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Although I typically begin celebrating Halloween before the first leaf even falls off a tree, each and every year I still wait until the last minute to figure out a costume. You’d think I would have learned my lesson by now, but without fail, I find myself scrambling to come up with easy Halloween costume ideas a few days (or even a few hours) before October 31. Typically, I’ll choose something based on the clothes I already have in my closet—which actually works in a pinch. It doesn’t hurt that there are actually plenty of cute and easy Halloween costumes you can recreate with things you probably own.
I’m not just talking about drawing on some whiskers and calling yourself a cat, either. You can easily throw on pieces in your closet to make yourself resemble your favorite reality TV characters or pop culture phenomenons. All it takes is a little bit of inspiration—and some time spent rooting around in the back of your closet. Before Halloween officially begins, you’ll have a costume thrown together from pieces you knew you kept for a reason.
Of course, if you have a few extra days, you can also easily order a few items to complete your look. (This is where Amazon Prime comes in really handy.) While plenty of full costumes will have either sold out or simply won’t ship to you in time, you’ll still be able to find pieces to help create easy Halloween costumes—like tie-dye for a quarantine influencer look or something animal print for Carole Baskin vibes. Last-minute shopping can sometimes save the day, folks!
Below you’ll find 10 easy Halloween costume ideas that are actually fun, unique and will definitely make you look like you put more effort in than you did. Some may require a little bit of DIY, but there’s nothing that can’t be accomplished in a day or two. So go forth, my lazy Halloween queens, and let your creativity shine this holiday.
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1. TikTok Star
Whether you dress like your favorite TikTok star or try to create your own stereotypical TikTok celeb look, this is one easy Halloween costume. If you need a few ideas to get you started, we recommend starting with a pair of high-waisted jeans and a simple-but-trendy crop top. From there, you can add some Gen Z accessories and a TikTok dance or two.
2. Carole Baskin From Tiger King
You’re going to see Tiger King costumes everywhere this Halloween, so you might as well lean in. Luckily, dressing up as Carole Baskin is ridiculously easy. Just pair all the leopard print clothing you have together, don a flower crown and you’re set. You could always carry around a stuffed tiger, too—if you want to go the extra mile.
3. ’90s Vibes
In case you missed it, the ’90s are back in a big way—making it easier than ever to create a ’90s-inspired Halloween costume. All you’ll need are some high-waisted mom jeans, an oversized t-shirt and some chunky sneakers. You probably already have all of those pieces in your closet, but they’re easy to find in a flash if you don’t!
4. Quarantine Influencer
Throw on a tie-dye sweatsuit and fuzzy slippers (plus your mask!) and carry around a thing of hand sanitizer this Halloween. The quarantine influencer look couldn’t be an easier—or more timely—costume to create this year. Just make sure to take plenty of photos so that you can share it all with your followers, of course.
5. Too Hot To Handle Contestant
Want to pretend like you’re a contestant on the Netflix series Too Hot to Handle? Easy. All you really need to do is wear a cute bikini and tie something around your wrist that resembles the wristbands worn on the show. Fair warning, though: You might be too hot to handle in this costume.
6. Tia & Tamera From Sister Sister
The classic ’90s sitcom Sister Sister has been released on Netflix (!), and odds are, you’ve been binging it. If you and your BFF (or actual sister) need last-minute costumes, try dressing up as Tia and Tamera from the show. Just grab a tee out of your closet and pair it with some vintage short overalls. Easy, right?
7. Taylor Swift
Though there have been plenty of surprising things about 2020, one of the best surprises we received was a new Taylor Swift album. This Halloween, why not copy the style Taylor Swift boasts in the photos for the Folklore album? You can go for the cozy cardigan vibe or the striped polo and jeans look. The choice is yours.
8. Christine From Selling Sunset
She’s the reality villain we all love to hate—but secretly wish we were. Go as Christine from Selling Sunset this Halloween with pieces likely already in your wardrobe. Just take your sexiest going-out dress (or, honestly, any bodycon dress will do), paint your nails bright red and throw on a full face of makeup.
9. Camp Kid
Put your chunky dad sneakers and summer’s tie-dye trend to good use and DIY your own camp kid Halloween costume this year. You can’t go wrong with a pair of chunky white sneakers, some khaki or camp shorts and a tie-dye sweatshirt or tee (if you don’t want to make your own). This can also be an homage to American Horror Story 1984, which takes place at a spooky summer camp.
10. Leti From Lovecraft Country
If you haven’t been watching Lovecraft Country on HBOMax, you’re missing out. For folks who are already a fan of the show, though, you’ll know that Leti has the best style—and it’s so easy to recreate. We suggest wearing a button down tank tied at the waist with trousers and a pop of red lipstick. Voila!
A version of this story was originally published on August 23, 2019.