Allow Us To Explain
It’s October 28th already, and you don’t have a Halloween costume. You could always go buy something at the last minute, but the high prices for poorly made, mass-produced costumes aren’t for you. But worry not, because we’ve got your back. Here are our picks for 10 geeky Halloween costumes for procrastinators, so named because they for the most part call for normal, everyday clothes. Minus assorted accessories, you’re pretty much guaranteed to have what you need for at least a few of these costumes in your closet already. Procrastinators and costume cheapskates unite!
Same as last year, we’ve assembled a combination of modern-day costume ideas and historical/mythology ones, the latter courtesy of awesome site Take Back Halloween.
Have some last-minute geeky costume ideas of your own? Leave ‘em in the comments.
(Top photo courtesy of Rich701)
Ellie from The Last Of Us
Got a shabby backpack and a t-shirt that looks like the cover of a very early Trapper Keeper? Then you're halfway to an Ellie from The Last of Us costume. Heck, if you want the real t-shirt, RedBubble is even selling them (although you may be out of luck on the shipping at this point… sorry). Fill that bag with comic books, put your hair up haphazardly, scrub some dirt on your face, and you're ready to face the shambling hordes. Also a lot of really terrible regular human beings. Can't forget them. But definitely don't forget your butterfly knife. —Susana
Aw yeah. Artemis. Greek goddess of the hunt, the moon, animals, virginity, and childbirth. Think you can creep on her? Ha, no. She'll turn you into a stag so you get devoured by your own hunting dogs. Say you're a better hunter than her? She'll send a boar to kill you and not think twice. Make known your intention to kidnap her to be your bride? Bam, she's tricked you into killing your brother, fool.Talk smack about her mom? Don't.
An Artemis this costume is great for procrastinators like myself because its main part is a solid-color (Take Black Halloween suggests navy blue) flat sheet, and even if your sheet preferences tend toward the patterned you should be able to find something appropriate at the last minute with zero difficulty. We recommend that you not skimp on the folding, though. Don't just drape it around your body; this isn't Animal House. Follow Take Back Halloween's instructions on how to fold a sheet into a chiton. Equip yourself with a bow and arrow from the Halloween store and a scowl to direct at any men who cross your path and you'll be good to go. —Rebecca
(picture by Timothy Tolle)
Orange Is the New Black
I have a feeling this is actually going to be a popular costume choice this year (especially considering I’ve already seen 4). What will you need? Orange or beige scrubs and a Litchfield Prison name badge. Props like a Snickers bar or a screwdriver. Bonus points for maxi pad shower shoes. Most importantly - NO MAKEUP. Ok, maybe some eyeliner.
Netflix’s original series Orange is the New Black was a breakout hit so you’ll likely get a lot of high-fives sporting this easy (and comfortable) costume. Are you a Piper Chapman, an Alex Vause, or a Taystee? Perhaps you’re a Red? The great part about OitNB is the diverse cast, but if you don’t find yourself drawn to any of the characters in particular, you can always create your own Litchfield inmate! Just don’t pull a Julianne Hough. —Jill
Hedy Lamarr, one of the most beautiful and glamorous actresses of the golden age of Hollywood, decided that, yeah, she could spend all her time as a movie star, being showered with attention and invited to fancy parties. But you know what else she'd like to do? Invent radio technology that would help Allied torpedoes avoid detection by the Nazis. The Navy decided not to use Lamarr's "frequency hopping" until the '60s during a blockade of Cuba, and since then it's become essential to wifi, Bluetooth, and cellphone technology.
I like Take Back Halloween's Lamarr costume, which basically comes down to "glam it up," but I'd recommend also emphasizing her genius inventor/mathematician side. So maybe a fancy-ish little black dress dress, some long gloves, a black choker (or strip of fabric ripped from an old jacket—I won't tell if you won't), and some old-timey headphones. Don't have someone you can borrow those from? A sign saying "You're welcome for the wifi" should do nicely. —Rebecca
You could be a stereotypical witch–green skin, black robes, pointy hat—on Halloween, or you could be a cannibalistic witch from Slavic folklore who lives in a house that stands on chicken legs and is surrounded by a fence decorated with human skulls. Your call.
Need more convincing that Baba Yaga's the way to go? How 'bout these three words from Take Back Halloween: Red. Flannel. Nightgown.
