Come on, who are you kidding? You’ve got less than a week left. Stop pretending you’re going to throw that over-the-top Lady Gaga outfit together. Besides, that’s a lot of expensive meat to be wasting on a costume. Here are ten of the easiest free or nearly free alternatives, perfect for procrastinators and cheapskates alike.
Toilet Paper Mummy. A little tape and a few rolls of TP are all you need. That’s just one of several toilet-paper themed costumes, actually.
Backwards Man. A personal favorite that I’ve worn and that I included in last year’s list of ten cheap and easy Halloween costumes:
You simply put on a shirt and a pair of pants backwards, then put a couple of T-shirts or other padding into the pant’s butt, to give yourself some “back.” Presto! You’re done. To impress partygoers and trick-or-treaters with your cleverness, tell everyone you’re “ass-backwards.”
Big Baby. All you need is a pair of adult diapers, perhaps taken from an elderly relative’s bathroom closet. For added effect, pop a pacifier in your mouth and carry around a transparent bottle filled with the beverage of your choice (White Russian?). This costume works best for men who still have (or have recently regained) some baby fat—and who don’t mind wearing next to nothing at a party. Warning: It might be assumed that your costume is not a baby but something along the lines of “weird fetish guy.”
Don Draper. Pretty simple to pull off if you already own a sleek suit and some hair gel (thanks for the idea, BillShrink). Also helps if you have dark, short-cropped hair, along with a chin. Stroll around with Scotch in hand, and a cigarette dangling from your mouth.
Jake Gittes. Add a fedora to the Don Draper getup, and place some white cloth tape over your nose, and you’re golden as Jack Nicholson‘s character in “Chinatown.” Warning: Don’t do the Nicholson impression unless you can really nail it—or unless the party’s been going on for hours and no one will notice how un-Jack-like you sound.
Your Spouse. Works best if you and your spouse are roughly the same height, and if you’re going to a party together. If that’s a go, swap outfits that your friends will recognize as distinctly “you.” To avoid dealing with hard-to-reproduce hairstyles, wear each other’s favorite hats. Warning: It’s OK for women to pad their bellies to make their guts more husband-like, and it’s OK for men to pad their chests to make them seem more endowed up top—but it is inadvisable to do the opposite.
A Flasher. The oversized trench coat is the whole costume. Totally up to you what, if anything, you wear underneath. To complete the disheveled sketchy-pervy guy look, refrain from shaving or even bathing—which, if you’re even considering this costume, was probably your plan anyway.
The Unknown Comic. Got a brown paper bag? Cut three circles in it and you have a costume. OK, not exactly the most hip, timely of costumes, but whatever. You’ll probably have to explain who you are to anyone under the age of 35. Or just say that you’re “Brown Baghead.” That’s probably what they’ll call you anyway.
Whatever Your Neighbor Wore Last Year. Loot the closets or attics of friends and neighbors for one of their old costumes—a witch, vampire, construction worker, Al Gore. Few people like to wear the same costume more than once. But hey, the costume’s new to you.
Whatever’s Left in the Halloween Aisle. You’ve waited this long, why not procrastinate a little longer? Come this weekend, the pickings for costumes will be slim—but cheap. Your last-minute shopping excursion gives you a topic of conversation at the Halloween party, not to mention an excuse for why your costume is so lame.