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Requiring only a long sheet, eye holes or sunglasses, this ghost costume is beyond simple and has little to no assembly time.

Oct. 31 is slowly creeping up, and many students may find themselves too bogged down by studying, Zoom classes and exams to plan out elaborate Halloween costumes. But there’s no need to fear. Here are several cheap and easy JMU-and-pop-culture-themed costumes one can throw together at the last minute.

Starship food delivery robots

This year, the Starship food delivery robots have become a staple in the community. With students giving the robots name tags, helping them cross streets and a whole Instagram account dedicated totracking funny student-robot interactions across campus, it’s safe to say that the JMU community has grown to appreciate its new robotic peers.

For those looking for a creative costume that’ll steal the show, look no further. The perfect Starship costume is easy to assemble. All one needs is a white shirt, black pants and shoes, a white hat, a nametag and some wheels made out of construction paper. Walmart even has someorange bike flags that can add the finishing touch to the perfect Starbot costume. As Starship robots often travel in packs, this can be a brilliant group Halloween costume for friends, roommates and fraternity/sorority families. 

COVID-19 college student

Another easy and painfully realistic costume that one can pull out of their preexisting closet is the COVID-19 college student. All that’s required are some comfortable sweatpants, fuzzy socks, some blue light glasses, a mask and a nice blazer or dress shirt. If one wants to truly take the costume to the next level, they could carry around a laptop or smartphone with a Zoom call up and running and a Canvas discussion board in the next tab.

If one’s feeling particularly spirited, they could adapt the costume into a JMU college student adding some JMU merch and a suitcase or two to transform into a freshman who’s being forced to move back on or off campus for the fifth time this year. 

The TikTok/Instagram ghosts

TikTok and Instagram began planning for Halloween early as many users started to dress up as ghosts in sunglasses and have photoshoots. JMU had its own slew of student ghosts who took pictures across campus in preparation for spooky season. Requiring only a long sheet and a pair of sunglasses, this costume is beyond simple and has little to no assembly time.

There’s also plenty of room to get creative by changing out the sheet colors and sunglasses style to make this solo — or group costume — hilarious and memorable. 

Literally just 2020

There are few things more frightening than what has gone down in 2020 so far. With unstoppable fires, a killer virus and one of the most contentious elections to date, 2020 has made its mark on history as perhaps the worst year ever. 

For those looking to find a bit of humor in all the chaos, a 2020-themed Halloween costume could be just the solution. This costume can include anything and everything that made this year hard or memorable and is easy to personalize. One could tape a picture of Kobe Bryant and a fake government stimulus check onto their back and walk around in sweatpants and a mask. 

One could also add some flames for the Australia and California wildfires and put on some chipped nail polish and runny mascara. The only other part required is a glum expression and a general disbelief that this year has even been real. Then, voila, one has the scariest costume out there.  

The cast of “Tiger King”

“Tiger King” was one of the single most popular shows during quarantine. With a cast of bizarre and slightly eccentric personalities, there’s no shortage of Halloween costume potential.

One could opt for the “totally-not-a-killer-but-probably-a-killer” angle by dressing up as the infamous Carole Baskin with some animal prints, bright accessories, a homemade flower crown and a long blonde wig. Joe Exotic is also an easy person to parody as his look only requires some drawn-on tattoos, a strangely manicured mustache, a low-cut flannel or gaudy animal print shirt, a blonde mullet, a camo hat and some horrendous reflective sunglasses. For those who want a more versatile costume, they could also go as one of the big cats Joe keeps and sells, wearing some tiger print, paint-on whiskers with a rope or chain around the neck.

Tribute costumes 

Halloween costumes don’t always have to be funny, scary or basic. They can also be a way to honor some cultural icons — several of whom the world lost in 2020. Some good tribute costumes could be the late, great Kobe Bryant, the Wakandian superhero Chadwick Boseman or the political force that was Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Each of these people left a mark on the hearts and minds of people everywhere, and their legacies will no doubt live on for years to come. Imitation is one of the highest forms of praise, so dressing up as someone that one admires can be a wonderful way to honor their legacy — as long as it’s done respectfully.

No matter where one may be celebrating Halloween this year — with their siblings at home, on a zoom call with high-school friends or in a dorm room with hallmates — there’s no shortage of easy, last-minute costume options that can bring some fun back into this year.

Contact Alexandra Dauchess at dauch2al@jmu.edu. For more on the culture, arts and lifestyle of the JMU and Harrisonburg communities, follow the culture desk on Instagram @Breeze_Culture and Twitter @Breeze_Culture.