DIY Halloween Costumes

Halloween is arguably the greatest weekend here at Penn State. Costume parties and candy. What could be better?

Unfortunately, it can also be one of the most expensive weekends. If you want to do Halloween properly, you have to have at least three clever costumes, because repeating is lame and not dressing up is even lamer. Pre-made Halloween costumes happen to be incredibly expensive (and boring), and your options are pretty limited. Your best bet is to scour nearby thrift shops, along with your and your roommates’ closets, to DIY your own perfect costumes. Here are a few options that we came up with so you have a couple of weeks to prepare.

Penn State Options

Because we love our school and we all have closets full of spirit wear, Penn State costumes are pretty easy to do.

Penn State Angel

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In memory of the course management system we’re losing, of course. I made the wings and halo out of construction paper because I’m under no illusion that any DIY costume will last the entire night. Simply staple wings to the back of a Penn State shirt and pair it with your most angelic white skirt. Add a halo (construction paper glued to a headband), and you’ve transformed into everybody’s favorite course management system.

Old Coaly

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Who doesn’t love and miss Penn State’s favorite mule? Channel him for an entire night by simply wearing a headband and groutfit (AKA, an all grey outfit). You can make your own mule headband, or you can buy an animal headband from the Halloween section of McLanahan’s. This was originally an owl headband, but I mutilated it until it looked more like a mule. For added effect, you can carry around bricks just like Old Coaly did when he was building Old Main.

Basic Options

Because, let’s be real, Halloween is a time to celebrate your basicness.

Basic Witch

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This costume is a play on words, and that’s always fun. Rock the classic witch look — a black dress and a witch hat from McLanahan’s. Add a Starbucks cup, some Uggs, and a Northface, and you’ll be clever AND comfortable. You can’t lose.

Box of Wine

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Chances are that if you’re basic, you already have a box of Franzia in your apartment. Why not just cut it open and wear it? Just cut off the front and back of the box, then grab some ribbon. Staple the ribbon to the box pieces, and you officially are what you drink. You should probably also wear a dress or pants and a shirt underneath because the outfit is a bit revealing, but hey, that’s your prerogative.

Miscellaneous Thrift Store Options

Because thrift stores are magic places where you can find the weirdest things and make them into something special.


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I once found this mask at a thrift store and bought it on the spot, anticipating that I would eventually need it for something. Boy, was I correct! What’s harder to find than a gorilla face is a gorilla body, but it’s pretty easy to make your own. Just buy a yard of black furry fabric from Michael’s. Fold it in half, and sew the sides about halfway together, leaving two arm holes and the bottom open. Cut a hole for your neck, and you’ve got a shirt. For pants, black sweatpants or leggings are your best bet. People will know that you’re not a real live gorilla, which is a bit unfortunate, but at least they won’t call animal control on you.

Bella Goth

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I found a red dress at Plato’s closet, which immediately made me think of Bella Goth, everybody’s favorite Sim! Make a plumbob (the green diamond that hangs above a Sim’s head — you learn something new every day) out of green construction paper and attach it to a headband with a Starbucks straw. Say things like, “Yasperny gaderg,” and, “Nosah susu,” all night, and you’re officially a Sim! If you’re a boy, just wear black instead, and be Mortimer Goth.

Piper from Orange is the New Black

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People are all about Orange is the New Black right now, so this costume is surefire hit. I found an orange jumpsuit at a thrift store, and it was like it was meant to be. The only added touch it needed was a name, so I just whipped out a Sharpie and wrote “Piper Chapman” in my neatest handwriting.

These are just a few suggestions for some fairly easy-to-DIY costumes. If you have 10 minutes of free time, you can whip one of these up no problem. Halloween is sooner than you think (the Disney Channel is already playing Halloweentown on repeat) so you better get moving.

A special thanks to my roommate Abby Akers for modeling these stunning creations.

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