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40 Upcycled Halloween Costume Ideas Using Items in Your Closet!

It’s everyone’s favorite spooky season! Costumes, treats, pumpkins, scary movies, what could be better? The part of Halloween that might be the scariest is the waste (we can all be guilty of it). Candy wrappers, paper and plastic decorations, synthetic costumes you'll never wear again.... there has to be a better way, right? We are here to bring you some easy and cheap costume ideas to help spark your imagination and get you feeling crafty. After all the cheapest costume you have is what you already own!

And we know what you might be thinking, "Are you going to require me to have a stocked craft room to get something elaborate fashioned just for a few hours of trick-or-treating?" If you (like most of us) aren't a full time lifestyle blogger and feel overwhelmed by DIY Halloween costume ideas, you're in luck. This list, while bountiful, should simplify things for you as almost everything you need to make this year's spooky outfit is right in your closet! 

 

dropps bandit costume easy halloween ideas

Image via  Instagram user sarahshermansamuel

1. Bandit

Freeze! Snag a black-and-white shirt, black gloves, black face paint or costume masks, and use a fabric marker to draw a dollar sign on a pillow case to serve as your money bag!

2. Jellyfish

Pink and ethereal, these little sea creatures are easy to emulate with a little clever crafting. Attach string, ribbon, or any kind of fabric to a clear or bubble umbrella for this fun & easy look!

3. Zombie

Undead, but the life of the party. Rip up some old tee shirts, distress with dirt or beetroot, and use some face paint to become the walking dead. Mumble your words all evening and you'll really sell the look!

scarecrow diy halloween costume

Image via Crafty Bridge

4. Scarecrow

There's a reason this one is a classic. It's easy peasy! Flannel, jeans, straw sticking out of your clothes, and more face paint. You're all set.

5. Knight in Shining Armor

Cardboard and tin foil can work wonders! Let the kids help craft this one together for family fun leading up to the holiday.

6. Fortune Teller

Grab your favorite hoop earrings, head scarf, and a flower skirt. If you've got your own tarot deck, you can bring that along and give people readings! 

7. Wednesday Addams from The Addams Family

Any black dress with a white collar can quickly pass as a Wednesday costume once you pair it with braided pigtails and a tight-lipped smile!

pantone card costume diy

Image via Best Products

8. Pantone Color Card

Fun and easy, this is a timeless last-minute Halloween costume that is in your closet already. Gather items of the same color and print out a mock Pantone label to pin somewhere on clothes. 

9. Cactus

This one will definitely give your friends a chuckle. Dress in all green and add fake flowers (you can use colored paper to cut some if you don’t have any!) and transform into a cactus. Cut little strips of white paper to make the prickles.

10. Georgie from It

Rest In Peace, little friend. If you’ve got a yellow rain poncho (or coat) and can grab a red balloon and paper boat, you’ll pull this look off in no time. Watch your step as you walk past any storm drains, though! 

11. The Brawny Man/Luke from Gilmore Girls

Jeans and a red flannel shirt double for two characters: carry around paper towels with you and you’re the brawny man! Add a backwards baseball cap, a notepad, and a coffee pot and you’re Luke Danes, ready to take an order at the diner! 

Image via Good Housekeeping

12. “404 Error” Message

This one’s for the lazy folks with a sense of humor. Give your friends the gift of an eye roll and a laugh by donning a white shirt with “404 error: Costume not found” written on it with a sharpie.

13. Sandy from Grease

All you need is a black off-the-shoulder top, black form-fitting pants or leggings, and a pair of red heels. It is always a crowd pleaser, always a good time! And of course, the best accessory for this one is some killer dance moves. 

14. Victorian ghost

Want to be super spooky, but with a vintage twist? Grab your favorite white dress (we won’t frown upon a wedding dress) and distress it (or not!). Whiten out your face and arms and go give the town a fright!

15. Where’s Waldo

This one is for the attention seeker. What better way to get everyone to look at you at the party than to dress up as Waldo? They’ll be searching for you all night. A red striped shirt, black pants, and black glasses and you’re set!

Image via West Acres

16. Elle Woods

What, like dressing up is hard? If you own a fair amount of pink in your closet you can piece this costume together in no time! Make an all pink ensemble and add a bouncy blonde wig. If you happen to have a little dog to really round out the costume, bring them along too! 

17. Ruth Bater Ginsburg 

Pay homage to the late trailblazing Supreme Court justice by putting your hair into a low bun, wearing a black outfit with a lacy white collar, and adding a pair of glasses.

18. Minion From Despicable Me

Aren’t these guys the cutest? We love this one if you need something warmer to wear for the night because a yellow sweatshirt, a pair of overalls, and a pair of glasses, is all you need! 

19. The Umbrella Bat

Everyone has a half-broken umbrella laying around somewhere that took a hit in the last big storm. Grab that from the garage, remove the spokes, cut the fabric in half, and attach one side to your arms or a black hoodie to create a bat effect. All black outfit and bat wings. Done!

Image via Pop Sugar

20. Frida Kahlo

No need to pluck your eyebrows before doing this one! Frida’s unibrow is iconic, and if you can pencil one in, pull your hair up in braids and a flower crown, and we are your most fabulous florals and funky earrings, everyone will be truly inspired! 

