Did Halloween creep up on you just a little too fast this year and leave you without a plan? Or does the idea of trudging to a store and wading your way through the hundreds of costume options available for kids these days seem a bit overwhelming?

Thanks to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the odds are high that your kids won’t be attending any Halloween parties this year, and they may not even be going trick-or-treating. That doesn’t mean, however, that they don’t want a chance to dress up and play “pretend” for a day — even if you’re just decorating pumpkins and celebrating the holiday at home with your family.

So, what can you do if you need a last-minute costume but you don’t want to spend all night sewing or make a desperate run to the Spirit Halloween store? It’s time to get creative — and we have some ideas that may help. All you have to do is head to your closet, dig through your craft bins and rifle through other holiday boxes for the supplies.

🎃 A Masked Bandit

This is the perfect costume for the kid who is always stealing your heart. To start, get out a pair of black tights and a black-and-white striped shirt. (If you don’t have a striped shirt, grab a white t-shirt and add stripes with a wide, black Sharpie marker.) Put a black ski hat on your child’s head and use black makeup around their eyes to make an easy “mask.” Then, all they need is a plain bag decorated with dollar signs to haul around their “loot.”

🎃 The Identity Thief

Do you have a stack of name stickers sitting around that were meant to be used at a family reunion or work gathering this year? Repurpose them by turning your kid into an “identity thief.” Just grab a sharpie and put the names of friends, relatives, neighbors and famous folks on a few dozen stickers and put them all over your kid’s clothes. This one will probably actually scare a few of the adults in your crowd — and it may amuse your precocious pre-teen.

🎃 A Dust Bunny

Do you have a pair of rabbit ears sitting around in that box of Easter decorations? Well, dig it out and grab some tulle from your sewing supplies. All you have to do is spray the tulle with some gray paint or use dye to “dirty it up.” Then, add a few bunches of the stuff at random with glue to an oversized shirt for your child, pop on those bunny ears and you have it: a dust bunny that nobody will want to sweep under the rug.

🎃 A Pizza Slice

If you’ve got cardboard and colored construction paper handy, you’ve got this one in the bag. Just cut two big triangles out of the cardboard that you can tie together at the top like a sandwich board for your child to wear over their clothes. Use the construction paper and some markers to create the pizza’s toppings — and don’t forget the pepperoni!

🎃 Ruth Bader Ginsberg

If you’ve got a firm appreciation for the late Supreme Court Justice, now’s a great time to show it. You can easily replicate RBG’s look for a quick costume for your little girl (or boy if he has short hair and you want to get a wig). All you need is a long black t-shirt, a little bit of lace, and some big black-framed glasses (sans the lenses). Glue the lace to the collar of the shirt, slip the ensemble over your little one’s head, tie the hair back into a bun and you’ve got a costume to which no one would dare object.

🎃 Clark Kent

Does your kid have a pair of Superman jammies lying around? If so, you have a costume almost ready. Have your child put the pajamas on under their suit for church and throw on a loosened tie. Slick back their hair with a little gel to get the perfect curl, add some black-framed glasses (sans lenses) and have them unbutton the dress shirt so that you can clearly see the “S” on Superman’s shirt. It will look like Clark Kent got interrupted as he was changing!

🎃 A Haunted House

There’s nothing spookier or more seasonal than a haunted house — and it just takes a little imagination, a cardboard box and some markers to make one. Cut holes for your child’s arms, and decorate with markers the front of the “house” with windows and doors. Add some cut-outs of bats and ghosts with construction paper and you’ve got a hauntingly good costume.

🎃 Smarty Pants

This one is so easy, everyone can do it! Grab a bag of Smarties candies and some glue or double-sided tape, and an old pair of jeans or pants for your child. Liberally apply packages of smarties to the pants and have your child grab a book to carry. See how long it takes other people to get the joke!

🎃 A Tired Parent

Kids love to poke a little fun at their parents, and Halloween is the perfect time to do it. They can throw on some pajamas, a robe and some slippers and you can use a little makeup to add some wrinkles to their faces. Boys can add a scruffy “beard” with makeup and girls can put rollers in their hair. Put a favorite coffee cup in their hand and they’ll be the walking epitome of you or your spouse before the caffeine kicks in!

Even if none of these ideas hit the mark, you can find plenty of inspirational looking through your closet. That old velvet skirt and a paper crown can turn your daughter into a princess, while an old plaid shirt and a cardboard ax can make your son into a lumberjack. Explore, have fun and enjoy — Halloween is the one night of the year where you can truly let your imagination run wild!

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