resisting monotonous hats since 2005

Half-Assed Halloween: Easy Costumes for Your Half-Hearted Holiday

September 27, 2012 by Kelli

If you’re anything like me, you simultaneously look forward to Halloween and are surprised at its sudden appearance. Every year, I think I will pull out the stops and do some crazy-wonderful costume (usually Ziggy Stardust is my aim). And every year, I say the weekend before Halloween, “I’m not going to have the time to put that together. What can I be?”

So, dear readers, I’ve pulled together some emergency costume ideas for you.


The Flapper

This is such an easy costume to create because, chances are, you already have everything you need for it.

What you need:

– Some kind of flappy or flowy dress, preferrably knee- or thigh-length; it doesn’t have to be fitted or have the fringe, just something that will jump and twirl around.

– Red lipstick; if you’re feeling brave, try the traditional “cupid’s bow” look (see Clara Bow for the best examples)

– Fishnet or lace tights; because, I don’t know, it’s cute?

– Eyeshadow; go for smoky and dramatic

– Bobby pins; this is if you decide to do the finger waves that are synonymous with flappers. Here’s my quick method for doing it:

1. Use way too much hair goop, slather it all over, especially at the front.

2. Take a section of your hair at the front and comb it straight down.

3. Hold the piece flat against your head and lay your index and middle fingers across it. Hold it tight.

4. With your other hand, slide the bobby pin toward the back of your head (between the two fingers), while not letting go of the hair. This will cause the bobby-pinned sectioned to be pushed back, while the parts you were holding down will stay in place, creating waves.

5. Blow-dry that motha. Then remove the bobby pins (or leave them in if you’ll be partying hard).

This sounds strange, but it’s the same general process that genuine flappers used, though they had neat gadgets to do the work for them.

Or, if you don’t really want to do that, you can just buy a flapper hat:

(Oh, what? You really thought I wouldn’t use this opportunity to whore out my goods?)

– Heaps of necklaces; the longer the better, pearls and other “old-timey” necklaces are the best

– Add in some earrings, rings, and bangles for added measure:

The beauty of the flapper costume is you can nail one aspect of it (the hair, the dress, the makeup, or the jewelry) and everyone will go, “Ah, yes, you are a flapper.” Because frankly, our version of the flapper is so well-known, despite how historically inaccurate it may be. So have fun with it!

The Old-Time Gangster

This is the boy-version of the flapper. Again, our idea of the gangster (from the what? ’20s? ’30s? I don’t know) is so well-known that you really need to do the minimal effort to nail it.

Here’s what you need:

– A pair of slacks; depending on your idea of old-time gangster, you can go for baggy slacks or fitted

– A suit vest, preferably, but a jacket will work in a pinch; if you have both, even better (and no, they don’t really have to match the slacks…how often are the lights fully on at a Halloween party?)

– Collared shirt

– A fedora

– A tie, because you’re no slouch and you know how to tie a tie

– Assorted props like a fake tommy gun (not recommended if you’ll be somewhere where someone doesn’t understand Halloween) or pocket chain

– If you have long hair, tie it back and stick it up in the hat

And that’s it. Easy peasy and now you also have a suit to wear to funerals.

The 1950s Housewife

Are you sensing the theme here? If you choose a character from another era, it’ll be easier to just wing it.

What you’ll need:

– A dress or skirt that is full and kind of swingy, shin- or knee-length

– Button-up shirt (or sweater)

– Apron; this is key, without it, you’re just some chick in a button-up shirt and skirt

– Pearl necklace; don’t get cheeky here

– Red lipstick

– Throw in a pair of feminine earrings:

Now, you could really increase your housewife-ability by doing the victory rolls as my friend in the photo above did. But believe you me, that is no easy task and I’m not going to provide a tutorial.

Note: for men, a sweater vest over a collared shirt, paired with slacks and you’re golden. If you have a wooden pipe and a newspaper, even better.

The LOLcat

Unlike the other costumes which are damn-near Halloween costume traditions, this is an easy one that is also pretty clever. It also helps if you’re a cute girl.

What you’ll need:

– Black shirt or dress

– Black leggings or pants

– Black shoes

– Fur; no questions asked about how you obtained the fur

– Paper and wire to create the captions

– Store-bought cat ears and tail; you could make them yourself, but this isn’t a post about making things

– Something to draw whiskers on yourself

Or if you want to skip the last two items:

Bam! Costumed!

Stay tuned for Part 2: more easy costumes for those who have the holiday spirit, but not the holiday time.

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