Last-minute Halloween costumes for students on a budget


With Halloween around the corner, you may be realizing that your time to find the perfect costume is running out. Maybe you still aren’t sure who or what you want to dress up as, or you’re realizing the key prop you ordered online won’t arrive on time.

Here are a few easy costumes you can build from the pieces already in your wardrobe:


Also known as “white dad at a barbecue,” this costume works well individually or as an ensemble. For this costume, wear a Hawaiian shirt (the louder the better), socks, sandals and a hat (ideally of the bucket variety). If you want, you can add a camera, binoculars, sunglasses or a fanny pack to the outfit too. One more tip: put some sunscreen or white face paint on the bridge of your nose.

Formal apology 

If you want a chance to look fancy, this costume is perfect. Just dress as formally as you can and stick a piece of paper with the word “sorry” somewhere on your outfit.  Want to make it a group look? Have a friend go as an “informal apology” — same idea, but with a sweatsuit instead of a regular suit (or dress). 

Freudian slip 

For this costume, wear a slip dress and stick pieces of paper with Freudian or other psychology terms over your outfit. You can add fake facial hair if you have some on hand, though it’s not necessary. 

When life gives you lemons

Have a lot of lemons lying around? If, for some reason, you do, dress up as “life” (either the boardgame or yourself with the word “life” stuck to your outfit) and hand them out. This is a great option for punny people, especially those with a fondness of citrus fruits. 

Party animal 

Animal costumes are fun, but undeniably a bit overdone. You can always go as a more unique animal – a worm, for example – but if you want to reuse an old costume in a new way, add some party paraphernalia, like a party hat and a feather boa, to achieve this look. This costume works well individually or in groups. 

Sick person 

This one’s easy. Just wear your pyjamas and add a bit of blush to your cheeks and nose. You can also use accessories like a box of tissues, a blanket or a stuffed animal to round out your look. If you have long hair, you can stick a thermometer into a bun (or just tuck one behind your ear) for a nice last-touch. 

Spoiled milk 

For this costume, you’ll want to dress fancy and in all-white. Add a piece of paper with the word “milk” somewhere on the look, and you’re good to go. You can also add a tiara or another signifier of wealth (and being stuck up about it). 


This is another punny idea, and one you can execute in a couple different ways. The first option is to dress as a cat — all black with some whiskers drawn on and maybe a pair of ears — and copy what people do or say all night. If you’re worried about annoying your friends, swap out the repetition for a piece of paper that says CTRL + V (or Command + V for you Apple users). 

If none of these ideas interest you, consider dressing as a character in your favourite book, movie, or TV show. You can also go as a high school stereotype, whether it’s a nerd with tape around their glasses, a gamer with headphones and an old hoodie or something else. 

Your options are truly unlimited.