15 Ways to Turn the Most Basic Pieces in Your Closet Into a Halloween Costume

If you own a black dress, a button-down, or some sweatpants, you're set.

Britney Spears shops in Calypso at the Sunset Plaza in Hollywood, California
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Well, you of course waited until the last possible second to plan your Halloween costume. That's ok — you didn't really want to wear a generic, ill-fitting bagged something anyway, and to be honest, you already know there's something, somewhere in your closet, that can quickly DIY. However, you're under pressure, and as the deadline draws nearer, the less all those random shirts and pants combos make sense.

Not to worry, though. We're here to help. Ahead, you'll find 15 super easy, last-minute Halloween costumes you can make with clothes you already own. Got a black dress? A white shirt? A robe? Then rest easy, friend, you'll be out the door before you can say boo.

Black Dress Halloween Costumes

Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany's
Donaldson Collection/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
  • Easy: A Spooky Doll — Simply layer your black dress over a long-sleeved top, pull on a pair of tights or knee-highs, and add a ribbon or headband to your hair. Play around with powdery face makeup and dark eyeshadow for a more haunted vibe.
  • Medium: Holly Golightly from Breakfast at Tiffany's — This one's been done countless times before, but it's an old reliable if you're in a jam. The only extras you'll really need are a strand of pearls and a larger barrette clip to take the place of her tiara.
  • More Involved: A Magic 8 Ball — The trickiest part of this costume is finding a way to draw the number 8 onto your look, and we recommend using pieces of masking tape. You can even hold up pieces of paper with 'fortunes' on them to drive the point home, or simply tell people to "Ask again later."

White Button-Down Halloween Costumes

Pirate with parrot searching using spyglass with white background
  • Easy: Joel Goodsen from Risky Business — Some socks and sunglasses and you're pretty much done.
  • Medium: A Scientist — That white shirt is now a lab coat, so layer it over your look before grabbing protective eyewear (glasses will do) and a serious-looking notebook for your studies.
  • More Involved: A Pirate — Style your white shirt with black or leather bottoms and slip on some boots. The part where it gets a little complicated is finding a scarf to tie around your waist or head — pirate style! — before layering on necklaces and carrying around a treasure map.

If You Have Plaid Pants or a Plaid Skirt

Whitney Peak is seen filming for 'Gossip Girl' outside the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City
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  • Easy: Someone From Gossip Girl, Rory Gilmore, or Mia Thermopolis — We're simply providing you with specifics for the inevitable "Who are you?" question, but the bottom line is to aim for school girl style. Style those plaid bottoms with a blazer and a necktie before using a piece of paper and tape to create a crest.
  • Medium: A Witch or a Vampire — Take school girl up a notch by dressing as something sinister that's pretending to be an average human. Style your skirt or pants with a dark sweatshirt, then lace up some combat boots before swiping on a darker shade of lipstick. You can also go the cutesy witch route by mixing in a colorfully-striped top or pair of tights, then top things off with a pointy hat (if you have one).
  • More Involved: A Scarecrow — All you'll need is something brown or denim up top before choosing a pair of boots. A bucket hat will pull the look together, but a few pieces of straw (or shredded paper) will be the most important part.

Robe Halloween Costumes

Scary figure in hooded cloak
  • Easy: A Wizard — Your robe is now your uniform and whatever color scarf you wear with it determines your 'house.'
  • Medium: A Ghost — It doesn't matter if it's white or even a darker (aka creepier) shade. Just use lots of dark eyeliner and you've essentially entered the spirit world.
  • More Involved: The Tooth Fairy — Some may argue that tooth fairies wear tulle skirts, but the modern-day version is all about pajamas — you're snatching up teeth while kids are sleeping, after all. It's up to you if you want your look to include wings, but you'll definitely need a tote bag to hold all those incisors.

Sweatpants Halloween Costumes

Jennifer Lopez and actor Ben Affleck hold hands while filming her music video in Beverly Hills, California
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  • Easy: An Athlete — Pretend you're heading home from the big game and throw on a sports bra, a tank top, or a T-shirt along with a bulky gym bag. Team hats, boxing gloves, a bat, or a ball will provide an extra hint but aren't totally necessary.
  • Medium: An Early '00s Celebrity — Celebrities loved dressing up their sweats back in the day, so style your loungewear with costume jewelry, a white or graphic tee, and a monogrammed purse. Some large-framed shades won't hurt, either.
  • More Involved: A Stick Figure — Remember that aforementioned masking tape? Use it to draw a stick figure on top of your sweatsuit. It's a bit like a skeleton costume but lazier.
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