Can you think outside the box?

It’s the week of Halloween and you still don’t have a costume. At this point it’s too late to go about assembling anything too elaborate, and it’s not like you really ever had the ability to fully hand-make a costume anyway. At the same time, you also pride yourself on impressing your friends with your original costumes year after year. And let’s face it – there really is no fun in buying a ready-made costume (plus that money can be put to much better use out and about on Halloween night itself).

If any of the above statements apply to you, then you have come to the right place. These are all quick and easy costumes you can assemble using one incredibly accessible object: a cardboard box.

1. Beanie Baby: This is a fairly easy costume. If you’ve ever seen the movie Mean Girls, or just gone outside during Halloween, you’ll know that a standard costume for girls is dressing for a normal night out and chucking some animal ears on. If this is what you’re planning on doing for Halloween, than why not take it just one step further so you are not just another ‘party animal’ out on Halloween night? Take your cardboard box and cut out a heart shape and colour it red. Cut out a large ‘T’ and ‘y’ out of white paper and stick on the heart. Attach some ribbon to the heart and hang it around your neck. This costume says: “I didn’t want to be a cat for the third year in a row”, and your friends will respect you for that.

2. Oh Deer: Another variation on a standard animal costume. Take your cardboard box and cut out some antler shapes to attach to your head. Dress up in all brown and then cut out a sign to hang around your neck from the box. On your sign, write a big ‘Oh’. This costume says: “I’m quirky, and I’m just not into mainstream animal costumes.”

3. Formal Apology: Dress up in your finest formal attire. Cocktail dresses, tuxes, and kilts are all appropriate for this costume. Once again, take your handy box and cut out a sign to hang around your neck. To stay on theme, write ‘I’m sorry’ in your best cursive script on the sign. This costume says: “I’m sophisticated, and I haven’t dressed up for Halloween since I was ten. Don’t come anywhere near me with face paint.”

4. Fork in the road: Wear all black. Cut out small rectangles from your cardboard and form the dotted line of a main road on your shirt. Then, take a fork and stick it in the middle of your road. This costume says: “I’m funny, I swear. Please laugh at my jokes.”

5. Fridge Magnet: This is another way to take a common costume to another level. If your cardboard box is slightly smaller, along the lines of a shoebox, colour the entire box black. Attach it to the back of your standard costume – whether it’s another animal variation/devil/Western person/skeleton – and now you are a life-size fridge magnet. This costume says: “I dressed up like this last year and really liked how it looked in pictures, so I just stuck with it again.”

6. Devilled Egg: Cut out an egg shape from your cardboard box. Colour it in such a way so that it resembles a fried egg. Attach the egg to your shirt, and put on some devil horns. If you’ve got a pitchfork handy, carry that around as well. This costume says: “I’m low maintenance. I’ve come to a party dressed as an egg.”

7. Pandora’s Box: This costume requires a fairly large box. Decorate your box with caution tape and ‘Do not open’ symbols. Then on the front, write ‘Property of Pandora’. Cut out holes for your head and arms, and you have your costume. This costume says: “I had a box at home, so this is my costume.”

8. Florence + the Machine: A two-person costume, and also one that requires a fairly large box. Decorate your box to look like a washing machine, then cut out holes for your head and arms. Have your friend wear flowing robes/a flower crown/a cape  (Florence wears plenty of strange things to choose from). This costume says: “We had an argument over who had to wear the box all night.”

9. Self-portrait: Cut out a frame shape using a side of your cardboard box. You can decorate the frame, and then write your name along the bottom. Hold the frame up in front of your face in pictures. This costume says: “I’m just interested in getting a good Instagram out of this.”

You can take this costume one step further by dressing up as a famous portrait and writing the name of that along the bottom of your frame instead. This slightly enhanced costume says: “I like to spend my free time in museums, but I’m also just interested in getting a good Instagram out of this.”

10. Card-BORED: The ultimate last minute, no-effort costume. Take your large cardboard box and cut out holes for your head and arms. Put the box on. Maintain an air of overwhelming disinterest all night. This costume says: “I was planning on staying in and watching a horror film while eating candy, but my friends forced me to come out tonight. I need a beer.”

And there you have it, ten different costumes that are guaranteed to get you some attention on Halloween.

  While I cannot promise that you’ll have the best costume wherever you end up, take comfort in the fact that you will at least be wearing something considered to be a costume. Regardless of which cardboard route you choose to take, you will be making a statement with your costume this year. If you feel inspired by one of these costume suggestions, I encourage you to wear your cardboard costume with pride. With the right level of confidence, even a cardboard box can make a pretty fantastic Halloween costume.

Image: Michelle Duff

Image: Michelle Duff

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