I would recommend looking in your closet first for any baggy or funky patterned clothes. Then work off that. Go shopping with your friends and get some big glasses. And of course, get ready together! 
  • Pink Ladies/ Greasers: Both the Greasers and Pink Ladies rely on black for most of their wardrobe. Find yourself a black shirt and pants. For the Pink Ladies, get yourselves some cat-eye glasses and pink jackets. For the Greasers, find some leather jackets and hair gel. Boom, you’re ready to go Grease-Lightening!

Get a little punny.

For those of you that like clever images or puns, you are in luck. I discovered puns make fun costumes while reading Reader’s Digest’s article on hard to top Halloween costumes. The key with this is creativity and making the visual pun easy to decipher. There is nothing worse than having people not get the joke. Here’s what I mean:

  • Identity Thief: This is an easy one because you can wear literally anything you want. The joke comes in with the name tags. Get yourself some “Hello my name is” name tags and write a bunch of random names. Then stick them on your shirt. Now you’re the elusive identity thief! It is relatively easy to understand, and you might even get a few laughs.
  • Copycat: This is more in-depth, but still easy. Again, you can wear anything if it is either black, brown, or white. And you must be monochromatic. Get yourself some cat ears in the same color and you have a cat costume! Now, print out multiple pictures of a cat, preferably one the same color as you chose for your outfit. Copycat is easy to manipulate and very easy to ditch if you decide not to do the whole pun thing. Just don’t get the cat pics and you can go as a friendly feline.

So there you have it, easy costume ideas with low effort. I hope you guys got some inspiration! Have fun, be safe, and as always when you are trying to save money, plan out a budget for your costume. And if you used any of these suggestions, or want to share your epic Halloween costume, comment below. Happy Halloween everyone!

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