Craft & Design Home Makeup & Costumes

About a decade ago, I had no costume the day of a Halloween party. I hate not being a Halloween team player. I almost always have a costume, but that year, I’d given up; I was out of time. I was online, reading the news, when I read a piece about corporate criminal du jour Bernie Madoff who was then breaking news and plastered all over the media. Impulsively, I decided to go as him. I printed out his headshot that I found online onto card stock, quickly stepped into my best suit (OK, my only suit), and made a cardboard panhandling sign that read: “Will Swindle for Food.” Surprisingly, this costume was a big hit. Lots of people wanted to pose for pictures with Bernie, and in the pictures, the flimsy mask looked surprisingly real. I was stunned and amazed to get compliments on a costume I basically threw together on my way out the door. Who knew that a last minute costume could make you a life of the party?

To do this yourself: let’s say you want to go as Christopher Walken. All you need to do is find a suitable image of him, and size it to the width of your head. Print onto thin card stock. Cut out the eye holes and attach with elastic string. Find suitable clothing. If I were going as Walken, I’d probably wear a smoking jacket, carry a bottle of champagne, and go as his “The Continental” character from SNL. (You could also just skip the mask, wear the jacket, carry the champagne, slick back your hair, and pencil on a mustache.)

A good costume is frequently so much more about the cleverness of the idea, than the craft. Sure we all adore an elaborate, well-made costume, but how many times have you seen a very simple, funny costume get as much attention as one that took forever to fabricate?

Here are ten costumes that you can put together in an evening (or less) that should turn some monster masks on Halloween night.

If you put together a last minute costume that you’re happy with, we’d love to hear about it. Post up in the comments below.


Gareth Branwyn is a freelance writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor to Boing Boing, Wink Books, and Wink Fun. And he has a new best-of writing collection and “lazy man’s memoir,” called Borg Like Me.

View more articles by Gareth Branwyn