Minimalist Halloween Costume Ideas for Travel?
September 28, 2023 9:43 AM   Subscribe

I am going to be living out of a suitcase for a month (with no access to stores), and during that time I will be going to a Halloween party and will need a costume. Help me brainstorm a costume that is very light and packable?

In case it helps, I will have a basic femme wardrobe of dark-coloured clothing like long-sleeved tees, black leggings and pants, a few scarves and some outerwear and boots. I will have access to kitchen and clean-up items, but would prefer if possible to use what I bring.
posted by nanook to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (33 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Black cat is my go to. A pair of cat ears is small and packable. If you’re feeling motivated, eyeliner whiskers.
posted by Juniper Toast at 9:48 AM on September 28, 2023 [8 favorites]

I got these clip-on devil horns once and called myself "devil in disguise". If you are packing a blue dress, you can be "devil with a blue dress on."
posted by FencingGal at 9:51 AM on September 28, 2023 [2 favorites]

Undercover cop: just flash your library card quickly as you explain.

Wear all the black clothes you have and go as Night, or possibly as The Extra Hour Of Sleep You Get Thanks To Daylight Saving In The Fall (with a paper clock around your neck, set to 2:00).
posted by wenestvedt at 9:55 AM on September 28, 2023 [1 favorite]

Cat ears and cat eye costume glasses and a black tail pack up small? If you want to look slightly more costumed than the ears and painted-on nose & whiskers.
posted by clew at 9:56 AM on September 28, 2023 [2 favorites]

My first thought was black cat. Walmart (and many other places) makes a little kit that has ears, a tail and sometimes a bow tie. Cheap black eyeliner pencil to draw whisker and color your nose. Done.
posted by kathrynm at 10:08 AM on September 28, 2023 [2 favorites]

Wear all black and a witch hat (bonus if you have a long black skirt but not necessary). Add whatever makeup you want, if you want.
posted by edencosmic at 10:15 AM on September 28, 2023 [2 favorites]

If you have enough brown clothing, with a little foil wrapping (or simply a chocolate bar) you can go as Chocolate.
posted by nat at 10:17 AM on September 28, 2023 [1 favorite]

I don't know how you feel about Twilight, or the meme-ification of Twilight, but you can go as a vampire real easy. I suppose you can get contacts if you really want, but you can sell the look just with an all-over-your-face highlighter. This one is nice and loud. You can wear your normal clothes.
posted by phunniemee at 10:17 AM on September 28, 2023 [3 favorites]

One time I wore black, put two stripes of yellow tape down my front, and taped matchbox cars like they were driving on a road, maybe with duct tape? But colored tape plus your preexisting clothes can open up a lot of options.
posted by mskyle at 10:29 AM on September 28, 2023 [2 favorites]

For a party this might not be the first choice, but I’d do it. I have done this for years door to door in a walkable setting with trees: grab a leafbag, cut eyeholes and armholes, grab or borrow a rake. If you have time, first cut the top and flip it so it becomes like a box on top, fill with leaves.

Then go around asking for leafblowers to bring with you to hell.

I have also just cut the holes, no rake or flip. When people ask whats up - you say “I’m a leaf bag!” and that usually works to keep the good times going.
posted by drowsy at 10:36 AM on September 28, 2023 [2 favorites]

OMG Undercover cop is genius.
posted by drowsy at 10:38 AM on September 28, 2023 [1 favorite]

All black and you're "the maitre'd, do you have a reservation?"
posted by seanmpuckett at 10:47 AM on September 28, 2023 [1 favorite]

Clark Kent. Get a Superman t-shirt (or draw the S on an undershirt) and wear it under a button-up shirt. Add a fedora or trilby, glasses, a little paper "Press" pass tucked into the breast pocket of your coat and you're set.

Oh, editing to add one I did a few years back that travels well - Hunter S. Thompson. Bucket hat, sunglasses, Hawaiian shirt and a cigarette, preferably in a holder. It's fun to role-play, too.
posted by HE Amb. T. S. L. DuVal at 10:49 AM on September 28, 2023 [1 favorite]

All black and you're "the maitre'd, do you have a reservation?"

Or bring a pad of paper, pen, apron, and a small tray -- and you're a waitron. You even have a place for your drink & snacks! (Just don't agree to carry stuff for other guests.)
posted by wenestvedt at 10:55 AM on September 28, 2023

I knew a guy who wore as his costume a brown contractor-grade garbage bag (with holes cut out for head and arms) onto which he had taped bits of irregularly shaped yellow construction paper.

Yes, dear reader, you guessed it. His costume was "Corn Shit."

