"These are for the trick-or-treaters who are up for a quick costume, and for the adults who want to join in on the fun," says Mary Kate McGrath, a Real Simple senior editor.
A few of the ideas: Wear a white chef's hat and apron and carry an iron (real or toy). What are you? An iron chef.
Tape a $1 bill to each ear to be a buccaneer.
On a black T-shirt and pants, make a line of dashes with white duct tape, starting at a bottom pant leg and ending at the shirt neckline, to simulate highway-lane dividing lines. Fasten a plastic fork across the dashes on the shirt to be a "fork in the road."
For children, attach small stuffed cats and dogs to the outside of an open umbrella for it to "rain cats and dogs." Or dress the entire family in athletic clothes and sneakers and hand everyone a musical instrument to become a "band on the run."
"I like that one because you get to stay cozy," says McGrath.
For more elaborate but still quick-to-make costuming, turn to the pages of Martha Stewart Halloween, which this year features Stewart decked out as a giant moth. Hers and other costumes, such as the Vanishing Man and a Teen Werewolf, pay tribute to classic B movies.
While each costume comes with instructions, Marci McGoldrick, editorial director of Holiday & Crafts for Martha Stewart Living, says details can be used separately or for inspiration. For example, the werewolf's claws are press-on nails that have been trimmed pointy and painted black - you also could use them for a vampire or witch's costume.
These costumes use clip art and templates downloaded from the Martha Stewart Living website.
"I think a lot of adults don't like to do the full costume," McGoldrick acknowledges.
The website also has ideas for Halloween decorations, games, treats, and candy bags, including a brown-bag broom for candy favors.
For trick-or-treat bag ideas, the October issue of Better Homes & Gardens includes a decorated paint can and plastic beach pail. Its most functional idea: Glue a ghost cut from a sheet of white foam to a reusable grocery bag, preferably black.
"It's all about inspiration," says Bridget Sandquist, Better Homes & Gardens' editorial director for Holiday & Celebrations. "Hopefully, our ideas will trigger something [for readers], and they can make it their own."
If decorating for Halloween seems overwhelming, focus on the front door and the fireplace mantel, says Sandquist. She recommends decorating with what's at hand to create focal points on the mantel and throughout the home - candlesticks with white or black tapers, vases filled with autumn color, and glass jars brimming with Halloween candy. Throw in a few paper bats hung by lightweight fishing line.
To give a quick holiday lift to the front door, hang butcher paper and let kids decorate it with colored markers, says McGrath. That also works as a table runner, and keeps children busy. A step further: Fill white balloons with helium and draw ghostly faces on them. Attach the balloons to the butcher paper, or add string and hang them from outdoor lights and the door handle.
For some, it's not Halloween without a carved pumpkin. McGrath suggests sticking silver bulletin-board tacks into a pumpkin to design a face, house numbers, or any abstract shape.
"It's very glisten-y and fancy," says McGrath. "And it takes about three minutes."
Her other pumpkin-decorating ideas: Cover real or craft-store pumpkins with metallic paint, which comes in spray cans.
Dina Manzo, a former cast member of the TV show Real Housewives of New Jersey and host of HGTV's new Dina's Party, likes her pumpkins to sparkle. She combines real pumpkins with faux, decorating them similarly with crafting rhinestones, studs, and spikes. Craft stores sell these supplies in kits; for example, you can find rhinestone spider stickers.
"You don't have to carve anymore," says Manzo. Plus, if using hard-foam craft pumpkins, "you can add to your collection every year."
As for the fly costume, it can be bought, but just as easily made. There are lots of ideas posted online, and most include dressing in black from head to toe and bending wire - in some cases, a clothes hanger - into the shape of fly wings. Cover them with black panty hose, then attach them like a backpack with black ribbon.
Family Fun magazine's website posts excellent images on how to do this for a "fanged fly" costume.