As Halloween creeps closer by the day, the stress of finding a costume begins to crawl into our psyche.
Sound scary? It can be, especially if you wait until the last minute, wandering wide-eyed through shopping malls, or hunching over a sewing machine trying to appease persnickety kids.
Savvy costume hunters know that you can always scare up a costume at Goodwill. With 14 stores and two outlets throughout the region, Goodwill Central Coast is your one-stop shop to find new and used items to complete your Halloween look this season — at prices that won’t terrify you.
Find the greatest looks for the entire family, including your pets. It’s easy.
New Halloween costumes can start at around $30, but when you add in all the pieces and accessories, they can add up to much more. Spending all that money for one night is completely unnecessary, especially when most store-bought costumes are mass produced, making it almost impossible to enjoy your night without running into another person (or even multiple people) wearing the same exact costume.
Not only are those costumes expensive, they are mass-produced and bad for the environment. Remember, the clothing industry produces 10 percent of all humanity’s carbon emissions, is the second-largest consumer of water, and its microplastics contribute to ocean pollution.
Buying secondhand at Goodwill means you help reduce waste in landfills and positively contribute to the decrease in worldwide textile demand. Through thrifting, we can all help keep the resources already invested in clothing from going to waste.
If you want to stand out for being smart and creative, look no further than Goodwill Central Coast. Our stores have organized Halloween sections that include costumes as well as decorations. Prices vary, but it’s completely possible to get a head-to-toe costume for less than $20.
Just follow these simple steps.
Keep an open mind
As in any trip to a thrift store, you may not stumble upon exactly what you were hoping to find. However, if you remain flexible and patient, you just might find something even better.
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.
Think characters and history
How many TV shows or movies have you loved over the decades? Characters are some of the easiest costumes to make from thrift store pieces, because you can find old clothes that match the fashion of that era.
It wouldn’t be difficult to put together a Tiger King ensemble, paying homage to Joe Exotic, the colorful character from the popular Netflix documentary. When it comes to a bleached mullet you’re on your own.
History is easy. For example, the year 2020 marked the 100th anniversary of the women’s suffrage movement. A long dark skirt, a white blouse and a wide floppy hat would work, with the wearer holding a sign that reads “Give women the vote!”
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.
Your purchase does so much good
Shopping at Goodwill for Halloween can ease your mind and soften your expenses, but it helps your community as well. Goodwill trains people for careers in fields such as financial services, computer programming, and manufacturing, as well as in emerging industries such as technology and health care.
So make it a point to check out your local Goodwill Central Coast store for Halloween. It’s the fright thing to do!