Find your Halloween inspiration at Goodwill, ranked highest as a spooky thrift store destination

A recent poll shows that 55 percent of Americans said either they (or someone in their household) will wear a Halloween costume this year. Nearly half say they begin shopping in the first two weeks of October!

Now that’s cutting it close!

What’s fascinating is that Goodwill ranks highest as a Halloween thrift store destination among respondents who prefer do-it-yourself (DIY) costumes and shop for materials at thrift stores. Eighty-five percent of respondents identify Goodwill as a favorite place to shop.

That’s what we’re here for — but Goodwill is so much more than our retail stores. Behind the scenes, we employ hundreds of locals in well-paying jobs with benefits. Your purchases and all their hard work pay off handsomely with our programs to remove obstacles to employment in Monterey, Santa Cruz, and San Luis Obispo counties.

So, back to Halloween, our favorite (and busiest) time of year!

That survey found respondents who plan to dress up evenly are split on costume choices for themselves — with 28 percent saying they would most like to wear costumes based on pop culture trends or characters from movies, TV shows, video games, or books; 27 percent saying they’d like to wear unique, one-of-a-kind costumes; and 25 percent favoring iconic Halloween costumes such as witches, ghosts, zombies, and werewolves.

The survey also found that people have a clear preference on the kinds of costumes they would like to see other people wear, with 36 percent saying they most like to see others dressed in unique, one-of-a-kind costumes. The second choice was an iconic Halloween costume, with 24 percent. The least favorite costume for others was a political or historical figure, with just 2 percent.

Whether you’re a regular thrifter or do-it-yourselfer, or you’re just looking for a great costume at an affordable price, Goodwill Central Coast stores provide a source of inspiration and have a wide range of Halloween merchandise to fit your needs.

Here are some simple steps to get you started.

Keep it simple

Remember, sometimes it’s smart to stick with the basics. A simple black dress can go a variety of different ways, and so can an old graduation gown. A white grad gown can be worn as either an angel or a ghost, while a black one can be used for a vampire cape. Or turn an old wedding dress into the Bride of Frankenstein (just be sure to add some holes, tears and fake blood stains).

Going as a zombie is an excellent idea if you want something simple and don’t want to spend a lot. You can buy any piece of clothing from Goodwill and then go to work with your best Hollywood makeup and design skills.

Find your base garment

Start with whatever jumps out at you, and then construct a Halloween costume around that piece. You may find your starter piece in the Halloween costume section, but be sure to circulate the entire store to find the rest of the outfit.

When it comes to accessories such as glasses (hello, Harry Potter), large handbags (instant Mary Poppins), or costume jewelry (perfect for a zombie bride), Goodwill has you covered.

Don’t forget the kids

Thrifting a Halloween costume is even smarter for the little ones because what are the chances they’ll fit into that costume next year, or will even want to go as the same thing again? Parents often donate children’s costumes to Goodwill at the end of the season, so you might even find the exact costume your child wanted, and chances are it’s only been worn once. Remember, too, that old dance costumes are perfect for fairies or princesses.

If you’re having trouble finding inspiration, head to one of our stores anyway, and ask a GCC associate for help. For many of them, this is NOT their first Halloween season and they are full of ideas to get you started!