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6 Simple Halloween Costumes That Only Need a Shirt

10/15/2019 by Kyle Greco

Spooky season is in full swing, and for many people, it’s time to show off their creativity and love for all things Halloween. Meanwhile, it’s time for the rest of us to tear our hair out trying to figure out what costume we’ll cobble together this time. 

On one hand, it shouldn’t be mandatory to create some Broadway-level costume year in and year out. On the other hand, maybe you don’t want to be a downer or come off as too cool to play dress up. 

Before you start banging your head against the wall trying to think of some half-decent idea, along with how you’ll find the time to go to the store and piece it together, we have good news.

Custom Shirts Make Easy DIY Halloween Costumes

All you need is a shirt.

It’s so simple it almost sounds stupid, but it’s not. Going this route might not ever win you a Tony for costume design (or, let’s be honest, a “best costume” award at the town parade– those are for kids you dweeb) but it will get people at your party to do one of the following:

A) Laugh
B) Think you are clever
C) Laugh and think you are clever

And that’s what we all want, right? So, we’ve hand-picked a few easy Halloween costume ideas that you can complete with just the right shirt. 

You can put as much (or as little) effort as you want into these, but you most likely have the other pertinent components hanging out in your closet, anyway. 

1. Vote for ‘Pablo’


His name is definitely Pablo, right?


It’s October, and besides the temptation of candy around every corner, that means someone, somewhere is out on the campaign trail. 

They could be a preppy incumbent going through the motions of securing another term in power, or they could be a soft-spoken yet courageous Mexican transfer student running for the illustrious office of class president. 

With such disparate candidates, maybe this should be the year you wear a costume that throws your support behind one of them, or y’know, screams “Tina, come get some ham!” 

Start with a white ringer T-shirt. Then, add “VOTE FOR [YOUR CANDIDATE]” in a classic font, say, Cooper Black in red. Combine that with your oldest pair of high-waisted, no-stretch jeans, tuck them into your snow boots– ahem, “moon boots”– and voila! You’ll be ready to dance your heart out to “D-Qwon’s Dance Grooves” at the next school assembly er, Halloween party. We won’t advise you on whether to get a perm, though.

To use this design as a template, click the image or get started here.

2. Ceiling Fan


Remember the classic fight movie “Ceiling II?”


Dad joke enthusiasts of all ages will opt for this classic Halloween gag. Whether you love puns or hate sports, this one is sure to get exactly the reaction you’re looking for from your fellow partygoers. 

The key to this costume is to make sure your shirt expresses your vehement support for ceilings. Let’s be honest: “go ceilings” written in permanent marker on an undershirt will get the point across, but isn’t likely to impress anyone. A little more effort (and really, we mean just a little) will go a long way. Start with a shirt color that’s easy on the eyes, like Carolina Blue, and contrast it with text in a bolder, harsher color, like red. 

What that text says is up to you. “YOU CAN DO IT CEILING” is a strong option, as is “HERE WE GO CEILING HERE WE GO.”  “C’mon, Ceiling!” could work in a curvy, retro font. 

The one we suggest, however, pays tribute to a Philly legend and his fight against one Apollo Creed. While we can’t promise that putting “WIN ‘CEILING’ WIN” will give you the eye of the tiger, but we do think it will make you 75% more likely to scream “Adriaaannnnn” until your friends call you a cab.

To use this design as a template, click the image or get started here.

3. Grateful Dead


Don’t Fear The Reaper. Wait, wrong band.


While the previous dad joke is certainly a classic, this one can help you achieve a new dimension of paternal understanding. This DIY costume is sure to open the fatherly third eye of everyone who comes into contact with you, because it’s both a dad joke and an homage to every dad’s favorite jam band. 

The first step is to figure out how you’re going to give thanks. A phrase on a sign or shirt will get the point across. The wording could be something like “I Appreciate You,” “Thanks for Everything,” or “Please accept my vehement protestations of gratitude.”  If you’re looking for a more distinctly millennial (and extremely online) approach, just go with #blessed. 

