What else do you have tucked away in your closet from past Halloweens? Have you been involved in theater productions, LARPing, SCA, theme weddings, science fiction/fantasy conventions or Renaissance Faires? You may have the raw material for a new costume.
Renaissance Faire Costume
Unless you were a noble, the style of clothing changed very little for hundreds of years. Peasants in 1300 didn’t look very different from peasants in 1700. If you own a Ren Faire costume, pull it out! With the addition of a few accessories or make-up (zombie pirate?), you can turn it into a whole new costume.
Pirate: The secret to a pirate costume is one word; accessorize! Dig out your swords, earrings, hats, vests, hooks, eye patches, sashes, peg legs, parrots, etc. Eye liner is optional.
Patsy from Monty Python and the Holy Grail/Spamalot: Just add coconut shells and practice making the hoofbeat sounds.
Gulliver: Tie pieces of string all over your body and hang green army men or any small figurines you happen to have off of each string. (Jim won the office Halloween party that year).
Character from Castleville/Minecraft/Catan/Whatever: You’re the one who plays it. You know what you need.
Plague victim: Paint your fingers and toes black and add disgusting black lesions on your face (see photo).
Post-apocalyptic survivor: After the whole world goes kablooey, people will have to revert back to largely hand-made clothes and tools, with just a few bits of whatever technology survives The Big One. Put on your basic peasant outfit and add some cobbled-together high-tech gadgetry to tell the story.
Time Traveler: Mix-and-match costume pieces from different places and time periods to give the look of somebody who doesn’t quite fit in anywhere. Steampunk goggles and random hand-held gadgets complete the effect.
Of course, there’s always The Hobbit/Lord of the Rings/Game of Thrones/Once Upon a Time.
If you have a Lab coat, or can borrow one
You could be a doctor, lab tech, scientist or….
Mad scientist: Bug out your eyes and laugh maniacally.
Variations on the Mad Scientist theme:
Mad scientist whose brilliant experiment failed: shred/tatter/burn your lab coat, glue broken bits of wire and circuits and whatnot all over it; cover your face with soot, style hair straight up and spray in place. Carry blown-up scientific gadget as a prop. (Credit goes to our friend Russell for this one.)
Mad scientist whose experiment went horribly awry: Add a monster or insect mask to costume.
Doc Brown (Back to the Future): Add crazy hair and a Hawaiian shirt.
The Nutty Professor (Jerry Lewis): Add black frame glasses, bow tie and buck teeth.
Dr. Horrible: Add goggles and rubber gloves. And sing.
Professor Utonium (Powerpuff Girls): Black pants, white shirt, black tie, pocket protector, pens. Get three of your friends to dress up as the Power Puff Girls.
Professor Hugo T. Farnsworth (Futurama): Glasses and bald cap. Or, just be old.
Rocky Horror Picture Show (Brad or Janet): Wear lab coat and underwear. The most boring white granny/grandpa underwear you can find. Brad also wears white tube socks.