Easy Halloween costumes to make from home

Make getting into the spooky spirit of the season worth it

OPHS alumni and former Homecoming King and Queen, Zach and Brittany Fowler (nee York) dress as Angela and Dwight, from The Office. Zach and Brittany graduated in 2014. (Caitlin Fowler / Talon)

If you’re someone who likes to dress up on Halloween, you know that 2020 poses several extra obstacles which are making the process of finding a costume even more of a challenge than years past. Many stores have not opened, and even if they do, you may still feel wary to go indoor shopping during the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, with the holiday being partially cancelled, leaving most people stuck at home, you may feel that buying a costume is simply not worth it.

Luckily, there’s a solution to these issues. Using clothes from your own closet eliminates the stress of going to a busy store and the fear that you’re spending money on something that no one’s even going to see. 

Who doesn’t want to be someone or somewhere else right now? Pretending to be a different person for one night can allow you to be more at peace with all the phoniness and artificiality of modernity, while also providing a colorful escape from the gloom of the recent months of quarantine. Choose a character that mirrors your own internal state or even just one you feel you look like, and I guarantee that you’ll have more fun than if you ate some candy corn and called it a day. The process of putting together a costume can be meditative and therapeutic in and of itself. 

Now, go and have a happy Halloween! Here are my ideas for the simplest and most creative costumes you can make from your own closet:


1. Your favorite band: The great thing about bands is that they’re made up of normal people, just like you and me, which means that, most of the time, you’ll be able to create a Halloween costume based on your favorite singer or band member with some rarely-worn impulse buys from the back of your closet, hair gel, eyeliner and possibly one Amazon purchase for a signature piece. If you don’t want to have to buy anything, your best bet is going with a band which has a similar style to you (‘90s grunge if you have flannels, ‘70s pop if you have bell bottoms, etc.).

2. ‘90s or early 2000s Movie/TV Characters: A 20 or 30-year rewind is much easier than being a flapper or greaser. Chances are that you have some low-rise or mom jeans in your closet, not to mention that the ‘90s and 2000s have some of the most iconic characters ever created. Some shows and movies to choose from: “Lost,” “Thelma and Louise,” “Skins,” “Friends,” “The Office,” “Mean Girls,” “Easy A,” “Twin Peaks,” “Weeds,” “Saved By The Bell” and “Cruel Intentions.”

3. An “American Horror Story” Character: Ignoring “Freak Show,” “Hotel” and most of “Apocalypse,” the costumes of “AHS” aren’t actually that hard to do by yourself. “Murder House” (and even “Coven” if you own a lot of all-black outfits and boots) can probably be made with clothes from your closet. I recommend Violet Harmon or Tate Langdon. They’re simple to put together, but still a little spooky, not to mention that they’re two of the most iconic characters ever created in the Ryan Murphy universe.

4. An amazing makeup look: Distinctive makeup can look just as stylish as a full-on costume, especially if you feel like there’s nothing in your closet that can satisfy your costume needs. Options include an old Hollywood movie star such as Marilyn Monroe, a specific decade look such as the ‘60s or ‘80s, classic TV or movie characters, Harley Quinn or another supervillain, a creepy doll or clown or even just a concept like an animal or plant.

5. Hair dye: Temporary hair dye (make sure to actually get temporary, not semi-permanent) and other hair accessories can completely change how you look. Having a couple of days of pink, blue or green hair can make you feel like a whole different person, which is what Halloween’s all about. InStyle has a great article to help you find the best temporary dye for your specific hair type and color. Pair this with your aforementioned makeup, and you’ll look even better than the people in full-blown costumes.