Baba Yaga's commonly depicted as an elderly woman with long, grey hair, a big nose (in some stories her nose sticks to the ceiling of her hut), and ratty old clothes. Luckily, that last part can be found in abundance at pretty much every thrift store in the history of mankind. Pile on a nightgown, a shawl, a wig, a headscarf, and a fake nose and walk around saying how much you like to eat children. It's Halloween, so it's totally OK. —Rebecca
Wedding Dress Batwoman
I think we’re all pretty secure in the knowledge that Batwoman, aka Kate Kane, would wear a finely tailored tuxedo were she to ever get married, but for the sake of Halloween-ha-ha’s we’re suggesting you pull out the traditional bride accoutrements for this one.
Bridal Batwoman could be done a few ways. You could don a full-on Batwoman costume and put a veil over the mask and carry flowers, or get an old wedding dress from a thrift store and attach her red bat symbol to the chest and wear a wig of her trademark red locks. No matter what, have fun with it! Make your own continuity and give Kate her happy ending. —Jill
Got some pink sneakers? A skirt suit or other light colored professional wear? Then you're on your way to dressing like gubernatorial hopeful and filibuster queen Wendy Davis, who earlier this year stood for ten hours to buy a little more time for Texas to not have one of the most restrictive abortion laws in the country. Not sure people will recognize you? Make sure to bring menstrual products for everybody, just like her supporters in the balcony of the Texas senate.
And don't forget to stand up the whole time. Come on, like your Halloween party lasts ten hours. Does your Halloween party last ten hours? Can I come? —Susana
Cleopatra is the person who tends to come to mind whenever someone says "female Egyptian ruler," but we're of the mind that Hatshepsut needs more love. She's generally regarded as one of ancient Egypt's greatest Pharaohs, though nowadays she's known less for her accomplishments than the fact that she ruled as a male. Well, kind of. Being Pharaoh was a dude's job back then—being a man was just part and parcel of the identity. There wasn't even a word for a Queen who ruled as opposed to one who was married to the King. So, while Hatshepsut maintained her female identity on a day-to-day basis, on monuments she's King Hatshepsut, rockin' the traditional false beard.
You can go all-out for the costume like Take Back Halloween does, but this list is for the procrastinators. Get a white dress, a Pharoah's headdress from any Halloween store, and some sandals, and you'll be good to go. Given how early stores start selling Christmas decorations, I'd think you might even be able to find a large decorative candy cane that you could repaint as part of your crook and flail.
Another possibility: Go as King Hatshepsut, monument version, and fake beard it up. It'll give people who think you're Cleopatra pause, and it has the added benefit of keeping your face warm on a chilly October night. —Rebecca
(picture by Steve F-E-Cameron, via Wikimedia Commons)
Welcome to Night Vale
The best thing about Welcome to Night Vale, as far as costumes are concerned, is that the only thing we know about the characters, really, is their voices. Cecil, our narrator, is described only as neither tall nor short, neither thin nor fat. Sometimes he wears furry pants. All we know about Carlos is that he has "perfect hair" that is greying at the temples. And there are other characters, like Old Woman Josie, Dana, or Mayor Pamela Winchell, who are given no physical description at all. "But we know their gender!" you protest. Oh, purely hypothetical reader, when has that ever stopped us here? This very slide has an image of our managing editor cosplaying genderswapped Carlos.
Just don't dress as Steve Carlsberg. UGH, THAT GUY. —Susana
One of the good things about being Frida Kahlo for Halloween is that her face has several instantly recognizable aspects: Her hair, for example (Take Back Halloween links us to a YouTube video that tells you how to pull it off), and her bright lipstick and prominent eyebrows. If you choose to go for the unibrow look then it means people will know who you are, and if they make a stupid joke denigrating Kahlo's appearance you're in a perfect position to tell them, hey, there's more to her than eyebrows. She was a brilliant artist and political activist, and it's not cool to make fun of how people look anyway. Step back, joker.
As for the rest of the costume, TBH suggests a long, full black skirt, hand-embroidered Mexican blouse like this one, and black or red shawl, all of which should be cheap and relatively easy to find and have the added benefit of being warm if part of your Halloween revelry takes you outside. —Rebecca
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