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LAist Procrastinator's Clinic: Last Minute Costume Ideas

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Holidays have a penchant for sneaking up on you. Christmas is the most obvious example, but Halloween is equally as vexing. Even though we have 365 days between each Halloween to breathe, contemplate and otherwise prepare a killer costume idea, we're never completely ready. Fear not, we're here to help the Halloween-impared.

Step One: Face The Facts
Take a deep breath and embrace the fact that you won't be the belle (or beau) of the ball. You've waited until October 30th, and the best you can hope for is to blend in and have fun with the crowd. Realistic expectations will assuage the stress that otherwise plagues so many procrastinators. Embrace the slacker within and find a costume that suits your no-nonsense, fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants lifestyle.

Step Two: Go Shopping in Your Closet
Forget buying a pre-fab costume. They're tacky and everyone will know you're the sucker who waited until the stroke of midnight to buy something. Plus it's a given there will be someone else out there wearing your store-bought monstrosity. LAist suggests opening up your trusty wardrobe and using materials you have at home. It's more original, infinitely cheaper and a great way to recycle those bellbottom pants, leisure suits and acid-wash jeans. And, if a shopping trip is required, only buy used and vintage items (e.g., try Aaardvark's or Crossroads.)

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Here are three easy costumes you can make, depending on your wardrobe and personality...


That 70s Look
If you have tailored 70s shirts, boot cut or bellbottom jeans, and a pair of tinted John Lennon glasses, you're well on your way to becoming a hippy. If not, a trip to Aaardvark's on Melrose will suffice.

Customizing the costume:
Ladies, find your inner welsh goddess and add a chiffon wrap and top hat to the mix. It hides a multitude of sins and everyone will get the Stevie Nicks reference.

Gentlemen, if you can get your hands on a cheap wig and a funky hat, you'll pull off the hippie look with amazing aplomb.

The Hobo
This costume is fun to create, because it involves making a big mess. You'll need Kiwi Shoe polish, an old button-up shirt and some jeans that you don't mind ditching after Halloween. Take a cheese grater or a pair of scissors and randomly tear and rip portions of your shirt. Ripping off one entire sleeve is completely acceptable. Put on the shirt and smear some of the Kiwi wax to emulate dirt and grime. If you have black, brown and dark red wax, all the better. Take the shirt off and splatter some vegetable or olive oil on the front. Continue distressing and staining the shirt until it looks like you've been sleeping in the gutter. Now put on your jeans. Wet the knees and kneel in some dirt or grass outside until they're stained. Remove the jeans and use the cheese grater to fray the material. Consider removing a back pocket. Just remember to wear suitable undergarments come Halloween. Now let the outfit dry overnight.

On Halloween, you'll want to add your own "flare" to the bum outfit. Men, try not to shave, as 5 o'clock shadow is the perfect accessory. Women, smudge some dark eye makeup on your face to simulate dirt. If you're feeling especially daring, consider carrying a bag of recyclable plastic bottles or cans around with you. Throw some pennies into a soup can and use it to beg for spare change. Voilà! You're a bum. Actors: consider concocting a sad backstory if you really want to wow the crowd.


The Goth
This is by far the easiest costume to make. Wear all black clothing, head-to-toe. Women and men, add black nail polish, eyeliner and lipstick. The more the merrier. Men, conjure your best Trent Reznor or Robert Smith. Fishnets work for both sexes. This is a very gender-bender, gender-neutral outfit that can be tailored to your comfort level. Our advice, don't be too subtle. You'll just look like someone who wears too much black. The black makeup, tights and a crucifix will bring out the tortured child within.

Step Three: Own It
Now that you've pulled together the impossible task of making a costume less than 24 hours before Halloween, don't tell a soul. Learn to say the magic words thank you if someone compliments you. Nobody needs to know that you're a slacker.

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Have fun and let us know if you have any last minute costume ideas to add to the mix.

Vintage Clothing Stores

Crossroads Trading Co Inc
7409 Melrose Ave
Los Angeles, CA
(323) 782-8100 Aaardvark's Odd Ark
7579 Melrose Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90046