Easy last minute Halloween costumes with clothes from your closet blog graphic

With Halloween flying towards us, it’s time for our annual personal-style-does-Halloween post! Need ideas for easy, last minute, Halloween costumes with clothes from your closet? Let’s go! 

If you didn’t already know, I have a degree and background in costume design for theater so have always loved pulling together a good costume (but don’t always love wearing a costume – because I am not someone who looks good while being uncomfortable). My Halloween costumes have always prioritized comfort and that usually means coming up with Halloween costumes I can make with clothes from my closet. 

In previous years we’ve covered keys to a comfortable costume. This year we’ll focus on using outfit recipes to build your costume so you can start pulling items from your closet. (Combine the two for maximum costume comfort.) 

You still might need one or two items to complete your costume, but with a little creativity and some simple outfit recipes you can build most of your costume with clothes from your closet.

But first, what is an outfit recipe?

Outfit recipes are like cooking recipes for your closet. I first started using the concept when building custom “look books” (aka pre-styled outfits) for clients. 

For example: I’d tell a client: graphic tee + blazer + jeans + flats + glasses = geek chic everyday work look that is comfortable enough to wear all day and polished enough to hop on last minute client calls in. Here are the clothes in your closet, the clothes you’ve had your eye on, and the clothes we’ve found together that work within this outfit recipe. 

Then when I was working on the bodycon outfits ebook, and getting lots of questions about styling bodycon dresses, I wanted to give style inspiration without you having to buy every item I use as an example to get the look you want. So I turned to outfit recipes again, and BODYCON! Outfit Recipes for Bodycon Dresses was born. 

But the concept of outfit recipes can be applied to so much more than just custom styled looks and bodycon dress outfits. 

In this post we’ll be applying the concept of outfit recipes to Halloween costumes. 

Using outfit recipes to build fast and easy Halloween costumes with clothes from your closet

For these costumes, I’ve stuck to fairly generic characters, but you can also use these outfit recipes as bases for more specific characters. Just add the character’s personal style to your costume. 

These costumes each have one key item that the rest of the outfit recipe is built around. Let’s start with some straightforward examples. 

Got a witches hat? 

A witch as a Halloween costume isn’t boring, it’s a classic. And it’s extremely versatile

  • Witch’s hat + long robe + scraggly wig = classic witch (good for practically any occasion) 
  • Witch’s hat + short robe + sky high heels = sexy party witch
  • Witch’s hat + floor length leather jacket + grunge layers = witch in the Matrix
  • Witch’s hat + cozy clothes + house socks = cozy witch ready to hand out candy
  • Witch’s hat + whatever else you please = modern witch because #realwitchlife

Got fangs? Become a vampire! 

  • Fangs + black slacks + red shirt + cape (optional) + widow’s peak (optional) = classic camp vamp
  • Fangs + black dress + sky high heels = other camp vamp
  • Fangs + leather + silk = Spike and/or Angle 
  • Fangs + gothic dress = Drusilla 
  • Fangs + modern clothes = modern vampire 

Got wings? 

  • White feather wings + white robe or suit  + halo = angle
  • White feather wings + white dress or suit or pants and shirt + beak = dove
  • Bat wings + black and/or red clothing = demon 
  • Bat wings + black clothing = bat
  • Dragon or bat wings + lizard tail (optional but very helpful) + talons (also optional) + any colored clothing = dragon
  • Butterfly wings + any color clothing = butterfly 

Any other kind of wing? Let them do the heavy lifting – embrace the color and go all in. If no character come to mind, call your costume idea a monster and have fun.

Got ears? 

Cat ears? Elf ears? Antenna? Run with it! Like wings, ears can do a lot for a costume. 

  • Cat ears + black clothes + eyeliner whiskers = cat
  • Elf ears + gown or robe = high fantasy elf
  • Elf ears + modern clothes = urban/modern fantasy elf
  • Antenna + shiny clothes = insect or monster (costumer’s choice)

Got a cape/cloak? 

Be practically anybody in Lord of the Rings, or any other fantasy franchise. As Lane says “There’s 4,000 people in that movie who wear capes – you can’t pick one?”

There you have it! Some straightforward, easy, last minute costumes with clothes from your closet. You may need to pick up something to complete your costume but your closet and these outfit recipes should get you 90% of the way there.