7 totally last-minute DIY Halloween costumes that scream Philly

Unlike Agholor, Trashy Street, Mike Scott Hive and more.

halloweencostumes-main
DANYA HENNINGER / BILLY PENN
layla

No need to worry if you just got invited to a Halloween party and don’t have a costume. We’ve got you covered.

This is our annual how-to guide for quick, cheap, Philly-themed costumes — and also a story of how a newsroom came together to make Halloween magic.

What you are about to read was made possible because Brad in facilities let Billy Penn use a hot glue gun and helped us color print after-hours; because the volunteers working to raise money for our non-profit parent were gracious when we got too rowdy near their fundraising calls; because reporters from WHYY, PlanPhilly and The Pulse were willing to don random clothes covered with DIY crafting.

In the end, we’ve come up with this guide for seven awesome Philly costumes you can make in an hour for around $25 or less.

Hakim “Unlike Agholor” Laws

halloweencostumes-01
DANYA HENNINGER / BILLY PENN

Hakim Laws became a West Philly hero when he literally caught babies being lowered out the window of a burning building — and then gained fame when he made a dig at Eagles player Nelson Agholor in describing his heroics. Hakim, a former firefighter and military veteran, is currently experiencing homelessness, and you can contribute to his GoFundMe account here.

He deserves to memorialized this spooky season and we’re here to help you do it.

What you’ll need:

  1. An Eagles shirt, $17.50 from the Lids Locker Room at Macy’s (or probably less at Five Below)
  2. A silver or white paint marker, $3.99 from A.C. Moore
  3. Construction paper, $2.49 from A.C. Moore
  4. Baby doll, $10.49 from Target
  5. A hot glue gun or sturdy tape
  6. Scissors

How you’ll do it: 

Use the paint marker to write “UNLIKE” and “AGHOLOR” on the back center of your Eagles shirt. Cut flames out of construction orange and red paper to represent the burning baby from which Hakim caught babies and hot glue them or tape them to the sides of the shirt. Carry around your baby doll and have fun at the party. (Bonus: Make it a partner costume by having one person dress as the baby instead of the doll.)

Spotted Lanternfly

halloweencostumes-02
DANYA HENNINGER / BILLY PENN

These invasive, nearly blind insects swarming Pennsylvania have inspired local horror films, so they’re a no-brainer for an extra creepy costume. We can’t help you create toxic poop, but we can help you create a pretty cute version of a spotted lanternfly.

What you’ll need:

  1. White angel wings, we got ours from an accessories store on South Street for $10
  2. Black construction paper, $2.49 from A.C. Moore
  3. Red felt, $1 from A.C. Moore
  4. A black sharpie, about $2 from Staples, A.C. Moore, Target, etc.
  5. Hot glue gun

How you’ll do it:

Start by cutting out two big red spots to go under each wing. Cut larger, similarly shaped pieces of black construction paper for each wing. Hot glue the felt on top of the construction paper. It should look half red, half black. Use the black sharpie to draw sporadic spots and dots all over your wings. Then hot glue your big red and black spots under each wing. If a halo came with our wings, fashion them into antennae by cutting it in half and crushing the garland into two balls.

Trashy Philly Street

halloweencostumes-03
DANYA HENNINGER / BILLY PENN

Mayor Kenney recently recalled a simpler time in his childhood, back when people picked up after themselves and the city was cleaner. He conveniently omitted that the city enjoyed regular street cleaning back then. The fact is that Philadelphia’s litter problem is out of control, making a trashy Philly street is an extremely pragmatic and relatable costume.

What you’ll need:

  1. A solid color shirt. We recommend black because, street.
  2. Trash
  3. Black and orange construction paper, $2.49 from A.C. Moore
  4. A black sharpie, about $2 from Staples, A.C. Moore, Target, etc.
  5. A stapler or hot glue gun

How you’ll do it:

Literally attach trash to your shirt by stapling or hot gluing it to your shirt while it’s not on your body. Include a pothole or two by cutting a wiggly circle shape out of black construction paper, scribbling on it with a Sharpie, and adding an orange Awareness Code for extra accuracy.

