4 Amazing Last-Minute Halloween Costume Ideas

So you’re sprawled on the couch, catching up on the latest episode of The Walking Dead. As Rick and the survivors fight off an aggressive horde, something about those zombies leaves a nagging feeling at the back of your mind. Then it suddenly hits you: Halloween is tomorrow!

Whether it’s at a friend’s house or the office, many of us tend to forget about the “costume” part of the event and end up scrambling for any suitable outfit at the last minute. According to a highly unscientific survey of friends, more than 80% procrastinated and came up with a costume on the night before Halloween.

If you find yourself frantically searching online for “fast DIY costumes” or the bottom of your closet for kid or pet costume cast-offs that may be adult appropriate, don’t despair. We’ve come up with pretty ingenious last-minute Halloween costume ideas  to help turn costume procrastinators into the life of the party.  Most of these items can be found in your home, Home Depot, or Walmart – the latter is open until 10 p.m. tonight.


1. The toy plastic soldier

Everyone who’s gone through childhood is familiar at the sight of plastic soldiers. I myself spent countless hours re-enacting Omaha Beach and the future wars of 2199 with my little green army… always triumphing against the enemy, of course.

So why not transform yourself into one of these plastic heroes from boyhood? Your costume will be easily recognizable by even the tiniest of tots, and the one-color scheme will definitely make you stand out from the numerous pirates and robots milling around.

What you’ll need:

Field jacket – Any jacket will do, as long as it’s bulky and has lots of pockets. The bottom should ideally reach down to your groin to mimic the oversize BDUs of the military.

Pants – Hunting pants or cargo pants with leg pockets

Utility belt – Oversized strap with at least one Velcro attached pouch

Helmet – A tin pot in the vague shape of a helmet will do. Toy soldiers aren’t plasti-formed with elaborate SWAT-style helmets anyway, since this complicates the molding process.

Green paint – Lots and lots of it. Ten to twelve aerosol cans would be a safe bet.

Some guidelines:

Most of the stuff you need is readily available in hunting stores or Army surplus shops. On the painting process, depending on the fabric of your outfit it might be advisable to use a primer. Without it, most textiles will just soak up the paint instead of sticking to the cloth.

For the face area, you have two options. First, you can buy non-toxic Halloween face paint so that your head matches the rest of your outfit. Alternatively, you can use pantyhose to cover your face so the paint is the exact same shade as your clothes. You will also have to remember to paint your hands or use gloves. The idea is to drench your entire body in green to give off the plastic soldier vibe.

For the gun, you don’t necessarily need a detailed firearm to carry off the look. Like the helmet, a vaguely M16-shaped piece with a carry handle will do. You might want to plug the end of the barrel with solid tape to emphasize safety and add to the plastic toy “realism”.

Finally, you may want to use a “stand” for your soldier. A thin piece of cardboard or plywood scrap painted in the same shade of green will do. Cut a piece just wide enough to fit around your feet, and narrow enough so you can stick it on your back or in the waistband of your utility belt while walking around.


2. Lego man

These little bricks are easily recognizable anywhere, from Nepal to Timbuktu. If you don’t have time to paint your whole outfit green, a Lego costume is a better time-saving alternative since you only need to paint the head and hand “claws”.

What you’ll need:

A giant can – This is the most essential piece since it will act as your Lego head. You want something perfectly cylindrical with enough space to comfortably breathe without overheating. If you have more time, rolled cardboard is a better option since it’s lighter on the neck and the eye holes are easier to punch out.

A smaller can – This will rest on top of your head to mimic the small nub on the head of Lego figures. If you have time, cut open the top so you have sufficient ventilation.

A cardboard box – This will be your “body”, so make sure it fits comfortably. If you’re a bit on the bulky side and you can’t find a large enough box, two cardboard surfaces will do – one for the front and back of your body. Then cut out a narrow plank that will go over your head and rest on your shoulders as the top part of your rectangular body. The hole where your neck fits through will be hidden by the can.

Hands – This can be easily accomplished using paper mache. Or you can just hold your hands in the shape of claws and cover them up with dishwashing gloves.

Paint – Around 2 to 3 cans of yellow aerosol paint for the head and hands. You can paint your boxy body in any other color you wish. If you’re pressed for time, just draw a tie, suit or a row of black buttons worn by old-school Lego figures.

