Last-minute Halloween costumes…from the closet

I had my first live TV appearance this week: I was a guest on our local morning show and my job was to show off last-minute Halloween costume ideas. Folks: it was nothing if not authentic. I had been traveling the week before so the costumes I demonstrated were literally pulled from our closets and dress-up collection the night before the show.

Live TV is such fun (who knew?). Not only was it an energizing hit for this extrovert writer, I got to meet an up-and-coming Oregon pop band comprised of four charming young men, one of whom is just old enough to vote.

To the point of the show: I’ve always loved Halloween because it’s the perfect holiday for the non-crafty procrastinators among us. The photo spread perfection some aspire to (or feel tortured by) around Thanksgiving and Christmas? Not even on the radar during Halloween (at least not on my radar). Fun, kids, candy. That’s it.

Here are the costumes I demonstrated on the show. As you can see, they’re barely costumes. But with a little imagination and gussy-ing up, they’re good enough to send your kid trick-or-treating with the best of ‘em:

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  • Before: a T-shirt 1 of 9
    Before: a T-shirt
    My neighbor Elias demonstrates the raw material that goes into a ninja mask.
  • After: Ninja! 2 of 9
    After: Ninja!
    Presto! Slide the neck opening over your eyes, tie the arms behind your head, and NINJA!
  • (Ninja in action) 3 of 9
    (Ninja in action)
    Elias learned how to make the ninja mask from a summer camp at Trackers NW here in Portland.
  • Headband + foil = kitty ears 4 of 9
    Headband + foil = kitty ears
    OK, so my creation looks pretty sketchy, but with a little more time and attention, you can see where one can go with this.
  • PJs + robe + Teddy = little kid 5 of 9
    PJs + robe + Teddy = little kid
    This was a popular costume when I was in high school. Draw some freckles on your face to up the cute factor.
  • Sports uniforms! 6 of 9
    Sports uniforms!
    Younger sibs are dying to wear "real" sports uniforms.
  • A black suit jacket 7 of 9
    A black suit jacket
    Any all-black outfit can be the basis of a good costume. Men In Black (add sunglasses), Dilbert, aforementioned kitties and ninjas...
  • Chef 8 of 9
    A kitchen apron, a chef hat made out of notebook paper (just loop it around your forehead and tape), and a few props are all you need.
  • Random Sparkly Fairy or Superhero 9 of 9
    Random Sparkly Fairy or Superhero
    Remix your dress-up box. Put on anything that sparkles. You'll look great (especially the boys).

What’s your best last-minute Halloween costume idea?

Asha Dornfest is the co-author of Minimalist Parenting: Enjoy Modern Family Life More By Doing Less and the publisher of Parent Hacks, a site crammed with tips for making family life easier.

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