7 Last-Minute Costumes

Fast and fabulous costume ideas that you can pull together in no time


Just got word of an impromptu Halloween bash and need a costume for tonight? No problem. Here are seven fast and fabulous ideas that you can pull together in no time. The best part: You probably already own most of the items you'll need.

1. The Ultimate Tourist

+ enlarge image Dress up like a beautiful Miss America this halloween.

Don't be surprised if people ask, "You're not from around here, are you?" Men and women can both pull off the look of the stereotypical tourist. Just dress badly, hang a few cameras around your neck for good luck, and wander around looking confused.

What You Probably Already Have: Knee-length shorts, a shirt (logo T-shirts with the name of a city or tourist attraction, or loud tropical-inspired shirts are best), a baseball cap or straw hat, knee socks, sneakers, and sunglasses. Wear your camera around your neck and carry a large shoulder bag or backpack.

What You Might Need to Get: A fanny pack to strap around your waist, and assorted maps and guidebooks to hold or carry in your bag or backpack.

2. Miss America

Not only is this a great shortcut costume, but when else would you ever wear that old bridesmaid or prom dress again? Now's your chance to whip it out and strut your stuff. Be sure to tell everyone that you hope for world peace. Bonus points if you actually have a talent for the talent competition.

What You Probably Already Have: An old formal dress from a prom, wedding, or other affair, and high-heeled shoes.

What You Might Need to Get: A glittery tiara (you can pick one up at a party store or accessory shop) and a pageant sash. Make your own sash by cutting fabric into a long strip and writing Miss America on it in glitter. Pick up an inexpensive fresh or fake bouquet to carry.

3. The Crocodile Hunter

Want to get back to nature? Go as the fearless Crocodile Hunter -- sans the mud and life-and-death situations. You probably won't encounter much wildlife in the urban or suburban jungle, but you just never know!

What You Probably Already Have: Khaki shorts and a khaki short-sleeved button-down shirt capture the look. Pull on a pair of brown socks and ankle boots.

What You Might Need to Get: Pick up some gauze and use it to bandage your hand where a croc just "bit" you. Also, drape a plastic snake or three around your neck, or carry a stuffed crocodile.

4. A Got Milk? Ad

Here's the ultimate in easy costumes. Dress however you want, but make yourself into an instant pop culture icon by painting on the telltale milk mustache. Make a "Got Milk?" sign out of poster board and hang it around your neck.

What You Probably Already Have: Clothes -- you can wear any outfit you'd like.

What You Might Need to Get: White face paint to draw a milk mustache above your top lip, and poster board and yarn for your sign.

5. Aerobics Instructor

Get in touch with your athletic side by dressing as an aerobics instructor. Bonus: Burning a few extra calories as you show off your moves will help make up for all the Halloween candy you're going to eat!

What You Probably Already Have: Sneakers, athletic socks, sweatpants or leggings, a T-shirt and/or a sports bra.

What You Might Need to Get: A sweatband or bandanna for around your forehead, and a blow-up or plastic set of dumbbells. Scout out a curly wig and you can go as fitness guru Richard Simmons (be sure to substitute striped nylon shorts and a sleeveless shirt for the outfit above).

6. Celebrity and Paparazzi

Here's a great last-minute idea for two or more people: One of you dresses like the celebrity of your choice, all ready for the red carpet. And the others follow the celebrity around, snapping photos and yelling "Over here!" and "Look to the right!"

What You Probably Already Have: An old evening gown, high heels, and jewelry for the celeb (or a tuxedo or suit and shades if the celebrity is a man). For the paparazzi: Black pants, black shirts, and sneakers for chasing camera-shy stars.

What You Might Need to Get: Up the celeb's glamour quotient by finding a fake fur coat or wrap at a thrift store or costume shop. If the photographers don't want to use real cameras, they can buy prop cameras to shoot with.

7. Chef or Butcher

Celebrity chefs like Emeril Lagasse, Wolfgang Puck, and Rocco DiSpirito are hot right now, and you can get in on the trend this Halloween. Don't worry if your culinary skills aren't up to snuff -- looking the part is all that matters!

What You Probably Already Have: Mimic a chef's or butcher's white uniform by wearing a white shirt or jacket, white pants, and a white apron. If you're going as a chef, grab a dishtowel or two from your kitchen and tuck them into the waistband of your apron.

What You Might Need to Get: No butcher's outfit is complete without a smear of fake blood across the apron. Also, pick up a large plastic knife, some plastic meat (from a kids' kitchen set), and a paper hat. Chefs can buy a traditional chef's hat at a costume or party store. (Can't find one there? Order a disposable hat for as little as $3 at:

www.chefs-hat.com

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