Some guidelines:

If you opt not to make paper mache claws for your hands, then it’s better to cover them up with nylon stockings painted in the same yellow color as the head. Lego figures have no fingers, and using a dishwashing glove will detract from that detail.

Alternatively, you can use the cut cardboard core from a roll of tissue of paper. Paint them bright yellow and clench them with your hands, like this guy did.

If you want to be even more realistic, wear baggy pants to match the width of your boxy body. Then glue your shoes to the trimmed top lid of shoeboxes so that you have the same stubbed feet as your childhood Lego figure.

 honey boo boo

3. Miss Honey Boo Boo

What do you get when you drink Go-Go juice and forget that tonight is the Halloween party? Why, a Honey Boo Boo costume of course!

It doesn’t matter if you’re an adult, male, or a little on the plus side. In fact, this costume works best if you are a full-grown adult, male and a little on the plus side! Bring life to the party by dressing up as the 30-year old version of the Toddlers & Tiaras star. You get to save on time and effort, while bringing a smile to those around you.

What you’ll need:

A dress – Outlandish, garish dresses with lots of fluff and lace are ideal. Think children’s pageants or the 80s. For best results, make sure the dress is a little too small or short to give the appearance of a toddler-like adult. Emphasis of your bulging tummy / beer belly is optional.

Socks and heels – White ankle socks add to the little brat effect. If you can’t stand wearing heels, then feminine flats will do. Make them the same color as your dress.

Wig – Frilly auburn or blonde locks will do. Look for long ones that cover up your face or eyes for comedic effect.

Sash – The essential piece that completes your costume. It also lets other people that you are Big Miss Boo Boo or whatever you decide to call yourself. Print out the sash using Comic Sans or flowing font like Lucida Handwriting. If you don’t have the time or printer ink, then scrawl out your pageant title on a long roll of toilet paper.

Some guidelines:

You can’t be Alana Thompson without a tiara on top of your golden locks. You may want to raid your daughter’s toy chest and explain that Mommy/Daddy needs it for an important event. You may also want to bring along a sippy cup with your favorite juice.

Lastly, a white opera glove will go well with your white ankle socks for a “giant Lolita” effect. And don’t forget the makeup!


4. Gangnam-style

You might be sick to death of hearing Psy the South Korean popstar and his surprise hit. Still, you have to admit the man has style. And it doesn’t even take much to copy him, since most of the stuff he wears can probably be found in your closet!

There are two ways you can go about this:

1. You can copy Psy and his trademark tux
2. You can dress up as the guy in the elevator

What you’ll need:


Tuxedo top and bowtie – Most people remember him as wearing a vivid blue tux, which you are unlikely to have unless you’re color-blind or have wacky fashion taste. Thankfully, you can copy the black version he wears in the horse stall scene.

Pants – make sure they are fitted and ride above the ankles for that Gangnam-style essence.

Dress shoes – Psy actually wears white tap dancing shoes instead of the regular black. Checkered white Kickers or Vans will do.

Shades – Ditch those Ray-Bans and get a pair of classic oversized “stunna’s”. You can also use your wife’s ancient striated pair from the 80s!

gangnam 2

The Elevator Dude

Cowboy hat – It should be light brown with the chin strap hanging loose

Green shirt – The guy in the music video (a famous comedian in South Korea) actually wears a lime-green shirt that hangs loosely in the back. If you don’t have such a mullet shirt, a regular green tee will do.

Shorts – White board shorts with pink and purple decoration come closest

Mandals – A pair of gladiator thongs are perfect for a day at the beach, dancing on the elevator, or just exuding presence at a Halloween party.

Some guidelines:

Going Gangnam is all about the details. Get them wrong and you’re just another dude in a James Bond tux or a sloppily dressed tourist in board shorts.

As Psy, make sure you slick your hair back in the classic 50s style and make it shine with lots of old-fashioned pomade. The bowtie is either ridiculously small or comically large. When out on the dance floor, you can loosen your bowtie and wear the ends loosely around your neck. But NEVER ever take off those cool shades.

If you’re going as the Elevator Dude, don’t forget your necklace. This fashionable piece is widely available in South Korea. But since you’ve procrastinated too much and there’s no hope of a FedEx miracle, make your own! Draw a large anime face on cardboard and pair it with an oversized chain for instant bling.

There’s just one thing we can’t teach you however, and that’s to pack some wicked dance moves worthy of your look.


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