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As fun as Halloween is, easy costume ideas can be pretty tempting, especially if you’re a last-minute person. A low-effort costume is perfect when you’re busy with work and other responsibilities, or don’t want to drop a ton of cash on a one-time costume.
If you’re heading to a costume party or will get bullied by your friends for not dressing up, these last-minute costume ideas are a low-maintenance way to meet the bare minimum and get a few laughs in the process. Is your vibe all about the gore or are you looking for something a little punny? Either way, we’ve got your back with a range of options for the budget-conscious folks looking for a cheap Halloween costume.
Here are our top picks for the best Halloween costumes for men and couples that are also extremely simple to pull off. From tongue-in-cheek outfits to one-prop pop culture Halloween costume ideas, you’re sure to find the perfect look that’s right for you.
1. Michael Meyers Costume
Year after year, the Michael Meyers mask is one of the best easy costume ideas people can instantly guess — even if you’re wearing jeans and a t-shirt. It’s made of latex and has a built-in wig, so it’s really the only accessory you need this Halloween. With nostril holes for breathing and wide eye holes, it’s also one of the most comfortable yet simple costumes.
2. Edward Scissorhands Costume
Even if you don’t have face paint and crazy hair to match, this is one of the easy costume ideas that you should take advantage of in 2022. Plus, it’s a lot safer getting these pre-made gloves than trying to make your diabolical scissor-based accessories at home. Some buyers report that securing the “scissors” with a hot glue gun can make them more durable.
3. Traffic Cone Costume
Ah, the epitome of simple Halloween costumes — nothing screams lazy Halloween costumes more than this bright orange shirt. It people exactly what you are — or aren’t, to be more accurate. Sure, people in more elaborate outfits might judge you all night, but who cares? You’re comfy in a t-shirt and no one is going up to you to ask you what you are.
4. Undercover Vampire Costume
In most of the shows and movies coming out these days, vampires are hidden in plain sight rather than walking around looking like Dracula. For that reason, these vampire teeth caps with adhesive are the best low-key (and low-effort) Halloween costume, since you can pair them with everyday clothes. For a ‘just freshly fed” glow, consider adding a few dabs of fake blood to the corner of your mouth. Caps come in four sizes to ensure the right fit.
5. Buzz Lightyear Costume
To infinity and beyond! Thanks to this accessory-based costume, you don’t need to wear an elaborate and uncomfortable Buzz Lightyear costume. Just throw on the gloves, character hood and inflatable jet pack for an easy costume that can be worn year and year again. The wings are attached with elastic that goes around the arms and shoulders. One reviewer writes, “my husband got the most compliments! Very cute if you want something easy and fun!”
6. Harry Potter Costume
Don’t have a wizard or witch costume? No worries — this is one super easy costume idea that only requires a prop or two. Round glasses and a maroon and yellow tie will instantly have you recognized as a member of the House of Gryffindor. Unlike other Harry Potter accessory sets, this one also comes with a wand. Bonus points if you draw a lightning bolt on your forehead, but it’s not really necessary.
7. Cleaver-Through-Head Costume
If you’re a fan of gory horror movies but don’t want to go through the hassle of buying a costume and fake blood, consider this pre-splattered butcher’s cleaver. Worn as a headband but has the maximum shock effect for those looking to induce gasps and wide-eyed looks. Since the cleaver is a bit heavy, you may want to secure it with pins to prevent tilting.
8. Error 404 Costume
The ultimate anti-Halloween costume for folks averse to dressing up, this “Error 404” shirt on Amazon quickly transforms you into a malfunctioning website. It’s a true lazy classic for those looking to put in minimal effort, making this one of our favorite no-effort costume ideas. Sold in a range of colors, this is an easy-breeze costume that’s still cool and won’t take up too much space in your closet during the rest of the year.
9. When Life Gives You Lemons Costume
You know the old saying, “when life gives you lemons”? This year, you can dress up as is. Slap a name tag on yourself and write “life” in all caps. Then, hold a lemon in one hand and carry a basket of lemons in the other. If you really want to sell this, stand around handing out lemons to people all night. You can also dress up as your friend using these name tags, doing bad impersonations of them all night long.
10. Wolf Costume
Animal costumes can get hot and sweaty fast, which is why this set makes it easy with a pair of ears, gloves, and a tail attached to the waist with an elastic band. If you want to take things up a notch, dress up as a “party animal” in your finest formal party garb. This also makes a great couples’ costume — guys can rock a tux, and women can wear a gown or party dress along with these accessories.
11. Couples Sneaker Costume
This is the only full-body costume we believe works well in terms of easy costume ideas for couples because it’s pretty much just a stretchy tunic you throw on top of your regular clothes. Also, what better way to pay homage to your other half than by dressing up like the other half in this pair of Converse sneakers? One buyer comments that they “looked 3D in photos.”
12. Bob Ross and Painting Costume
An awesome prop-based costume for couples, this is one of those simple Halloween costumes for couples that everyone can figure out. One person is the “painting” wearing all black with a canvas around their neck, while the lucky person holding the palette and wearing the wig gets to be Bob Ross. A reviewer adds that the wig was “better than most for this price range,” so you can even reuse this wig for future costumes.
13. Stepbrothers Costume
Flex your love for normcore and the movie Stepbrothers with this hilarious outfit that will forever be a classic. For this look, you’ll need two matching argyle sweater vests. Wear long-sleeved button-down shirts and pair them with whatever pants you want — jeans or chinos. While you can certainly wear your hair regularly, a curly wig should do the trick when it comes to eliciting instant laughs.
14. Men in Black Costume
The great thing about this duo costume is that couples or friends can wear it, and you probably already have most of the items hanging in your wardrobe. It only requires two suits with ties and a pair of sunglasses. This sunglasses and earpiece set makes it a little more realistic and will help you match better to your partner in crime, and you can even buy a cheap suit on Amazon.
15. Tourist Costume
All you really need for this look is a Hawaiian shirt and a camera with a neck strap, which you probably already have at home. The camera prop can be functional — at a Halloween party, why not take pics? This look works great with cargo pants, but whatever pants you wear, make sure to hike them up as high as possible for maximum dad-on-vacation vibes. A straw hat or a visor will also work well with this look.
16. Chip on Your Shoulder Costume
A punny costume that requires little to no effort — just a bag of Lays taped or hot glued onto the sleeve and give people attitude all night. You can also create a makeshift Lay’s potato chip by cutting and folding some corrugated cardboard that you paint yellow. But this guide is all about easy costume ideas, so for the sake of convenience, just tape that mini chip bag on your shoulder.
17. Shrek Costume
Who needs a full-on green costume and face paint when you have Shrek ears? Shrek is and will always remain an unforgettable pop culture Halloween costume, and this felt headband is a lot more comfortable than exposed plastic alternatives. With a neon green color and a shape that accommodates a larger head, this is a well-made fit that you can wear all night without getting a headache.