Halloween for dummies: Five easy costumes

A friendly trick or treater waves from under a simple but iconic costume: the bedsheet ghost. Photo courtesy of Tandem X Visuals on Unsplash.

REECE BUTLER | OPINION COLUMNIST | rmbutler@butler.edu

It’s that time of year again: the leaves are turning, the air is cooling to a distinctly crisp temperature and — most importantly — Halloween is nearly upon us. Now, for those of you who have not already dropped an obscene amount of money at Spirit Halloween, this is your formal notice that you’re running out of time. However, there’s no need to fear, as I have selflessly curated a master list of the best low-effort, costless costumes you can effortlessly pull together for the best night of the year.

Category one: Something spooky

Halloween is objectively the only time of the year in which you can dress monstrously without excessive judgement, so my first suggestion takes advantage of that factor — try out a low-effort ghost, mummy or vampire. The ghost is an undeniable classic and literally just calls for a bed sheet — preferably but not necessarily white. 

The mummy is a bit riskier, as your roommates may hate you a little bit for it, but many would argue that the multiple rolls of toilet paper required to achieve this timeless look are not necessarily wasteful if you still use them for their intended purpose after your night out. 

Finally, the vampire just takes a little bit of carefully placed red lipstick, liquid eyeshadow, face paint, etc., some black clothing and a bit of convincing when people ask you what your costume is.

Category two: 2000s Disney channel

This costume offers you the opportunity to not only pull from your closet, but arguably to use your entire closet. With inspiration drawn from the fashion icons of such classics as “Hannah Montana” and “Shake it Up,” the 2000s Disney channel character combines every pattern, accessory and color you can think of. If Googling these trends still isn’t enough inspiration, might I suggest combining a shirt, cardigan and inexplicably long tank top with leggings and a pair of khaki shorts?

Category three: Low-effort characters

If you’re not in love with the first two options and are partial to deceptively intentional-looking costumes, there’s always your classic low effort characters. This particular brand of costume does need some specific wardrobe pieces, but the good news is that there are a plethora of different fall back characters for even the laziest of the Halloween crowd. Just to name a few: Kim Possible, Wednesday Addams, any main character from the Mystery Gang or “Men in Black,” and — of course —  a minion

While these options will appear well thought out to the casual observer, they’re actually super easy to throw together with a few key items that you probably already own. For reference: black shirt and green pants, black dress and pigtail braids, any clothing that fits with the general color schemes of “Scooby Doo” characters, a full black suit and sunglasses, and overalls with a yellow shirt.

Category four: Party themes

What’s better than reusing old themes from other parties to create low effort costumes? Nothing. Nothing is better. Whether you’re reminiscing on the last frat party you attended or your high school student section’s weekly themes, there are tons of easy choices to adapt into Halloween costumes. For instance, a quick fib scribbled in Sharpie on a white t-shirt transforms you into a white lie. Likewise, a fanny pack, visor and Hawaiian shirt makes the perfect tourist and a jersey, athletic shorts and running shoes combination — no matter how frequently you wear it — still counts as dressing up as an athlete.

Category number five: The nondescript hot person

We’ve all seen it. And while it is a pet peeve to Halloween-lovers everywhere, the nondescript hot person is a shockingly affordable option. For the nondescript hot person, you simply dress to the nines and invite strangers to guess what celebrity you bear a passing resemblance to until you find a frequent enough answer to start confidently stating that this was, in fact, your intent all along. The nondescript hot person does take a bit of confidence and lots of awkward silence as the guesser attempts to find a single defining characteristic to guess off of, but it’s still relatively doable. 

And though none of these outfits will win you any awards, your bare minimum participation is sure to earn you the right to make fun of even less prepared individuals for the duration of your party of choice.


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