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Study abroad : Once you arrive

5 Easy, last minute Halloween costumes

5 easy, cheap but brilliant Halloween costume ideas for the last minute.

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As we have seen, Halloween celebrations vary from country to country. While some celebrate the more traditional aspects and focus on the historical or religious meanings, other countries use the occasion as an excuse to dress up in scary costumes and go to parties. However, putting a killer costume together can be difficult for some, for the following reasons:


  • 'I haven’t got time, I’m fully immersed in academic work by the time the end of October comes.’
  • 'I’m not a Fashion or Textiles student, neither am I good with creating things with my hands.’
  • ‘I don’t normally celebrate Halloween in my home country, or I don’t usually dress in costumes.’
  • 'It costs a lot of money to rent a costume or buy the materials for a convincing costume.’


An eye-catching costume can be an excellent ice-breaker when speaking to new people, and ensure you’re remembered for all the right reasons. Not dressing up can give others the impression that you’re not very sociable so be careful. Plus, dressing up in silly costumes is fun and gives people an idea of your interests, leading to new friendships! The costume doesn’t necessarily have to be scary either; any recognisable television, film or literary character in popular culture will do, provided that it's original and something a little different. So below, we suggest some simple Halloween costumes which you can put together quickly and on a budget:


‘Patrick Bateman’ from American Psycho

Who? Lead character from the film, American Psycho, played by Christian Bale.

What you need: Suit, black gloves, headphones.

Extras: PVC raincoat, with fake blood.

How? We recommend students take at least one formal outfit with them when they study abroad for any such occasions which arise (university-affiliated gatherings, social occasions etc.). Buying a brand new outfit – when you already have one at home – is a waste of money. To replicate Christian Bale’s yuppie serial killer, men can don their suit (black, grey or blue) with black gloves, and accessorise with audio headphones. A cheap PVC raincoat can be bought online too, and smeared with fake blood.

For students of: Business and Management


Patrick Bateman - American Psycho

Image courtesy of Lions Gate Entertainment



‘Shaun’ from Shaun of the Dead

Who?  Lead character from the film, Shaun of the Dead, played by Simon Pegg

What you need: short-sleeved (or long sleeves rolled up) white shirt with a small red stain, dark pants, red tie

Extras: Cricket bat

How? Again, make use of any formal attire you have with you. Alternatively you can buy these for a reasonable price at supermarkets and discount shops/stores (plus, you’ll likely be able to use these again, so see it as an investment of sorts!). The red tie and small red mark on the shirt are the main features, the latter of which you can make with a red pen, lipstick or even ketchup! Get a cricket bat, as used by Shaun to fend off the crowds of oncoming zombies, though if you’ll be going out, it might be more of a nuisance to carry (they can be quite heavy).

For students of: Film & TelevisionMedia


Shaun of the Dead

Image courtesy of Universal Pictures



‘James Bond’

Who? Lead character of one of the most popular film franchises ever, 007 has been played by the likes of Sean Connery and Daniel Craig through the years.

What you need: Suit or tuxedo, bowtie.

Extras: Toy gun (with a silencer), martini glass.

How? While a tuxedo suit is preferable, a suit in black or grey will do too. It’s all in the small details which make the difference. Slick your hair back with hair putty, and carry a plastic martini glass (you can buy as a set or individually from most shops which sell party or dining utensils). A toy gun will do, though a silencer will make it more stylish, just as Bond would have.

For students of: Engineering & Technology



Little Red Riding Hood

Who? Character from the popular children’s fairy tale.

What you need: Red linen or cape, red lipstick, wicker basket.

How? All it takes is one piece of material to pull off a look if it’s instantly associated with a well known fictional character. Once you have the red cape (available from most linen shops) to wrap around your head and shoulders, you’re pretty much done! Dig into your (or your friends’) make-up kit for a rich red lipstick, and pick up a wicker basket for cheap from a charity shop.

For students of: Veterinary Medicine



‘Marion Crane’ from Psycho

Who? Lead character from the film Psycho, who is famously killed by Norman Bates in the shower, and is played by Janet Leigh.

What you need: Large white towel or shower curtain, water spray, fake blood.

How? Wrap the towel or shower curtain around you (rather than wander around in the nude). You’ll need to keep your hair looking wet as if you've just come from the shower; you can replenish this look by splashing water on yourself throughout the night, from a tap in the toilet, or keeping a spray bottle of water close by. Finish off with some fake blood on your collarbone.

For students of: Travel & Hospitality 



Image courtesy of Universal Studios



Read more:

How students celebrate Halloween around the world

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