Most holidays call for dressing up in uncomfortable clothes, which is just one more reason to love Halloween: It's the one day of the year when even adults can walk down the street in their PJs and not get strange looks.
Creating Halloween costumes from pajamas is the very definition of a win-win. You get to be cozy and comfortable in your loungewear for the duration of your Halloween celebrations, and you can use sleepwear you already own instead of shelling out for a prepackaged costume that will only get worn for one night of trick-or-treating. Baby costumes, couple's costumes, solo costumes—there are tons of easy DIY ways to incorporate PJs into your Halloween plans, with no tight waistbands or itchy seams in sight.
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Do an age swap
In reality, plenty of grandparents today are more spry and well-dressed than their own kids. But the idea of dressing up as an "old person" by wearing pajamas and/or other sleepwear and pushing around a walker has been a popular Halloween costume for years, so who are we to reject tradition? It's undeniably cute when little kids, or even babies, dress up in this costume. A fluffy bathrobe over a PJ set, a pair of slippers, a white wig and a pair of glasses hanging from a chain around the neck complete the look.
Alternately, adults can create age-swapped pajama costumes for themselves. Wear your most childlike pajama set or a fuzzy onesie. Tie long hair into pigtails with ribbons or wear a colorful headband. Wear a pacifier around your neck and carry a stuffed animal.
Create a character with backstory
Some of the best Halloween costume ideas are the creative ones that take people a minute to figure out. Use pajamas as a base for a cute or silly costume that comes with an explanation.
Some ideas include:
- Overslept the alarm and late for work: Wear disheveled pajamas with a few added "workwear" elements, like someone who woke up in a panic 30 seconds ago and is frantically getting ready. For example, wear a half-tied tie around your neck, plus one slipper and one business shoe. Style your hair to give yourself bedhead.
- Kids having a sleepover: This is a fun group costume for adults who miss the joy of having sleepovers. All of you can dress in pajamas with fake braces, pretend acne and other details that make you look like tweens again. Carry props like Ouija boards, bowls of popcorn and flashlights for telling scary stories.
- Couple that has been up all night fighting: Assuming your relationship is actually solid, this could be a funny couple's costume. Wear matching PJs and give yourselves red eyes and wild hair. Come up with a pretend (silly) fight topic and continue the fight in dramatic fashion throughout the Halloween party.
Did you know?
In Japan, pajamas could be the perfect base for a “jimi” (mundane) Halloween costume. The idea of dressing up as someone in a very specific, yet mundane, costume first became popular in Japan in 2014, and now every year people dress up as things like “person who just picked up take-out” or “person who just got splashed by a bus driving through a puddle.”
So if you want to put zero effort into your costume, wear pajamas and carry around a coffee mug. Call yourself “someone who just woke up” and explain you’re very on-trend in Japan to anyone who asks.
Imitate pop culture characters
There are a bunch of easy DIY Halloween costumes that pay tribute to notable pajama-clad characters in pop culture.
- Kevin from Home Alone: For a little guy, Kevin McAllister had serious survival skills. He really earned the happy Christmas morning he got at the end of the movie. Copy his famous look in a red pajama set with green bathrobe.
- The Dude from The Big Lebowski: If you own a ratty brown robe, you're already halfway to The Dude. Finish the costume with a v-neck white T-shirt, some plaid shorts, slide sandals and sunglasses.
- A Darling from Peter Pan: Peter Pan whisks the Darling children out of their bedroom at night—so Wendy and her brothers are still in their pajamas when they discover they can fly all the way to Never Land in Disney's classic 1953 cartoon. It might be challenging to find a long white nightshirt that allows you to dress as Michael or John, but Wendy Darling's blue nightgown is a much easier last-minute costume.
- Jenna from 13 Going on 30: Adult Jenna gets to access her inner teen again during the pivotal sleepover scene. If you own a flowery pajama set, wrap a long pink scarf around your neck and give yourself a ponytail. You're instantly 30, flirty and thriving!
Need new PJs? Halloween's the perfect excuse.
If all your pajamas are really just hole-filled old T-shirts, threadbare leggings and too-short pajama pants, they might not be Halloween-costume worthy. And that means you can justify buying something new before Halloween—as long as what you buy can actually function as cozy loungewear this winter.
A whimsical adult onesie is the perfect choice. Get yourself that astronaut jumpsuit, Batman one-piece or black cat onesie that you’ve always secretly coveted and call it your costume.