How To Make A Halloween Costume Out Of Things You Already Own

Is there anything scarier than arriving at a Halloween party, fabulous and ready to get your spook on, only to spot 12 other undead Lady Gagas wandering the grounds? The very thought is enough to keep any Halloween-lover awake at night, but there are plenty of creative Halloween costume ideas you can make yourself without resorting to the philosophy of Mean Girls. Obviously, if the old lingerie-plus-animal-ears combo works for you, go for it. But movie has been out since 2004, so if you're going for a unique costume, you might want to find inspiration elsewhere.

Halloween is literally thousands of years old, dating back to the Celtic tradition Samhain. Back in the day, it was believed that the holiday was a time when the dead could mingle with the living. Eventually, Christian missionaries came along to replace Samhain with All Saints Day, also known as All Hallows' Day. Many of the old traditions still persist today, from bobbing for apples to wearing frightening costumes.

The amount of terror you want to inspire is up to you, so the following list of DIY costumes ranges from the adorable to the pants-wettingly spooky. What isn't scary, though, is the budget — each can be made from things that are already in your closet.


Cracked Porcelain Doll

Everyone, regardless of gender, dresses up as a Barbie doll at some point. It's practically a rite of passage. Make your toy-inspired ensemble more unique by going as a porcelain doll whose face is cracked after being cruelly abandoned by your owner. Start with a creepy doll makeup tutorial, then add some tattered stockings, a hair bow, and a vintage dress or nightgown.

Funtasama Victorian 35, $46,; SHIFT Lace Medallion Dress, $28, Macy's; Velvet Bow Hair Barrette, $3, Forever 21; Monsunx Overknee Thigh High Socks, $4, Amazon



If your closet is a blinding rainbow of color, a piñata is the perfect costume. Just leave the baseball bat at home, so people don't have the chance to get carried away. Glue two party hats to a headband to mimic donkey ears, and carry tons of candy to give away.

Rainbow Strip Offshoulder Dress, $20, Shein; Hue Super Opaque Tights, $15, Lord and Taylor; Celebrate Shop Party Hats, $9, Macy's; 36 Pack Plain with Teeth Plastic Headbands, $10, Amazon


Manic Pixie Dream Girl

If you haven't heard of the Manic Pixie Dream Girl (MPDG) trope yet, I'll allow TV Tropes to explain. According to the website, an MPDG is "stunningly attractive, high on life, full of wacky quirks and idiosyncrasies," and perhaps most importantly, "inexplicably obsessed with our stuffed-shirt hero." But by God, they have an excellent sense of style, so you might as well dress up as one.

Madden Girl Written Platform Oxfords, $49, Macy's; Topshop Contrast Stitch Short Overalls, $27, Nordstrom Rack; Cream Floral Print Crop Top, $30, River Island; Oval and Done With Clear Glasses, $20, Nasty Gal; Contrast Band Braided Beach Hat, $9, Romwe; Urbanears Caribbean Headphones, $30, Saks Off Fifth


Clark Kent

Grab a notebook and your best suit, because you're going as Clark Kent, Superman's soft-spoken alter ego. Start practicing your best slouch now.

INC Slim Fit Blazer, $49, Macy's; Men's Silk Cotton Stripe Necktie, $50, Land's End; Nautica White Dress Shirt, $17, Century 21; Retro Nerd Clear Lens Eye Glasses, $8, Amazon; Shinola Black Hardcover Notebook, $18, Zady


Unicorn Frappuccino

While dressing as a unicorn alone isn't particularly creative, the Unicorn Frappuccino is an entirely different story. You'll probably have to hit up the store to make the horn, but otherwise, it's an easy costume with a big impact. Start with a DIY unicorn costume and glue a gian Starbucks logo to the stomach of your costume. For verisimilitude, pretend to get everyone's name wrong all night.

Long 26 Inch Pastel Rainbow Wig with Bangs, $50, Etsy; Unicorn Headband, $20; Crop Roll Back Shirt, $16, Topshop; Simplicity Layered Tulle Skirt, $20, Amazon; Starbucks Reusable Travel Cup, $7, Amazon; Women's Scoop Tee, $25,



Scooby Doo's Velma is classic costume for a reason, and that reason is that Scooby Doo costumes are super easy. If you can find a Scooby Doo stuffed animal in your closet, all the better.

Turtleneck Slim Sweater, $27, Zaful; Basic Solid Skater Skirt, $9, Amazon; COUVER Knee High Softball Socks, $7.45, Amazon; Stylish Rounded Reading Glasses, $42, Trouva


Bottle of Sriracha

Do you have a Sriracha shirt stuffed in the back of your closet? Your costume barely requires any effort. Add a green beanie, and you're all set.

Sriracha Logo Tee, $20, Kohl's; Enimay Solid Knit Cap, $4, Amazon


Frida Kahlo

Who wouldn't want to pay tribute to one of the most influential Mexican painters of the 20th century? Emphasis your eyebrows and wear plenty of floral.

Floral Print High Waist Sleeveless Dress, $24, Rosewe; LYZA Double Embroidery Applique Shawl, $12; Floral Rose Headpiece, $9, Amazon; NYX Push Up Bra for Your Eyebrow, $10, Macy's


Holly Golightly's Pajamas

Little black dresses are appropriate for every occasion, but for a more unique approach to a Breakfast at Tiffany's costume, skip the dress. Instead, look to the scene where Holly Golightly wears pajamas.

