It’s that time of year again—time to scramble and throw together a last-minute Halloween costume with little-to-no budget. Sound like your current situation? I’ve got you covered. Below, I have included a shortlist of easy-to-DIY, broke-college-student-budget-friendly costumes for you to choose from for this year’s Halloweekend celebrations. Also, if you’re in a major time crunch: you can create most of these costumes in an hour or less!

For your convenience, I’ve separated the costumes into easy-to-navigate categories:

  • Pop Culture/ Tiktok-inspired costumes.
  • Classic costumes.
  • Partner costumes.
  • Group costumes.

The costume ideas listed below cover a range of topics and categories and can all be adapted to best suit your preferences, so make sure to read to the end of the article before choosing your costume— there’s something for everyone!

Pop Culture/ TikTok-inspired Costumes

“Squid Game” contestant

Required items:

  • Green jumpsuit or matching sweat set
  • White undershirt
  • Cutout of a 3-digit number between 001-456
  • Safety pin

Berries and Cream “Little Lad”

Required items:

  • Collared shirt
  • Sweater
  • Leggings/ tight pants
  • Tall socks
  • Memorized “little lad dance” and berries and cream song

Optional items:

  • Bob with bangs wig
  • A bowl of berries and cream
  • Loafers

“Jeffrey Bezos” (from the TikTok audio, “Bezos I” by Bo Burnham)

Required items:

  • Bald cap
  • Jeans
  • Modest button-up

“Good Soup”

Required items:

  • A can of soup

Met Gala

Required items:

  • Vary depending on who you decide to emulate.

I recommend choosing the celebrity whose outfit you can replicate the easiest using your closet.

If you’re stuck, buy a black morph suit, black skirt and cape and go as Kim Kardashian from the Met Gala OR buy a gold jumpsuit and gold accessories and go as Lil Nas X (bonus points if you buy plastic gold armor and a gold cape that you can remove in layers as the night goes on).

Classic Costumes


Required items:

  • Red lipstick and/or fake blood
  • Makeup to make your face look lifeless
  • All black outfit
  • Fake vampire teeth

Optional items:

  • Something with frills or lace
  • Red-jeweled accessories


Required items:

  • Lifeguard one-piece/ tank top/ t-shirt
  • Sunglasses

Optional items:

  • Whistle
  • Zinc/ white face paint for your nose


Required items:

  • Loose athletic shorts
  • Short robe

Optional items:

  • Boxing gloves
  • Mouthguard

Animal of your choosing

Required items:

  • Animal ears

Optional items:

  • Face makeup inspired by your chosen animal
  • Animal print clothing/ fake fur

Partner costumes

Each other

Required items:

  • An outfit from or inspired by your partner’s closet

Gardener and flower

Gardener required items:

  • Watering bucket
  • Sun hat
  • Outdoor work clothes (the more dirt on them, the better)

Optional Gardener items:

  • Gardening apron
  • Gardening gloves

Flower required items:

  • Fake flowers
  • Safety pins

Optional Flower items:

  • Green outfit
  • Flower-themed accessories

The Great British Baking Show (multiple options here)

Prue Leith and Paul Hollywood

  • Prue Leith items:
      • Sliver hair spray or short silver wig
      • Glasses with bright frames or a funky shape
      • Chunky, brightly-colored necklace
      • Brightly-colored or funky-patterned top
    • Paul Hollywood items:
      • Blue contacts
      • Silver hair spray or short silver wig
      • Plain long-sleeve button-up shirt
      • Dark wash jeans

Noel Fielding and Matt Lucas

  • Noel Fielding items:
    • Funky-patterned long-sleeve shirt or sweater
    • Black skinny jeans or leggings
    • Black shag haircut wig
  • Matt Lucas items:
    • Funky-patterned short-sleeve shirt
    • Light wash blue jeans or khakis
    • Bald cap

Flour and Sugar

  • White t-shirts
  • Permanent marker

Write “Flour” on one t-shirt and “Sugar” on the other.

Group Costumes

Twilight cast

Find pieces from your closet that you can style into 2010s Twilight-core realness.

    • Optional items:
      • Face makeup to make you look lifeless
      • Body glitter

Sex Education cast

None! Just whatever clothes in your closet fit your chosen character best.


Required items:

  • All black outfit (leather or pleather recommended, but not necessary)
  • Face makeup
  • Hair spray or gel

Optional items:

  • Spiky jewelry
  • Fingerless gloves
  • Black shag haircut wigs

“The Birds” by Alfred Hitchcock

Required items:

  • Fake crows or black construction paper cut into bird silhouettes
  • Safety pins
  • A good scared face

Optional items:

  • Vintage clothing and makeup

A Few Final Notes

It goes without saying, but exercise good judgment when designing your costume. If you ask yourself, “Is this likely to offend someone?” and the answer for any part of your costume is “Yes,” don’t wear it.

As always—stay safe, stay warm and celebrate responsibly in accordance with all public health and University guidelines. Happy Halloween!

Written by Cecelia Kersten ’23, S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications