Easy, last-minute Halloween costume ideas from your closet

Despite the best of intentions, you might find yourself scrambling to dream up impressive last-minute Halloween costume ideas for a dress-up party or office celebration. No worries! Open your closet and get creative. Think black or white dress, jeans, flannel shirt. Easy!

If you’re not loving what you have on hand, turn to secondhand shopping to put together DIY Halloween costumes for a fraction of the cost.

Black dress

A black dress is such a wardrobe staple that most women likely have more than one. Put one of those LBDs to use this October in these last-minute Halloween costume ideas built around it.

  • Witch (accessories: hat, broom, tights, makeup)
  • Audrey Hepburn (black purse, black heels, pearls, sunglasses, cigarette holder)
  • Seuss (hat, white gloves, big red ribbon to tie around your neck, red and white striped tights)
  • Flight attendant (scarf, air hostess hat, suitcase)

Flannel shirt

Get out your go-to comfy clothes with these DIY Halloween costume ideas that feature a flannel shirt along with jeans and a white tee.

  • Zombie (accessories: ripped-up clothing, makeup, hatchet)
  • Scarecrow (brown boots, straw hat, sunflowers to carry, hair in braids, makeup)
  • Lumberjack (suspenders, axe, boots, skull cap)
  • Cowgirl (brown belt, brown boots, cowboy hat, bandana)

White dress

Break out a bit of summer with your favorite solid white dress that is just as impressive with its versatility in July as it is in October.

  • Zombie bride (accessories: veil, white shoes, makeup, blood, wig)
  • Unicorn (unicorn horn, white tights, white shoes or boots, colorful ribbon for mane)
  • Angel (wings, white tights, halo or floral crown, gold belt, strappy gold sandals or heels, gold hair glitter)
  • Madonna (white lacy gloves, big white ribbon for hair, jewelry, white pearl and black necklaces, white lacy tights, gold star earrings, white heels)

Go ahead and build these perfect Halloween costumes from your closet. Or if you’re missing the basic building blocks, try thrift shopping for an inexpensive wardrobe addition you can always use again and again! This year a witch, next year Dr. Seuss, and in between you can wear that black dress on its own. Now that is multitasking!

About Goodwill: Goodwill NCW is a nonprofit human services organization whose mission is Elevating People by Eliminating Barriers to Employment across 35 counties in north central Wisconsin. The organization includes 27 retail stores and training centers in communities from Manitowoc to La Crosse, 24 human services programs, unique shopping experiences at its boutiques and Appleton outlet store, plus online shopping at It offers four Donation Express sites and 10 convenient donation bins throughout the Fox Cities. Goodwill NCW is a Platinum Level member of, the world’s largest source of nonprofit organization information. Visit

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