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Costume crunch time: Last-minute Halloween solutions from your closet

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Tatiana Collins attended last year’s Downtown Lodi trick or treat as a ham sandwich.


There are six days until Halloween, and you have no idea what you’re wearing to the party. Plus, you don’t want to spend much on something you’ll wear for about four hours before casting it off. You could scour the thrift stores or the Spirit Halloween store bargain bin. Or you can crank up the clever and make a punny outfit.

Here are 10 last-minute costume ideas that require a shirt, some paper and one or two props. The best part about simple costumes is the price tag: Under $10. But what makes them really pop is the attitude. Enthusiasm all the way.

To keep kids extra toasty, use a sweatshirt instead of a T-shirt, and sweatpants instead of leggings.

1. Iron chef

Pick up a tall white chef’s hat and pull an iron out of the linen closet to carry around. If only it were that easy to win the one-hour cooking competition on Food Network.

2. Dirty laundry

Cut a hole in the bottom of a plastic laundry basket large enough to stand in, and use some yarn or rope to make shoulder straps. Hide the straps and fill the basket by piling on socks, shirts, pillowcases and an empty bottle of detergent.

3. Lego brick

This one is a bit more crafty, but worth the time. Cut arm and head holes into a cardboard box the size of your torso. Duct tape eight plastic cups upside down on the front, then paint the whole thing a solid color. Add a long-sleeved shirt and leggings in the same color, and you’re set.

4. Static cling

Similar to the dirty laundry idea, but this one doesn’t require a basket. Pin socks and dryer sheets to a long-sleeved top. Affix a balloon to your hair for the full static-y effect.

5. Tourist

All you need for this one is either in your closet or your dad’s. Put on a loud Hawaiian shirt, khaki shorts, white tube socks and tennis shoes. Add a fanny pack and huge sunglasses, and sling a camera around your neck. For extra points, take goofy photos in front of costumed friends as if they are landmarks or historical sites.

6. Nudist on strike

Easiest costume on the list. Wear your normal clothes, but hang a cardboard sign around your neck. Scrawl “NUDIST ON STRIKE” on it. Done.

7. Life handing out lemons

Personify the saying by writing “Life” in big letters on a shirt, then carrying around a bowl of fresh lemons. Hand them to your friends and see how they really react when things go sour.

8. Identity thief

Grab a pack of those “Hello my name is” name badge stickers. Write 50 different names on them, then stick them all over the front of your shirt. Best version? When none of the names are your own.

9. Deviled egg

Don a white shirt, with a yellow fabric or paper circle on the front. Stick a pair of devil horns on your head. You’ll hear the “Oh, I get it,” laugh all evening long.

10. Shooting star

Cut a large star from stiff cardboard and coat it in gold paint. Attach it to a headband. Hang gold and yellow streamers from your arms and shoulders so they flow dramatically. Wear this over basic black or go bold with bodypaint.

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Courtesy photograph

Tatiana Collins attended last year’s Downtown Lodi trick or treat as a ham sandwich.