Illustration by Gica Tam
Style Necessary Style

Last-minute Halloween costume ideas for when you don’t have the time

When come as you are won’t cut it
Owen Madela | Oct 29 2018

With your usual work deliverables set at the end of the month and travel plans for the long weekend starting to unfold, a Halloween costume is perhaps the last thing on your to-do list. But with offices taking spook season seriously—tableau contests and trick or treat for employees and their children abound—and dozens upon dozens of themed events leading up to the 31st, it would be quite a letdown for you and fellow party goers to arrive at a costume party as you are.

Fortunately, a lot of these costume parties encourage creative dress codes—and not just the usual but time-consuming scary options such as caped vampire, Jason from Friday the 13th, or a headband-wearing devil. With a little help from classic TV and unforgettable Hollywood movies, you can pull from your own closet or tweak the work outfit you’re already to come up with a Halloween costume so good, you’ll never think of showing up as Clark Kent in mid-transformation or Will Smith in Men in Black for a couple more annual parties to come. 


Johnny Depp in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas 

Put any of your tropical printed polos to good use by channelling Johnny Depp’s character Raoul Duke. Finish the look off with a pair of loose fitting khakis, a bucket hat in a similar shade (do you have one with green lining?) and tinted aviators. Throw in a pack of cigarettes for good measure—and make sure they’re either fake or the party venue allows smoking, of course. 


Don Johnson in Miami Vice 

If you own a millennial pink anything, wear it with a suit in another soft color, immaculate white or a contrasting sorbet hue to bring fictional ‘80s police detective Sonny Crockett to life. Complete the costume by going sockless and stepping out in your favorite weekend espadrilles. If you have a leather holster vest and a badge or know someone who could lend you both, so much the better. 


Bernard Tai from Crazy Rich Asians

@FunnyAsianDude on Twitter

One of the more troublesome characters in the movie adaptation of Kevin Kwan’s bestseller is also Best in Costume nomination fodder—when done accurately. Fold a hot pink tropical shirt three fourths and leave the buttons open and wear a gaudy necklace set in gold and aviators that match. An option idea to truly stay in character: gold lamé briefs behind your white trousers—but nobody needs to see them. 


Bob Ross 

@BobRossOfficial on Twitter

The difference between any guy in a powder blue oxford shirt and stonewash flare denim and The Joy of Painting star Bob Ross? An afro, a full beard, the skill, and loads of chill. Facial hair and calm are quite hard to grow—they don’t develop overnight—but there are things that any nearby department store can let you afford: a wig, a palette and brushes, and a couple of illustrations that you can carry around. The easel? Optional. 


Anger from Inside Out


The red emotion from the Disney/Pixar film inside out makes more creative use of your work clothes for Halloween compared to Dilbert, a Mormon missionary or Superman alter ego in mid-shirt rip. Get someone to help you with applying face and body paint and DIY a yellow crown to mimic Anger’s torch-like hair. Don’t forget to bring the easiest part of the costume: Your own rage.


Joey Tribbiani dressed as Chandler Bing’s closet from Friends

Did Balenciaga designer Demna Gvasalia draw inspiration from a 1996 episode of Friends when he sent down a couple of coats that resembled layers of everyday clothes for his Fall/Winter 2018 collections? Regardless, reaching for your own clothes and layering them seems like a multi-referential and easy thing to do for Halloween. But first, here’s hoping for really great airconditioning at the venue.