Friday, October 22, 2010

10 Easy Thrift Store Halloween Costumes

Each dusty item in a thrift store is a glorious Halloween opportunity. Here are 10 Easy Thrift Store Halloween Costumes you can make from items you find while thrifting.   





Good luck finding a red stripped beanie with a pom pom on top like the real character. You might have to paint on some stripes and sew a pom pom on top with a couple of quick stitches.



Tatter a cheap suit, bring as brief case. Wear zombie make-up, and if you work in an office all day you might already have the blank, soul-less stare.



Find the ugliest 80s dress in the thrift store and accessorize with a dollar-store tiara. Tease your hair within an inch of its life, don't forget your red-as-a-baboon's-ass lipstick!



Another easy one because it doesn't necessarily have to match, perfect for thrifting.


The hat might have to come from a costume store unless you're up to making one, but the rest of the accessories should be easy to find.



If you don't know what Rhythm Nation is, remove yourself from this blog and educate yourself on YouTube this instant. I will make this Rhythm Nation costume one day!



This costume is deceptive. After attempting it by combining the wardrobe of a few friends we realized it's a subtle art, not merely an amalgamation of every accessory you own. The easiest way to achieve the look is to start with a basic "Japanese Schoolgirl outfit" (skirt and button-up blouse are easy to find), then embellish the crap out of it.  Bangles, one million bows, and don't forget knee-high socks. Kawaii!


Gaga is the epitome of disposable music; bubble wrap is perfect for her look (and I'll be surprised if she hasn't worn it out before). If no one "gets it", kick them in the face with your 10-inch tall spiked heels. 




Steampunk can be as simple or complex as you want it to be. The thrift store has ample treasures to plunder for the look. The key piece is goggles spray painted gold. Wear that with anything Victorian-style and you've got it.

What are your favorite Thrift Store Halloween costumes!? And Remember:

  • Tatter the outfit and add "zombie" in front of the costume name
  • Do this and the costume will be infinitely more awesome.
  • This is the rule of Halloween. Do not question it's authority.
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14 comments:

  1. Love them all!! I'm doing a costume post next week and several, including my daughter's current costume, were pieced together from thrift stores. Those kind of costumes look so much better than the cheap store bought ones and they look just as good as the expensive ones people rent.

    ~ The Speckled Dog

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  2. Kristi- I agree completely. Store-bought or rented costumes often look incredibly cheap and the cost SO much more. Homemade and thrifted always wins!

    Can't wait to see your costume posts!

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  3. Oh my gosh, this is a good post! The Waldo one is my favorite (it would be so comfy!).

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  4. Great, imaginative post. Thoroughly enjoyed these ideas, Van.

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  5. Shoni- that means a lot coming from a visionary such as yourself! I can't wait to see/photograph/and write about the Poison Ivy costume! We'll have the best group ever!

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  6. Van, I adore this post! I've been having a Halloween bash for the past three years and I always encourage people to thrift their costumes. It's much lighter on the wallet. It oozes creativity compared to the pre-packaged costumes. And it's just tons of fun.

    Another idea to add to the list is something I'm trying out at a friend's party this year... something I like to call: "The Hipster Doofus." Think: Ill-fitting sweaters over skinny jeans or skirts over leggings, worn out Converse sneakers, thick-framed glasses, a messenger bag and unkempt hair. As for accessories, look for a good read to carry around...maybe some Kerouac. Stay in character and be as obnoxiously pretentious as possible. I'll have to let you know how it goes!

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  7. Jackie- I appreciate the kind words! Please do let me know how that costume goes!

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  8. Love the Where's Waldo! I find enough black & white striped shirts at the thrift store that a mime costume would probably be pretty easy, too.

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  9. I've actually never seen a white and red striped shirt at the thrift store...but I knew they were out there!

    A mime would be a SUPER easy last-second costume!

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  10. Great ideas! A town close to me hosts a huge Halloween parade that anyone can be in and I've convinced my 12yo to walk with me...but have yet to come up with a costume! Thanks for the inspiration--

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  11. My husband saw a fun costume last year... a man dressed as a Frenchman. Black skinny jeans, striped shirt, beret and carrying a baguette. Draw a skinny moustache on with eyeliner and you're done! Lol

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  12. Two easy ones - a detective with a belted trench coat, fedora and magnifying glass or a nerd with too short plaid pants, button up shirt, bow tie and loafers. The accessories could be really fun with this one... used science books, Star Wars lunchbox, ruler/compass/calculator. Make a pocket protector and slick hair back with gel.

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  13. Awesome collection if different designs.Lady Gaga costume is nice.

    zombie costumes

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I love reading your comments. Thank you for adding to the discussion! I always reply to any and all questions.

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