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Reduce that Halloween stress by scaring up your costume in style at Goodwill

As Halloween creeps closer by the day, the stress of finding a costume begins to crawl into our psyche. And as we enter into another spooky season made spookier by the lingering pandemic, we need to really think through our costume concepts.

The good news? Savvy costume hunters know that you can always scare up a costume at Goodwill Central Coast. With 14 stores and two outlets throughout the region, GCC 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.

Remember, each Goodwill purchase helps us further our mission to remove barriers to employment and rebuild lives and strengthen families in our community. And buying secondhand at Goodwill means you help reduce waste in landfills and positively contribute to the decrease in worldwide textile demand. So relax. The clock is ticking, but don’t be so afraid to turn into a pumpkin!

Here are some practice tips to scare up a costume in style this year at Goodwill:


Keep COVID in mind

Halloween costumes actually originated from the ancient Celtic tradition of dressing up to ward off wandering spirits — so this might be the only year when doctors and druids alike agree that your costume should also help keep you safe.

One advantage this year is that cloth face masks make for excellent costumes while reducing the risk for COVID-19 transmission (combined with lots of hand-washing, social distancing, etc.). So it’s probably a good idea to incorporate a Halloween face mask into your final look. Pumpkin masks, skeleton masks, cat masks — they all work well to complement a theme. And, you’re covered if it gets crowded out there.


Seek inspiration from the source

Our Goodwill employees have seen it all. If you enter a store unsure of a direction, ask an associate to help you put your outfit together. They are full of original ideas and can help you build a one-of-a-kind costume to make Halloween come alive.

We will help make sure Halloween remains a frighteningly good experience. From classics that never fade to fun, unique originals, creating an original costume with inspiration from your local Goodwill makes you the star.


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 Cruella DeVil costume from the Disney flick “Cruella,” the Hollywood villain of the moment. Or maybe steer toward the cute with your version of Baby Yoda from “Mandalorian” fame. Or perhaps play it simple and endearing by channeling your inner “Ted Lasso,” Apple TV’s heartwarming show about an American football coach trying his hand at coaching soccer in England.

History is easy. For example, the year 2021 marks the 100th anniversary of Albert Einstein winning the Nobel Prize in physics. Find the right wig and you’re off to a great start!


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.