Donna enjoys using her arts background to create fun craft projects with a special focus on using repurposed or handy household materials.
I admire people who craft elaborate Halloween costumes, but I prefer simple costumes that I can put together in a couple of hours or less. In fact, I don't really like wearing costumes at all. So here are some suggestions of easy costumes for people like me, who don't want to spend lots of time or money on creating a costume.
Some of these costume ideas are very simple, and others are more involved, but all use household items or things you might already have in your closet. Even if you don't find a costume idea you like, this list might inspire your own creative Halloween costume.
Bag of Jelly Beans or Coffee Beans
- Wear a solid color outfit
- Using a large clear plastic trash bag, cut a hole for your head in the bottom and two holes in the sides for your arms
- Put the bag over your body and fill it with different colored blown-up balloons (for jelly beans) or all brown balloons (for coffee beans).
- Tie or belt bag at your waist to keep the balloons in the bag.
1. Wear a yellow and black striped shirt or a yellow and black outfit
2. Make or buy a pair of wings that you can strap to your back.
3. Add a tiara and any other queenly accessories.
- Fill a backpack with Amazon boxes or other packages.
- Dress in all black.
- Wear a pirate hat and/or eye patch if you have them. If not, wear a black ski mask or knit hat with sunglasses.
- Wear running clothes and sneakers.
- Make a sandwich board out of some poster board, connecting the front and back sheets with duct tape at your shoulders.
- Write a joke (preferably a bad joke) on the front and back boards of your costume.
- Wear solid-colored clothes, preferably black or white.
- Using safety pins, carefully pin odd socks and other small garments all over your clothes.
Note: This idea is best for someone who's already bald or has a shaved head.
- Wear a white short-sleeved shirt and white pants.
- Stick a name tag on the shirt with "Mr. Clean" written on it.
Rosie the Riveter
- Wear a blue work shirt and blue pants.
- Tie your hair in a red scarf.
- Put a wrench in your waistband or through a belt loop.
Jack in the Box
- Find a box that is large enough to fit over your torso.
- Cut off any extra cardboard to open up the bottom of the box.
- Cut a hole in the top of the box for your head and two holes on either side for your arms
- Paint the box to look like a Jack-in-the-Box toy.
- Make up your face like a clown using face paint.
- Put the box over your head to wear on your body.
- Find a plastic trick or treat pumpkin that is large enough to fit over your head.
- Cut a round hole in the side that is large enough to show your whole face.
- Paint your face like a jack-o-lantern using face paints.
- Turn the pumpkin over on your head so that your face shows through the hole in the side.
- Dress in all black or brown.
Big Box-Store Employee
- Wear a blue vest (for Lowe's), an orange apron (for Home Depot), or a red apron (for Ace Hardware or Michaels) with a matching shirt.
- Add a pair of beige pants.
- Create a simple name tag for the appropriate store.
- Using a large brown trash bag, cut a hole in the bottom for your head and two holes in either side for your arms.
- Draw a large tag that resembles your favorite tea brand.
- Dress in all brown or black.
- Put your head through the hole at the bottom of the bag and your arms through the other holes so the bag fits over your torso.
- Hang the tag with string from the head hole of your bag.
- Wear all green, including a green tee shirt.
- Paint or create a large "T" on your shirt using white tape or masking tape.
Dilbert or Other Cartoon Characters
- Wear a white button-down shirt and tie with black pants.
- Make an employee badge with Dilbert's image on it. Use Dilbert's employment information or your own organization's name and logo.
Other ideas: Try other characters from the Dilbert cartoons or Dr. Bunsen Honeydew or Beaker from the Muppet Show (add a lab coat to your costume).
- Find a picture frame that is large enough to fit over your head.
- Remove any backing or glass so you are using only the frame.
- Slip the frame over your head.
- Dress however is appropriate for your self-portrait.
Other ideas: Use face paint to draw overlapping shapes on your face to make an "abstract" self-portrait. Or make yourself up to resemble your favorite portrait from history and dress like that painting.
- Dress in black clothes, a hat, and sunglasses.
- Cover your clothes with "Hello, My Name Is" tags. Put different names on all the tags.
- (Optional) Wear a trench coat and stick all the name tags to the interior of the coat, flashing them when people ask who you are.
- Dress as formally as possible in a suit, dress shirt, and tie. Make yourself look your very best.
- Carry a bouquet of flowers and/or a box of candy.
- Optional: Instead of a pocket square, tuck a piece of paper in your chest pocket with the words "He's a dream" typed on it.
- Using a shoebox with a separate lid, cut a hole in the bottom of the box so that the box will rest on the top of your head. Start with a smaller hole and make it larger to get the right fit.
- Cover the top, open side of the bottom box with a piece of fabric that is large enough to cover all the sides. Neatly fold this fabric at the corners and attach it to the underside with hot glue or tape. Trim your fabric so it doesn't interfere with the hole for your head.
