Creating temporary directories is such a common thing to do that I have a base class that provides a make_temp_dir() helper method. As a result, you often don't have to define setUp() and tearDown() in your test cases at all.
I have ended up copying this into different codebases because it's easier than making the codebases depend on an external library for such a trivial piece of code. This seems to be quite common: lots of Python projects provide their own test runners based on unittest.
Here's the code:
import shutil import tempfile import unittest class TempDirTestCase(unittest.TestCase): def setUp(self): self._on_teardown =  def make_temp_dir(self): temp_dir = tempfile.mkdtemp(prefix="tmp-%s-" % self.__class__.__name__) def tear_down(): shutil.rmtree(temp_dir) self._on_teardown.append(tear_down) return temp_dir def tearDown(self): for func in reversed(self._on_teardown): func()