We’ve been saying this for a while now, but Halloween is really soon, you guys. For most adults, the festivities take place this weekend — which means you’re now T minus 36 hours from needing a costume. You don’t have one yet, do you? Despite all our helpful advice? Listen, we’ll repress our urge to judge, since we’ve been there.
Still, even last-minute shoppers don’t have to do a basic, prefab costume from Party City. There’s still time to put something together with style, personality, panache — the kind of costume that screams “I may be an incurable procrastinator with piss-poor planning skills, but I will look good in my Halloween Instagrams, dammit!”
To give you some pointers, we gave five Yahoo Style and Beauty staffers $50, and set them loose in New York City to find a costume they’d be proud to wear come Halloween. Some went over budget. Others had to beg, borrow, steal, or scam items to make their costumes complete. But all of them look so much better than some disposable, probably flammable polyester costume you could buy in a bag.
Wanna see how we did? Scroll on … and then get shopping already!
“I was thrilled to try to re-create Ms. Joanne Prada’s distinguished — excuse me, ICONIC — look. But I had a feeling that I would go over the $50 limit because of the fur coat. I found a ‘Rockstar Wig’ at Party City for $16.99, and a criminally inexpensive LBD (maybe it’s a tunic?) from H&M for $6, but I started to get nervous because I was having trouble finding an inexpensive fur coat.
Thank the fast-fashion gods though, because Forever 21 came through with a $50 coat perfect for the look. The coat alone blew my budget, but I think Joanne would be happy that her costume would be on the pricier side.
As for the footwear, I scammed the Yahoo Style closet out of a pair of Louboutins for the shoot, which I think Joanne would also appreciate. After all, it’s not a true Joanne look without a bit of scamming!”
Outfit total: $72.99 (plus some light scamming)
“Kate Middleton is my idol, and because I can’t afford anything she wears, I decided to dress like her adorable son Prince George for Halloween. The royal family recently traveled to Canada, and the 3-year-old stole the entire show in his knee-high socks and shorts combo. While his children’s clothes are a bit expensive too, I was able to find an outfit that was under my budget. And I think I actually look kind of cute?! [Ed’s note: Agreed]
What looks like a pair of red shorts is actually a $25.90 skort from Zara — I hid the skirt layer underneath my shirt. I’m pretty sure this is going to be a fall staple that I’ll wear over and over again. Since I couldn’t find anything in adult sizes that fit my budget, I ventured to the kids’ department (dressing as a toddler has its perks). The navy blue shirt is a boy’s size 14 and cost $9.99. As for the socks, they’re supposed to be knee-highs for little girls ($5.99) but I #madeitwork.
And because I’m a professional working woman, I own a white oxford shirt, which also happens to be from Zara, and black patent loafers from Everlane, so I shopped my closet. Duchess of Cambridge, eat your heart out.”
Outfit total: $41.88, plus some prince-worthy closet finds
“I decided to dress as a heat-exhausted Yeezy Season 4 model because I have a love-hate relationship with Mr. West. Plus, I thought it would be hilarious. I shopped at Walmart and paid $11.72 for the bra, $6 for the boxer-style shapewear, and $2.27 for the nude sheer pantyhose.
I’d say the hardest part about putting together this look was finding shapewear for a thin body type. Not to mention, the selection of ‘nude’ pieces that complemented my dark skin tone were pretty scarce in-store.
My advice for anyone doing this costume? Go for comfort! You’ll likely be drinking and dancing, so be sure to buy shapewear that gives you a bit of wiggle room. And don’t forget the nude pantyhose, which will come in handy on a brisk Halloween night.”
Outfit total: $19.99
“I dressed as North West because, let’s be real, that little tot’s style is so on point. Whether she’s in a tutu or one of her famous fur coats, I can’t get enough of her. North even has swag when wearing her outfits!
For the light pink hoodie, I shopped at American Apparel. The hat, white jeans, and white Vans were all from my closet, and the fur coat happened thanks to my mom and her glam ’80s style.
This look was honestly not difficult at all to put together because it’s one of North’s more simple looks. I was lucky to have my mom’s vintage fur coat — if I didn’t, it would’ve likely taken a few stores to find a good faux one. Otherwise, you probably own most of these items; it just takes some digging in your closet (this advice goes for most DIY costumes too).
The good thing is I feel like this costume is timeless because North West has so many adorable, famous outfits that I can get away with wearing this costume next Halloween!”
Outfit total: $48
“I was born in the ’80s, came of age in the ’90s, and am a horror/sci-fi fan from way back. Which is to say that Stranger Things‘ mix of ’80s buddy-flick nostalgia, creepy John Carpenter/Stephen King/X-Files vibes, and, well, Winona Ryder activated pretty much all of the ‘holy crap I love this’ happy parts of my brain. I was thinking of doing an El costume, because I love her combination of utter badassery and total awkwardness (plus any excuse to break out my bottle of fake Ben Nye blood). But in the end, I thought playing Joyce Byers, single mom on the verge of a nervous breakdown, would be more fun.
You know what the worst part about this costume was? Finding those damn old-timey lights! After many stops, I finally located some at a wretched tourist trap of a store called It’s Always Christmas in New York (shudder), which sells a dozen measly lights for the bananas price of $29.99. And no refunds — oy. Seriously, never shop at this store.
That nearly blew my budget, so I found a striped top at H&M for $16.99 (shop similar here), and pulled the rest of my items from my and my boyfriend’s closets, which are near-bursting with thrifted items perfect for projecting drab momhood, circa 1983. Why does an otherwise-stylish 30-year-old man own brown poly-blend slacks, you ask? I have no idea — but I was grateful he did.
For a party, I’d duct-tape this ouija board to my back, and walk around all night screaming ‘WILLLLLLLLLLLL!!!’ into the phone. It’ll be a great way to vent my angst at paying $29.99 for Christmas lights.”
Outfit total: $46.98