- Carefully tear the corners of one short side of your box lid and fold the short flap up. This will create a headboard for your bed.
- Cover the box lid with a coordinating piece of fabric. Fold the fabric around the sides and attach it to the bottom of the lid. Trim any excess fabric.
- Use bubble wrap or some socks to form a pillow. Neatly wrap your pillow in some fabric and attach it to the head of your bed.
- Glue the box lid on top of the box bottom
- Optional: Add a small teddy bear or doll to your bed. You can even make it so your bear or doll is lying under the covers in the bed.
- Optional: Glue some dowels or chopsticks to the corners of your bed to make it a poster bed.
- Wear your bed head with pajamas or sweats.
- Find a square box that fits over your shoulders.
- Cut off any extra material so one side of your box is open.
- On the side opposite your open end, cut a hole for your head.
- On the other four sides, cut out a large "U" shape so your box is now a flat side with four legs.
- Decorate the side with the hole in it by attaching things you would find on a table (a scarf to use as a tablecloth, a book, a pair of glasses, a small vase).
- Put your head through the hole so the table fits over your shoulders and body.
- Wear a lampshade on the top of your head.
- Dress in solid blue, black, or gray.
- Using a solid-color umbrella, glue cotton batting or fiberfill to the outside of the umbrella to look like a cloud.
- Optional: Paint the fiberfill with gray swirls using acrylic paint.
- Tape blue or silver streamers to the inside of the umbrella to create falling rain.
Additional idea: Follow the directions above but attach streamers in rainbow colors to the underside of the umbrella. Then dress in green like a leprechaun.
Hot Dog or Peanut
For Hot Dog:
- Cut a piece of an egg crate mattress pad or flexible foam that is long enough to reach from the top of your head to your knees, and wide enough to wrap around your body and meet in the center like a jacket.
- Round off the ends at your head and knees in a half circle (see diagram above).
- Cut two holes for your arms to fit through, but measure carefully so they are in the right place.
- Dress in brown clothing and wear foam like a coat with the smooth side facing out.
- Wear a long red scarf if you like ketchup on your hot dogs and a yellow scarf if you prefer mustard on your wieners.
- Use an egg crate mattress pad and follow the directions above for measuring and cutting your foam.
- Dress all in brown, but wear foam like a jacket with the egg crate side facing out.
- Belt the foam around your waist to create a peanut shape.
- Optional: Carry a cane to be "Mr. Peanut."
© 2020 Donna Herron
Donna Herron (author) from USA on September 18, 2020:
Hi Heidi - I think Halloween celebrations will vary from place to place. There are few restrictions here and our neighborhood already has plans for a social distanced costume parade instead of trick or treating. Hopefully, next year will bring back many of our traditional Halloween activities. Take care and thanks for commenting!
Heidi Thorne from Chicago Area on September 18, 2020:
Well, I think I could put a costume together with these suggestions! :) But this year, we have to wonder how many Halloween celebrations there will actually be. My local grocery store already has seasonal candy at 70% off. I think that's a harbinger of Halloween 2020.
So making the minimal investment in costumes and such, some of which will probably be worn on Zoom, is a wise thing. These suggestions are perfect for that.
Thanks for sharing the fun tips! Hope you're doing well. Have a great weekend!
Donna Herron (author) from USA on September 17, 2020:
Hi Danny - Yes, I wonder about the pandemic too. But the stores in the US are stacked with Halloween candy and most kids are back in school. I think there will be some celebrating with costumes, even if it's just Halloween parades with social distancing. Thanks for stopping by and commenting!
Danny from India on September 17, 2020:
Donna, you have listed some really creative costume ideas for Halloween. Although I stay in India, Halloween is also celebrated with much fanfare and your ideas will be super helpful during the season.
But I wonder how it is going to be this season with the pandemic around :)
Donna Herron (author) from USA on September 17, 2020:
Hi Sally - The skeleton costume is another great idea! Thanks for commenting and adding your suggestion! Hope all is well with you!
Donna Herron (author) from USA on September 17, 2020:
Thanks, Claudia. Over the years, I've come up with a long list of costume ideas that use things I already have on hand and take minimum effort. The trick with the jelly bean costume is to belt it at your waist to make it easier to sit. Thanks for your comment! Best wishes for a crafty fall!
Sally Gulbrandsen from Norfolk on September 17, 2020:
Simplicity is the key as far as I am concerned Donna. I loathe dressing up but did make a nice skeleton costume once. I dressed my daughter in a black leotard with black leggings and put pieces of white tape over her ribs to create a skeleton costume. Worked brilliantly and she even won a prize.
Claudia Mitchell on September 17, 2020:
Ha!!! If that isn't a great title to grab someone's attention I don't know what is!!! I was a bag of jelly beans once. It's fun, except when you have to sit down. These are all great ideas!