I'm not saying you should do this. You probably shouldn't. I'm just saying that the idea is out there, and the materials for this costume could fit in your pocket.
posted by Dr. Wu at 10:56 AM on September 28, 2023

Groucho Marxist. Groucho glasses, black beret, a red star is a nice touch, cigar. Wear olive drab tee and pants, sturdy boots.
posted by theora55 at 11:17 AM on September 28, 2023

Butterfly/bat/fairy wings could all pack light and go nicely with a black outfit. I love this butterfly shawl.
posted by veery at 11:50 AM on September 28, 2023 [1 favorite]

there is a simple costume that requires a single pear with a hole in it but it might not be that kind of party
posted by elkevelvet at 11:55 AM on September 28, 2023

One of my favorites was I printed out a bunch of pictures of clocks, stuck them to the sides of my all-black outfit, and went as "Time is on My Side(s)" With bonus Rolling Stones singing as needed. Packs light- you can stash your clocks and your tape in a folder in your travel bag.
posted by SaharaRose at 1:24 PM on September 28, 2023 [1 favorite]

Rosie the Riveter.
Tape a photocopy of Freud to a slip—you’re a Freudian slip.
posted by sugarbomb at 3:00 PM on September 28, 2023

Tape a handful of nickels on the back of your shirt: Nickelback
posted by NewShoo at 5:06 PM on September 28, 2023

If you are an 80s music fan how about Robert Smith from The Cure? Oversized black sweater or dress shirt w. black jeans, teased hair, eyeliner, red lipstick (smeared a bit) and trainers with the tongue out .

example here

posted by i_mean_come_on_now at 5:43 PM on September 28, 2023

Angler fish. All black outfit, glow stick suspended on/over your head with a headband or wire. Can easily pivot from fun to sexy to scary depending on outfit choices and makeup.
posted by impishoptimist at 6:03 PM on September 28, 2023 [3 favorites]

Dark clothes, a pack of sticky gold stars from the craft store, and you’re the night sky!
posted by mochapickle at 6:38 PM on September 28, 2023 [3 favorites]

Leggings plus top plus some long scarves (or towels) equate to superhero for me: Black Widow or Black Canary or Catwoman (in black), Supergirl (in blue), etc. Just pick your favourite and if you need to, you can put together a symbol (like Superman's shield) with paper or fabric scraps and pin it to yourself.

You could also do a pirate with black leggings, black boots and a shirt of some sort (white, black, red, whatever) plus a scarf over your head.
posted by sardonyx at 9:36 PM on September 28, 2023

Tape cotton balls all over your shirt and wield a spray bottle full of water. You’re partly cloudy with a chance of rain.
posted by mochapickle at 12:53 AM on September 29, 2023 [2 favorites]

It doesn't take much more than a (fake) cigarette in a long ebony cigarette holder, a colorful scarf around your neck, and a haughty demenor to be some real.or fictional character from the early 20th century.
posted by SemiSalt at 6:25 AM on September 29, 2023 [1 favorite]

A femme option using a leaf bag: The Paper Bag Princess. You can wear whatever leggings/shirt you like underneath, cut up the top of the leaf bag to a silhouette you like (cut it off entirely for a strapless look, cut out armholes, etc), bring a sparkly headband to serve as a tiara or make one out of tin foil.
Voila! You are now the heroine of a classic Robert Munsch book.
posted by dotparker at 6:47 AM on September 29, 2023 [1 favorite]

My mind went to "TV/cartoon/comic characters with recognizable outfits".

Orange sweater and red skirt = you are Velma from Scooby Doo
Yellow T-shirt, suspenders, blue pants, hair in pigtails = you are Misty from the Pokemon cartoon
Put a blue sweater on over your usual black shirt and pants, stick a piece of paper cut into the Starfleet insignia on your shirt, draw heavy eyebrows on yourself with eyeliner = you are Spock
Red and black striped shirt, blue jeans, carry a blanket = you are Linus van Pelt

And of course, the option I have taken myself: wear a black dress on top of a white collared shirt, hair in two braids = you are Wednesday Addams
posted by capricorn at 7:47 AM on September 29, 2023 [1 favorite]

A crayon! I did this one year (yay preschool teacher). Matching leggings and top. I used letter poster stickers for Dollar Tree and put Crayola on my front and Teal on my back (or whatever color you want to be). Got a party hat from the dollar store and painted it. The clothes cost me 10 bucks and the stickers, paint and hat were another 3 or 4.

If not a cat, then a bunny...
posted by kathrynm at 11:48 AM on September 29, 2023

Get a bunch of star stickers. Wear black and stick start all over you: you’re a starry night!
posted by spindrifter at 3:12 PM on September 29, 2023

Courtesy of a joke I saw once but cannot trace back reliably to credit the original author: “Going as Former Gifted Child for Halloween and the whole costume is just gonna be people asking ‘What are you supposed to be?’ And me saying ‘I was supposed to be a lot of things.’”
posted by sugarbomb at 3:42 PM on September 29, 2023 [4 favorites]

Wear your regular black clothes and put a postage stamp on your chest. Voila, you are blackmail.
posted by MeadowlarkMaude at 10:43 AM on September 30, 2023 [1 favorite]

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