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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Northwestern chapter.

The time of costumes is here! As Halloween is right around the corner, you either have your costume or don’t. You may not have a costume for a variety of reasons: procrastination, being too busy, don’t want to spend the money, or just don’t really care about costumes or the holiday. Each year, I find myself falling into one of these categories. So I always go for the last-minute costume ideas, frantically searching Google to find something I can grab from my closet to create the best costume. But each suggestion is incredibly limiting because I don’t have a red corset for a little Red Riding Hood costume or a floor-length ballgown for a princess costume (the amount of Princess Diaries costumes that are apparently built from your closet is kind of crazy). Here is a glimpse into realistically building your Halloween costume with pieces that can be found in anyone’s closet. 


This is a costume I have worn in the past and probably will continue to wear this year. Black clothing is a wardrobe staple, so it is likely almost anyone can put together an all-black outfit. Throw on a black bandana and some black combat boots and you got yourself a spy. Bonus points if you can add some leather. This is also a versatile costume that can be used for different things: a shadow (yes, someone has guessed this), a witch/warlock, a goth, a stand-up poet, or anything that wears all black, which makes it fun and easy to wear. It can also be accessorized with fun hair and makeup to use some basics to stand out. 

Wednesday Addams

Another costume that uses black clothing, but black is a staple for a reason. Especially with the rise of Wednesday, this costume will be a popular choice regardless, but it really is simple to grab from your closet. What you need: a black dress, a white collared shirt, and hair to braid. Honestly, I think it could even work with an all-black outfit, as long as you have the braids and the deadpan attitude, you’re all set!  It’s easy to do and people won’t be guessing who you are every five minutes. 

jenna ortega as wednesday

If you want to bring it back to your youth, the ghost is the original closet costume. If you want to give people a laugh, grab your sheets, cut some holes into them (or at least put some black circles on them) and you have a ghost. I think it could be really fun if you had colored sheets, you could be a colorful ghost. It’s a spirit, and depending on your thoughts not real, so this ghost can look however you want it to. And I would be surprised if this wasn’t a room staple (could even be off your bed if you have good detergent to wash them with). The classic sheet ghost is always a hit, based on my friends who have done this look; it just has an element of ridiculousness to it that brings a smile to anyone’s face. 


For a more pun-based costume, here is your option. Pun costumes are usually very easy just because it is almost always just a basic outfit with some fun accessories. To be the breadwinner, all you need is athletic clothes (could be leggings or running shorts or whatever you wish) and bread. If you want to emphasize the winner aspect of the costume, you can wear a gold necklace or put a “#1” on the bread. It may be a tad annoying to carry around bread for all your Halloweekend festivities, but it is an effortless and silly costume to throw together. 


With the cyclical nature of fashion, trends from various decades come back into style. And because of that, you likely have some pieces in your closet that could fit a specific style. 70s is a really easy one, get out your bellbottom jeans and bell sleeve tops (this could also be used for a costume from a character or person based in that era, like Daisy Jones). For the 90s/2000s, get out your lowrise and baby tees. To really make the decades aspect stick, push your outfit a bit more to the extreme with accessories, makeup, and hair to make it seem less like an outfit you’d wear in your daily life and more costume-y.  

Riley Keough and Sam Claflin in Daisy Jones and the Six
Lacey Terrell / Prime Video
risky business

This is a fun costume maybe fit for warmer climates and not cold Evanston weather, but is still a costume full of closet staples. Tom Cruise sliding in a white button-down and boxers is a classic movie moment perfect for Halloween recreation. We all have a white button-up, or honestly, any light color will do, and just pair it with some shorts, could be boxers, but if you’re not comfortable with that, do some bike shorts or any flowy short alternative. All you need to add are some sunglasses and some sliding.

parent trap

To end off the costume ideas, it is only fitting to do a group costume for your group of friends who cannot think of anything before the day of Halloween. There are plenty of options where you all wear the same thing, but what’s the fun in that? Parent Trap has plenty of costume ideas that are all relatively easy to find. For your two friends with the same hair color, they can be Hallie and Annie. Just have one friend where jeans with a flannel and the other wears a dress with a headband. Then you can have the rest of your friends dress to the family of each twin, sticking to that formula of casual compared to fancy outfits. Each of the families basically wears either jeans with flannels or a preppy dress, as long as the vibe is right that’s all that matters! 

Parent Trap Lindsay Lohan
Walt Disney Pictures
Maddie Coyle

Northwestern '26

Maddie is a freshman from Evanston, Illinois. She is majoring in Radio/TV/Film. She is incredibly passionate about all things film and television. She loves trying out new coffee shops, going on bike rides and walks, thrifting, and spending time with those she loves (her family, friends, and two adorable dogs).