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10 Costumes You Can Make With Items You Already Own

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at VCU chapter.

No need to panic this year. Here are 10 costumes you can make with items you already own ranked by how much time they take to put together, starting with the longest. Whether you still have a couple of days or need a look you can throw together minutes before running out the door, we’ve got you covered.


If you’re down to go the DIY route, try making your own mummy costume (or parts of your costume) out of torn T-shirts. By cutting up a stretchy cotton T-shirt into strips and tying them together, you can wrap them around yourself to create your own custom look from a crop top and skirt to a dress for more coverage.


This costume is so great because there are many ways to channel the 70s, but this one may take a bit of planning and borrowing. Any combination of tie-dye, flare pants, butterfly sleeves, or fringe will send retro signals. Accessorizing is key with this look — think headbands, jewelry, fun nails, and even shades.


All you need to nail this look is anything in animal print. Go head to toe in one print or mix prints for a bolder look. If you only have one item in a print, pair it with a neutral or skin-toned top. To amp up the wild, add braids and tease your hair. Have fun with warrior face paint and pair the fit with accessories like beaded bracelets to complete the look.


Want something out of this world? Run to your closet and grab anything sparkly or holographic to transport to outer space. If you have any festival wear you could use, think of anything with neon green or trippy prints. Top it off with 2014 Tumblr-era space buns and your wildest makeup to finish it off. And if you happen to have something galaxy print at the back of your closet, you might get away with wearing the print for one night.


The schoolgirl costume is done every year but never gets old. All you need is a flirty skirt and pigtails to nail this look. Although a tied dress shirt and plaid skirt mimic a uniform the best, you can make it work without those items. Don’t have a plaid skirt? Rock a tennis skirt instead. If you’re missing a dress shirt, a simple solid crop top or long sleeve will look just as cute.

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Throw on a flannel with shorts or overalls to dress up as a scarecrow this year. Pairing with socks or thigh-high boots adds an extra touch of pumpkin patch vibes to the whole outfit. Makeup is key with this look, so use face paint or eyeliner to draw on your scarecrow characteristics. Complete the costume with a hat and pigtail braids to bring it home.


A leather jacket is all you need to find to create this costume. Throw the jacket over an all-black look to go full greaser. If you don’t have anything else black, a white tee and jeans will still look edgy, especially if the jeans are distressed. Lastly, use a scarf for a headband or necktie to fully take the outfit back in time. 


What’s more eye-catching than a devil in a red dress? This simple but bold look is hard to top. If you own a red dress, pair it with red accessories and super contoured makeup for a total devilish look even without the horns. If you don’t own a red dress, you can still replicate this look. Pair anything you own in red and black together — think leather, lace, and latex.

Devil halloween costume
Original photo by Alia Davis
risky business

Channel Tom Cruise’s iconic look using items you can borrow from the friends you have on speed dial. All you need is a big men’s shirt, shorts or a skirt to go underneath, tall socks, and shades. If you want a little more coverage, add leggings underneath or if you want a little less, fishnets can stand in instead.


Lastly, all you need for this costume is something we all own—an all-white outfit. Whether it’s a crop top and summer shorts or a lacey dress, anything will work with a bit of styling. Even though this is one of the most common costumes, you can make it your own with personal touches such as dewy makeup, body glitter and long lashes to complete your angelic look.

If your outfit still looks a little too simple for your taste, grab fake blood on the way to your Halloween festivities to automatically add that super spooky final touch.

Taya Coates is a senior studying fashion merchandising and minoring in journalism. She hopes to pursue a career as a fashion editor and eventually start her own publication. She is passionate about covering stories on style, social activism, and culture.