Creative Halloween Costume Ideas for the Last Minute

Did you forget to plan a Halloween costume this year? No need to scream: these ideas are easy and cost effective for high school and college students!

Maybe the day before Halloween your teacher offhandedly says they’ll offer extra credit if you wear a costume to class. Or maybe you weren’t planning on dressing up until your friend told you to drop by their party. Or maybe you’re just an A+ procrastinator and you didn’t realize it was already the end of October. No matter the reason, we’ve all been there: scrolling through Pinterest, scouring our closet, or running out to Spirit Halloween to buy a last-minute costume. For students who are way too good at leaving everything until the last minute, here are some DIY Halloween costume ideas that can be thrown together easily and won’t break the bank.

If you have 20 minutes

Reach into the back of your closet, almost to Narnia, and you’ll probably find some gems to update to a costume.

Wizard/witch trying to blend in

Put together an outfit of that doesn’t match: a pair of pajama pants and a button-down, a polka-dot dress and striped tights, a sweat suit and a tie. Then go outside (you can even do this on your way to wherever you’re going) and find a stick that’s roughly wand sized (or breakdown a larger stick) to carry around.

Ancient Roman

Nice and easy. Take a top sheet, wrap it around yourself at least once, and knot it on one of your shoulders. If you have safety pins, you should pin it to make sure it doesn’t come undone.


Do this costume before it’s cool. Grab a flannel, a beanie, and roll up the cuffs on your skinny jeans. Walk around using a mason jar as a glass. Bonus points if you wear oversized glasses.

If you have a day or two

If you have the time to make a mad dash to the store, you can put one of these costumes together.

Lady Gaga

All you need is a leotard or one-piece bathing suit, some fabric glue, and a bag of different-sized clear balloons, and you can be cool circa 2009.

A major award

Run to the nearest thrift store and pick up an old tennis racquet, golf club, or hockey stick, then spray-paint it gold and don all gold (or silver if you don’t dream big). Randomly pose like a statue throughout the night to really sell it.


All you need is a headband, a light bulb, and some superglue. Stick the light bulb onto the headband and you have a great idea for a costume!

For the squad

Sometimes you’re not the only one to leave your costume to the last minute. In that case, try out these last-minute multiples.

Where are we?

The power duo no one can find: Carmen Sandiego (black pants, red jacket, and red hat) and Where’s Waldo (red and white striped shirt, red beanie, black pants, and glasses). Could be a couple’s costume, but it doesn’t have to be! Once you find a friend to do this with, lose them.

Waka waka waka

Pac-Man’s a classic—you can be too. All you need are five friends, black jeans, and corresponding shirts (yellow, orange, red, blue, and pink) with eyes and mouths drawn in permanent marker. If you want the whole crew, add a Ms. Pac-Man with another friend in a yellow shirt and a red ribbon in their hair!

The Breakfast Club

Grab some friends and your favorite breakfast cereals and walk around with them all night. This is grrrrreat because your costume has a built-in snack! Bonus points if you try to dress up like the cereal character.

What are you being for Halloween this year? Send us pics of your costume on Twitter @CollegeXpress

Like what you’re reading?

Join the CollegeXpress community! Create a free account and we’ll notify you about new articles, scholarship deadlines, and more.

Join Now

college Halloween fun Halloween Halloween costumes holidays

About Kara E. Joyce

Kara E. Joyce is an editor and writer who frequently contributes to CollegeXpress. When she isn’t hunched over editing material, you can find her powerlifting in the gym, pirouetting in a dance studio, or planning her next adventure.


Join our community of
over 5 million students!

CollegeXpress has everything you need to simplify your college search, get connected to schools, and find your perfect fit.

Join CollegeXpress
CollegeXpress Logo


Are you our next winner?

Register now for our scholarship giveaway

College Matches