Andre 3000

halloweencostumes-07
DANYA HENNINGER / BILLY PENN

While not from Philadelphia, rapper and actor Andre Benjamin aka Andre 3000 has been spotted around the city a ton because he’s filming a television show here. He’s always photographed here wearing overalls and playing a flute so that’s the version of 3 Stacks that we’re advocating for.

What you’ll need:

  1. A black shirt
  2. Overalls, we got ours for $18 from Buffalo Exchange
  3. A “flute,” $1 from the Dollar Tree
  4. Sunglasses for extra cool

How you’ll do it: 

Put on the clothes, toodle your flute and enjoy!

Hipster Gritty

halloweencostumes-06

DANYA HENNINGER / BILLY PENN

Gritty may only be just over a year old, but the mascot is an instant classic costume. The question is how hard do you have to work to do it — and the answer is not very. Starting with this base, you could take it any direction. Apply more or less yarn to your taste, throw in some orange gloves, wear matching orange pants, get fancy with a top hat or other accessory.

What you’ll need:

  1. An orange t-shirt, $5 from A.C. Moore
  2. Orange yarn, $3.50 from A.C. Moore
  3. Giant googly eyes, $2.49 from A.C. Moore
  4. Some old sunglasses
  5. Hot glue gun
  6. Scissors

How you’ll do it: 

Wind up a long piece of yarn loosely around your hand. Put an appropriate amount of hot glue on your orange t-shirt and press the top of the looped yarn onto the glue. Cut across the bottom of the yarn to loose the ends. Repeat this process as much as you’d like.

Hot glue the googly eyes to the sunglasses. We recommend adding a little duct tape to the back as well, for extra security. You should definitely wear the sunglasses on your face for photos and added effect, but when you, ya know, want to be able to see, throw them on top of your head. It’ll still look like Gritty eyes.

Mike Scott Hive

halloweencostumes-05
DANYA HENNINGER / BILLY PENN

It may be his first full season with the Sixers, but Virginia native Mike Scott has already solidified himself as a hometown hero and an honorary Philadelphian, even if he was a fan of the wrong team that one time. His fan club is unofficially known as the Mike Scott Hive. This can be an individual costume, a partner look or a group project!

What you’ll need:

  1. A Sixers shirt, (again, you should already have one but, if not), $22.99 from Target or less from Five Below
  2. Black pants
  3. Yellow tape, $3 from Walmart
  4. Bee wings, $10 from A.C. Moore
  5. Bee antennae, $4 from A.C. Moore

How you’ll do it:

Place the yellow tape around the legs of your black pants to mimic the colors of a bumble bee. Pro-tip: Put the pants on first so the tape doesn’t pop off. Gear up in your Sixers shirt, bee wings and antennae and you’re ready to go. If a partner or group costume, one person can dress as Mike Scott in the Sixers gear and the other(s) can be bees. In which case, you may want to throw some tape on a black top as well.

A Citywide Special

halloweencostumes-04
DANYA HENNINGER / BILLY PENN

Is Philly’s famed shot-and-beer combo one drink or two? And does that matter? We’re not here to debate the philosophy of it all. We’re here to help you be a Citywide Special for Halloween.

What you’ll need:

  1. An airplane bottle of whiskey, $5 from the PLCB
  2. A printed PBR logo
  3. A solid colored t-shirt
  4. A lanyard (optional)
  5. Tape

How you’ll do it: 

Tape the PBR to your shirt, attach the airplane bottle to the lanyard, string around your neck and partayyyy.

 

Thanks for reading another Billy Penn story

Seems you’re the kind of person who really digs in. Want more? Sign up for our free morning newsletter, the easy way to stay on top of Philly news.

Thanks for reading Billy Penn

Like the story above, everything we publish is powered by our members. If you enjoy reading, join today: Just $5/month makes more difference than you’d think.

Thanks for reading! We need you.

Reader donations power our newsroom. If Billy Penn helps you feel more connected to Philly, we’d love to count you as a member. Will you join us?

Lock in your support

Reader support powers our newsroom. A monthly membership helps lock it in.

Can we count on you as a Billy Penn sustainer?

Winning the local journalism game

Thank you: Member support powers our newsroom.

Know someone else who might like our work? Invite them to sign up for our free morning newsletter.