10 Last-Minute Ideas for Brilliant Halloween Costumes

Getty Images
Getty Images / Getty Images

Some people dress scary. Here's how to dress scary-smart.

1. Pablo Picasso

Getty Images

Accessorize a black and white striped shirt and comfortable pants or shorts with a paintbrush and palette. Act like a ladies man.  Top with a bald cap and voila, a masterpiece!

2. Dorothy Parker

Getty Images

Dorothy Parker quipped, "The first thing I do in the morning is brush my teeth and sharpen my tongue." So that's a start. Then pull your hair back and wear a dark vintage-looking dress and sensible shoes. Accessorize with an empty martini glass and as many of these quotes as you can remember.

3. Albert Einstein

Getty Images

This look's all about the crazy hair and shaggy mustache. The clothes are, well, relative. Dress up in a jacket and tie, or just stick to a warm sweater and corduroy pants. Accessorize with a handheld chalkboard and a piece of chalk for writing equations. If you've got somewhere to go, travel by bike. Einstein never learned to drive.

4. Frida Kahlo

Museo Frida Kahlo

Go wild with color play or just stick to the basics—a long dress, shawl, braided updo, penciled-in unibrow, and optional flowers in your hair. For a greater challenge, try to recreate one of Kahlo's many self-portraits.

5. Mr. Rogers

Getty Images

It's a beautiful day for a Mr. Rogers costume. Start out in a suit and tie and exchange your jacket for a colorful, zip-up sweater. Then take off your dress shoes and slip into sneakers.  

6. Marie Curie

Getty Images

Wear a black long-sleeve, floor-length dress or shirt/skirt combo, pull back your hair, and carry a beaker of something that's not actually radioactive. If you've got chemistry (or physics) with a guy, consider asking him to dress up as Pierre Curie.

7. Gandhi

Getty Images

Party peacefully in a bald cap, white mustache, round glasses, sandals, white shorts, and a carefully draped white sheet. Add Gandhi's walking stick and lead your friends around the festivities.

8. Jane Goodall

Getty Images

Start with a sensible Gombe get-up: a solid button-down shirt, khaki pants or shorts, and sneakers. Put your hair in a ponytail and binoculars around your neck. Then comes the pièce de résistance: a stuffed chimpanzee ... or a friend stuffed in a chimpanzee costume.

9. Junot Diaz

Getty Images

Already bald, bespectacled, and goateed? Just add a black long-sleeved shirt, jeans, and a way with words. Practice your Spanish before staging a reading.

10. Marina Abramović

Getty Images

Abramović's 2010 retrospective performance "The Artist Is Present" involved sitting in a chair at the Museum of Modern Art for seven hours a day, six days a week, for a total of 736 hours. All you have to do is find a long-sleeve, floor-length black, white, or red dress, side-braid your hair, and stare at people.