21. Morton’s Salt Girl

How cute is the famous girl on the salt shaker? (If you don’t know who we’re talking about, just go look at the salt box in your pantry!) To pull off her look, you’ll need a yellow dress, white tights, salt and umbrella.

22. Flight Attendant

This outfit will take you sky high! All you have to wear is a navy or red skirt, white blouse and printed scarf. Carry around a small suitcase with you too to hold all your candy in! Voila!

23. Harley Quinn from Suicide Squad

With the new movie out, this will surely be a popular one this year. Pull off this mod super villain look with stuff you (or a friend) already has. Wear a bomber jacket and fishnet tights, with you blue and pink hair (that you’ll have to pick up some dye for) in pigtails. 

Image via Country Living Magazine

24. Audrey Hepburn

The little black dress isn’t just great for cocktail parties. It can be worn with pearls, a tiara, and long cigarette and instantly infuse you with all the charm and elegance of Breakfast at Tiffany’s leading lady. Extra bonus points for the pet owner again: bring along your cat!

25. White Rabbit from Alice in Wonderland

A timeless costume, really. You’ll need a red blazer, pocket watch or clock and a white dress or all white outfit! White shoes and a bow tie complete the look, with bunny ears being a bonus if you happen to have some!

26. Darla from Finding Nemo

Our favorite cringey teen! Though you may only be scaring fish with this costume, it’s oh so fun. Throw on a sweatshirt (in purple, if you have it), put your hair in pigtails, and a wire hanger for your “headgear.” If you want to really sell it you could bring along a plastic bag with a plastic fish and water inside. Poor Nemo! 

27. Rosie the Riveter

Girls! They run the world! This costume is a repeat for a reason. It’s easy and empowering! To emulate Rosie you just need to rock that denim on denim, boots, and a red bandana. 

Image via Country Living Magazine

28. Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz

There’s no place like home, there’s no place like home! And in your home, you most likely have a few things you can pull together to dress like this yellow brick queen. Wear any blue dress, white shirt, red shoes, braids and a carry your candy in a picnic basket.

29. Eleven from Stranger Things

This show continues to be on our minds because it’s spooky, nostalgic, and all the things we love. To dress up as this psychic friend you’ll need a pink dress, knee-high socks, blue coat, Eggo waffles and a fake bloody nose.

30. Remote Co-Worker

A truly 2021 appropriate costume. Poke fun at yourself and your coworker by dressing for a Zoom call with this costume. Wear a button-down shirt, tie, pajama pants, and slippers. Business on the top, casual on the bottom!

31. Strawberry

Nothing wrong with being a little fruity! And this costume is berry easy to execute. (See what we did?) You need a red dress, green paper (for the stem), and white paper cut out for the seeds.

Image via Instructables

32. Gumball Machine

An idea that’s as sweet as you are. You might need to run to the craft store for this one but it should be quick to assemble! Grab your glue gun and multi-colored pom poms to fashion a top and wear a red skirt for an easy DIY gumball machine outfit!

33. 101 Dalmatians

Looking for a fun and easy group costume? is easy enough to make! Take any all white outfit and add spots to it with a black marker and pick up some face paint for putting spot on your face!

34.  Arthur and D.W.

 A sweet and classic pair from one of our favorite childhood tv shows. Dress up as either one of these cartoon favorites with either a yellow sweater, or a pink dress with a white shirt underneath.

35. Mary Poppins

A bag full of sugar helps the medicine go down, right? Gather together a dark skirt, white top, red bowtie and hat. For your main accessory carry around an umbrella and pull out your best British accent.

36. Wayne's World 

The dynamic duo! With a black T-shirt, a black baseball cap, a blue plaid shirt, a printed white T-shirt, and ripped light-wash jeans, one blonde and one brunette can make this couple’s costume in no time. Wicked!

Image via Insider

37. Queen of Hearts

Terrify everyone at your party, buy bursting through the door exclaiming "OFF WITH THEIR HEADS!" A red or black dress, heart-shaped accessories, two decks of playing cards, a stapler, and some bobby pins can make this look completely come to life!

38. Rainbow

There'll always be a rainbow at the end of any storm. And whether your Halloween is stormy or not, this costume is so fun! Wear a rainbow striped shirt, and color a cute rainbow to attach to a headband! 

39. Picnic

Turn your favorite spring activity into a fantastic outfit. Deck yourself out in gingham, print a few pictures of various foods, and tape them to you for a clever look!

40. Mario

Go get those red mushrooms, superstar! All you’ll need is a rat hat, red shirt, overalls, red Converse sneaks and a fake mustache. Maybe with some convincing your sibling will dress up as Luigi to match!

 

Another great idea is to host a small costume swap in your neighborhood! If you’ve got costumes you’ve loved in years past, or are looking for something new in short notice, check in with those nearby to see what you can share. Save this list, and any others that inspire you for last minute Halloween costume ideas so you never have to purchase one again! However you might be celebrating this year, we wish you and yours a safe and joyful spooky season.

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