Black Satin Sleep Mask, $13, Etsy; Fitted Twill Tuxedo Shirt, $42, Express; Swarovski Chandelier Earrings, $50;


Cat Burglar

Make the traditional cat costume punny by going as a cat burglar. (In case you're wondering, it apparently refers to thieves that enter buildings by scaling the outside. The more you know.) To really get your point across, throw on some cat Halloween makeup.

Madewell High Rise Knit Leggings, $35; Drop Shoulder Drawstring Hoodie; Cat Ear Knit Beanie, $7, Forever 21; Free Press Velvet Gloves, $13, Nordstrom Rack


Carmen Sandiego

You don't have to be a '90s kid to dress as Carmen Sandiego, but it certainly helps.

Kenneth Cole New York Trenchcoat, $42, Thred Up; Free Press Velvet Gloves, $13, Nordstrom Rack; Lace Up Black Heeled Boots, $44, SheIn; Scala Wool Floppy Hat, $36, Nordstrom Rack


Aunt Flo

If you're prepared to spend all night confronting menstrual stigma, you can dress up as the sometimes-welcome yet ever-annoying Aunt Flo. Carry a calendar with one week marked off in red marker, and wear the bikini bottoms on the outside.

Jersey Basic Leggings, $9,; Scoopneck Tee, $22, Gap; High Leg Bikini Bottom, $15, Hollister


Ms. Frizzle

Everyone has a favorite episode of The Magic School Bus. Pick yours, grab a dress, and sew on the appropriate scientific decorations; Ms. Frizzle's dress sometimes varied with the episode. You can find plenty of space-related patches on Etsy.

Nina Leonard Cinched Waist Shirtdress, $34, Kohl's; Moon and Star Earring Pack, $5, Choies; Galaxy Tights, $27, Etsy; Stuffed Chameleon Cuddlekin, $9,


Bonnie and Clyde

If your style tends toward the retro anyway, lean into it and dress as the famous bank robbers, Bonnie and Clyde.

Bonnie: Camel Wrap Front Midi Pencil Skirt, $15, Choies; Beret Hat, $19, Venus; Fine-Knit Sweater, $20, H&M; Echo Silk Scarf, $13, Thred Up

Clyde: Calvin Klein Woven Wool Fedora, $35, Saks Fifth Avenue; Blue Wool Skinny Fit Three Piece Suit, $407, Topman


Thelma And Louise

For a more girl-power couple costume, dress up as two of the most badass best friends of all time: Thelma and Louise.

Thelma: Light Wash Destroyed Jeans, $21, SheIn; Poison Crochet-Back Graphic Tank Top, $7, Macy's; Sun Black Sunglasses, $41, Trouva

Louise: Grosgrain Crop Tank Top, $12, Sans Souci; Straw Cowboy Hat, $17, Shelpers; Paisley Print Bandana, $4, SheIn; Skinny Regular Jeans, $30, H&M



You'll have to buy some snakes to pin in your hair for this one, but Medusa is just about as empowering as it gets.

Dolce Vita Honor Toga Shift Dress, $32, Bluefly; Crystal Caged Snake Bracelet, $4, Charlotte Russe; Mystic Baroque Snake Earrings, $28, Betsey Johnson; Untold Sun Sandals, $31, Billabong


Pop Art

Makeup pros, this one is for you. Rustle up a pop art makeup tutorial, and prepare to amaze everyone with your cosmetic skills.

Vintage Floral Prom Swing Dress, $21, Rosegal; Mary Jane Chunky Block Heel Pump, $26, Amazon; Lime Crime Red Velvetine Liquid Lipstick, $20, Dollskill


Lara Croft

Spend your Halloween raiding the decorative tombs as Lara Croft.

Kalley Cargo Pants, $30, Fashion Nova; Luann Turtleneck Crop Top, $12, WearAll; Zigi Rock & Candy Combat Booties, $34, Macy's; Red Rock Drop Leg Holster, $25, JCPenney


Human Ariel

Instead of tottering around in a mermaid tail this year, repurpose your old Ariel wig and dress as the Little Mermaid right after she washed up onshore. All you'll need is the wig and a tan bed sheet, tied like a toga and cinched at the waist with "rope."

Red Middle Part Cosplay Wig, $29, Maykool; Outlast Sheet Set, $150, JCPenney; Ralph Lauren Braided Leather Stretch Belt, $41, Macy's


Bob Ross

After Netflix began streaming Bob Ross shows, there's been a resurgence in interest in the beloved painter. You'll never run out of small talk this Halloween if you memorize the tidbits of wisdom he used to dole out on his show.

Vintage High Cropped Jeans, $40, H&M; Diamond Dress Shirt, $42, Express; 2" Brush, $7, Popmap; Palette Brooch, $13, Trouva


Cat Lady (Or Gent)

The crazy cat lady stereotype may be sexist, but it's also immediately recognizable. Most importantly, it's the comfiest costume on this list. To really drive it home, smear your makeup a bit and carry around a basket of kitten plush toys.

Fleece House Coat, $46, Walmart; Pretty Kitty Slipper, $7, Century 21; Plush Cat by Aurora, $9,; Metal Cat Eye Glasses, $14, Sunglasses.LA