About a decade ago, I had no costume the day of a costume party. I hate not being a Halloween team player. I almost always have a costume, but that year, I’d given up; I was out of time. I was online, reading the news, when I read a piece about… I can’t even remember his name now — some corporate criminal du jour that was all over the news. Impulsively, I decided to go as him. I printed out a headshot I found online onto card stock, quickly climbed into a suit, and made a panhandling sign that read: “Will Swindle for Food.” Surprisingly, the costume was a hit. Lots of people wanted to pose for pictures with me, and in the pictures, the mask looked convincingly real. I was amazed at the compliments and attention I got, on a costume I basically threw together on my way out the door.

To do this yourself: let’s say you want to go as Christopher Walken. All you need to do us find a suitable image of him, and size it to the width of your head. Print onto thin card stock. Cut out the eyes holes and attach with elastic string. Find suitable clothing for your subject. If I were going as Walken, I’d probably wear a smoking jacket, carry a bottle of champagne, and go as his “The Continental” character from SNL. (You could also just skip the mask, wear the jacket, carry the champagne, slick back your hair, and pencil on a mustache.)

So much of a good costume is more about the cleverness of its idea, its humor, than its craft. Sure we all adore an elaborate, well-built costume, but how many times have you seen a very simple, funny costume get as much attention as one that took ages to fabricate? Here are ten costumes that you can put together in an evening (or less) that should generate a splash at your party this weekend or on Halloween night.

If you put together a last minute costume you’re happy with, we’d love to hear about it. Post up in the comments below.

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  • Jake Spurlock