Thrifting your Halloween costume is easy and fun, and GCC provides spook-tacular savings compared to retail prices

 As sure as the sight of leaves falling from trees, you know the fall season arrives when you witness the scurrying of people trying to find the perfect Halloween costume.

 This time-honored tradition occurs every autumn, with Americans spending around $10.6 billion on the ghoulish holiday last year alone! That’s roughly $100 per person on average, with 1 in 5 admitting to extending the costume search to their pets!

 At Goodwill Central Coast we support the time-honored and spooky tradition of dressing up and showing off! We just want you to consider a few things before you run out to that costume shop:

  • Thrifting your costume is easy and fun, and GCC stores provide spook-tacular savings, estimated to be 50-90 percent off retail prices
  • All year long, our stores have been collecting Halloween costumes and apparel so we can now unveil our Halloween BOO-tique!
  • Purchases made at your local Goodwill stores support a network of programs that create jobs and opportunities for your friends and neighbors.
  • Most retail costumes are damaged, unwanted or thrown away, leading to a huge net loss for the environment.
  • Your thrifted costume can be put together with secondhand items (a win for the environment) and then donated back to Goodwill after the big night.


 As you prepare for the big day by trying to scare up the best costume, GCC offers the following tips to help you get started:

  • Go in with an idea but keep an open mind. Brainstorm a couple of costume ideas before heading in to shop but let the inventory lead the way. Being flexible often leads to a more creative and unique costume in the end! Find a piece that inspires you, then build your costume around it. Thrift Halloween inventory is completely unique and random, and put out multiple times daily, so there is no running out of “the good stuff,” even on the last day!
  • Take advantage of Goodwill associates. During the Halloween season, our costume experts are on hand to help you bring your ideas to life. Most of our associates have done Halloween DIY for years.
  • Don’t just stay in the Halloween section. After all, “Dr. Strange’s” coat could be in the men’s or women’s coat section at the thrift store. The entire store is a treasure trove of options.
  • Buy new as well! We work hard to secure better deals on new merchandise and accessories than many other stores. Blend good prices on new with the pricing and variety of thrift and you end up with an unbeatable deal through Goodwill.
  • Consider varying the colors or style from a specific attire. This is your time to shine, so make your costume your own unique interpretation on a classic or current character or create something new of your own.
  • Remember, the best costumes don’t necessarily have to have the most pieces. A few items can lead to the costume of the year!


 Finally, here are a few specific costume ideas to get you started:

  • Hippie: Held over three days during the height of the Summer of Love in 1967, the Monterey Pop Festival ushered in the hippie era as well as the traditional rock festival. If you want to travel back in time to Monterey Pop, a vintage dress paired with a fringed vest will get you close. Add a pair of shades and a floral headband and you’ll be throwing up the peace sign as this year’s best hippie.
  • Pirate: No need to run to the big box costume store. A pirate’s cap with an eye patch and sword along with a striped shirt and boots will have you ready to walk the plank. No matter what you desire to be, Goodwill has the necessary items to have you play the part.
  • Flapper: Usher in the Roaring ’20s with a spectacular costume celebrating a bygone era. Find a black skirt (the showier the better) to pair with a black knit top and you’re on your way. GCC’s Halloween section is sure to have some long beads, gloves and a feather for your hair.
  • Nerd: Another costume option that is very cost effective would be a pair of glasses, a bow tie, plaid pants, and a pocket protector. A few items from Goodwill would form a perfect nerd costume. The amount of savings would leave the biggest number crunchers impressed.


 Regardless if you are purchasing items for that perfect costume or donating old costumes, you are making a difference in your community. By purchasing or donating items you’re helping improve the lives of people with barriers to employment. People served by Goodwill are provided the skill-building programs and services needed to find and maintain employment.  If you would like to learn more about mission services offered in your community, visit our Mission Services page.

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