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Unleash your cursed-crafty side by creating DIY Halloween costumes with help from Goodwill

When it comes to finding the perfect Halloween costume, the devil’s almost always in the detail. If your goal is to stand out from the crowd and create a one-of-a-kind, Instagram-worthy look, unleashing your cursed-crafty side could be your answer.

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, but they are also 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.

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. Offering both creative and traditional Halloween costumes, each Goodwill purchase or donation helps more than 13,000 job seekers reclaim financial and personal independence each year.

To lend some Halloween inspiration, we’ve provided some fun ideas for DIY costumes:


Corpse Bride

Emily, the main character of Tim Burton’s famous animated film “The Corpse Bride” has become one of the most popular costumes for girls on Halloween.

The main element you’ll need is a long white dress, or wedding dress (Goodwill has you covered here). As a resurrected bride, her dress must appear somewhat torn, with rips and dirt in some areas.

For added detail, create a rip below the chest where you can see her “ribs.” Use a square piece of black cloth with white adhesive paper to make the shape of the bones. Then make a cut on the right side of the dress, sew in the square of fabric with the bones on them and you’re ready!

The bride’s hair in the film is blue. Ideally, buy a blue wig that is quite long. Or, if you have long hair, apply a blue spray that can easily be washed out.

For makeup, cover your face with blue makeup or face paint. Simulate her large eyes by using white eyeliner to draw a thick line on the lower lashes and then outline the eyes with black paint and draw very long eyelashes. Draw a scar with specialized makeup on your cheek and apply pink lipstick.

Finally, complete your costume with a bridal bouquet. Scan Goodwill for some blue and silver plastic flowers to create a small bouquet. Or spray paint them black to complete that creepy look!


Halloween Bat

Creating an authentic bat costume is quite easy, and starts with a black umbrella. If you don’t have one at home, or can’t allow yourself to sacrifice it for the right look, pick one up at Goodwill.

To create the bat’s wings, cut the umbrella in half, and attach the “wings” to a black shirt or hoodie by using safety pins or hot glue. Fasten the hinges of the umbrella pieces with black electrical tape, so you can open your wings to get the full bat effect.

To create the perfect ears, cut out shapes using construction paper, felt, or foam — and dot them with black feathers.


Clueless Tourist

Hopefully, we’ll be able to travel more in the coming year, but until then, we can always play tourist on our favorite dress-up night. If you’re an inexperienced traveler, lean into it — the more maps, fanny packs, cargo shorts, and touristy shirts (perhaps a Hawaiian look) you have, the better for this Halloween costume.

Ask a Goodwill Central Coast associate for more ideas and they’d be happy to lead you in the right direction. Bonus points if you look lost.


Snow White

You don’t need Grumpy, Bashful, or another one of the seven dwarves by your side to pull off this enchanting costume. Just find a wig, ruby red lipstick, blue shirt, and yellow skirt for a DIY costume right out of Disney.

Perfect for moms who want to accompany their kids trick-or-treating, you can dress your little ones as the dwarves to create a themed evening.

Finding the clothing components is easy and inexpensive when you shop at Goodwill. It won’t take long to find a yellow midi skirt that just screams vintage Snow White. Add a blue sweater, a collared shirt, and some yellow shoes for the rest of the outfit.

For the final touch, pick up a red ribbon at Goodwill to add a big bow to your headband. Grab a fresh apple before you head out the door to really slip into character!