Which font you use doesn’t matter as much as making sure it’s readable. You want the dads to see it, after all.

The next step is to make your head look literally dead. You’ll need a Touch of Grey for this, so start by not sleeping or washing for a day. Play the 35-minute version of “Fire on the Mountain” on repeat to really get in character. 

If that doesn’t make you look like enough of a zombie, or if you just aren’t that dedicated to the craft of being a saucebox, borrow some costume makeup from Karen, who’s going as Mr. Mistoffelees for the 13th year in a row. She has more than enough black and white face paint to make you look like a Friend of the Devil!

To use this design as a template, click the image or get started here.

Boss-Approved Easy Halloween Costumes for Work

The second half of our list was made with the workplace in mind. You know, where you’re reading this list. We dreamed up a few clever ideas for office-friendly costumes that are sure to get laughs without ruffling any feathers. These are the costumes that are easy enough to change into in a cramped bathroom stall, but also comfortable enough to wear all day.

4. Pumpkin Pi


This will make you look like a QT3.14.


The last traces of summer will be long gone by October 31st, to be replaced by the enticing fragrance of pumpkin spice lattes in the air. 

Ever the traditionalist, you want to help the people remember the true origins of the PSL’s timeless flavor. At the same time, you like it if everyone could keep your affinity for math at the forefront of their minds.

If this sounds like you, look no further than this costume idea. An orange long-sleeve shirt  adorned with the pi symbol will make everyone you see say, “we get it, you like numbers and desserts made from autumnal gourds.”

To use this design as a template, click the image or get started here.

5. Fork in the Road


Hope you have a spare tire.


This costume idea follows the old Halloween adage “when in doubt, use wordplay.” 

That’s not actually a thing (yet) but it is a good fallback plan for anyone stumped on what costume to wear. Our studio has tons of art to create designs with, including numerous road and fork graphics. If you fancy yourself an adept artist, you can always use your own software and upload your creation easily, but a simple idea like this doesn’t need much more than clipart. 

The best way to create this look is to start with a black shirt and a few vertical lines in yellow or white. Then choose the fork clipart that speaks to you the most. Should you put it in the left or right lane? That’s for you to decide.

To use this design as a template, click the image or get started here.

6. Green with Envy


Your friends are going to be, like, so jealous.


The “Green with Envy” costume idea exists at the perfect intersection of low effort and high concept. Sure, some people will say it’s a lazy idea that’s been done before, and others will say it’s a cop-out. 

But that’s when you hit them with a postmodern analysis of the role of Halloween costumes in American culture. Say something like “aren’t all costumes a form of envy?” or “We only dress up because we’re dissatisfied with our real lives, man.” That’s sure to make them wish they never razzed you for your costume, or even talked to you at all!

Okay, maybe refrain from saying any of that if you don’t want to be the most hated person at the function. 

The truth is that this costume idea is ultra-simple to put together, and probably the most comfortable to wear out of the bunch listed here. It needs no face paint, no math degree, and no jam band expertise. There are basically no constraints to this, so long as the shirt is green and says “envy.” 

That’s what makes it the perfect last-minute Halloween costume idea– it’s as customizable as you want it to be. Want to paint your face green? Great! How about throwing on a green wig? Sure, wear ‘em if you got ‘em! The essence of the look lies in the shirt, and that’s all you need to bring a smile to partygoers’ faces. 

It also makes an excellent idea for a couple’s costume. One of you should bring the green, and the other can bring the envy.

To use this design as a template, click the image or get started here.

There you have it: six creative costume ideas centering around a cleverly designed shirt. Even if Halloween isn’t your favorite holiday, you’re sure to enjoy wearing one of these ideas. 

About the Author

Kyle Greco Kyle Greco is the resident writer at RushOrderTees, where he blends word nerdery with his love for T-shirts. A graduate of The College of New Jersey, he is interested in exploring the intersection of clothing and culture. In his spare time, he makes music, builds guitars, and cooks with his wife. He enjoys hot dogs, sports, and collecting too many hats.