Thrift Store Halloween Costume Ideas

Shopping for a Halloween costume can get expensive, but it doesn’t have to be. In fact, you can easily get yourself an awesome costume at a low price.

When late October rolls around, thrift shops across the USA present us with some of the most interesting costumes, both used and packaged. They are veritable gold mines of original, creative outfits that will help you stand out during the holiday season.

But you might still be on the fence when it comes to buying costumes, or anything else really, in thrift shops. Therefore, to better explain why these are so popular, we’ve prepared a sweet little list of reasons a secondhand store will, undoubtedly, be your Halloween shopping Shangri-La.

6 Reasons to Get Your Halloween Costume From a Thrift Shop

1. Shopping at Thrift Stores Saves You Money

Halloween, much like Christmas, Valentine’s Day, and Thanksgiving, is one of those holidays that corporations and huge store chains simply love. It’s a chance to sell lots of holiday-themed merch and capitalize on the “spirit of the season.”

But that still doesn’t mean you should spend hundreds of dollars on a single costume. Some thrift stores, such as Value Village, sell adult Halloween costumes at $15 and kids’ costumes at $10. Considering that some new costumes can cost as much as $500, a thrift store is definitely the frugal solution here.

2. Green and Ethical Is the Way to Go

When you buy a used costume at a thrift shop, it is less likely to end up in a landfill, allowing you to play a huge role in keeping the planet clean and safe. Plus, lots of thrift stores donate some of their earnings to charity!

3. A Little Something for Everyone

Lots of people out there don’t know that thrift stores do sell new, packaged items like costumes. What’s more, they have the advantage of selling old, vintage stuff, as well as different accessories. You can buy frilly scarves, stylish belts, cat ears, masks, fake hair, and other stuff that can make your DIY costume stand out. In short, an average thrift store has a wide collection of clothes that can suit anyone’s taste.

4. Vintage Sportswear and Uniforms

Sometimes, you need to think outside the box when looking for a neat costume idea. Thrift shops handle lots of different outfits, including vintage school uniforms and jerseys. In addition, you can buy sports accessories such as whistles, rollerblades, and baseball caps. And if you don’t want to dress like a student, try getting an old police or military uniform instead.

5. All Eras, One Spot 

In 2020, anything can be a costume, including throwbacks to previous decades. Do you want to look like a hippie from the ‘60s or a heavy metal rocker from the ‘80s? What about rocking a zoot suit or a neat bowler hat from the pre-WWII era? Yes, you can find clothes from all of those decades in thrift shops.

6. Multiple Options From Dedicated Sellers

Thrift stores take Halloween seriously. They value it to the point where they remove regular donated clothing from the racks and only leave Halloween-themed items like costumes and props. And because so many people donate their old costumes to them, your choices are almost unlimited. If you have several thrift stores in your neighborhood, you’ve struck Halloween gold!

My Favorite Thrift Store Costumes

Over the years, I’ve have many-a-thrifty costumes. Last year I went the easy route and just bought a cheeseburger dress and called it a day, but my husband got creative with his Jayne (from Firefly) character: a shirt and pants from Salvation Army, and a knitted hat made by our friend’s mom, and a watch borrowed from our friend (the blurry one creeping in the back of the picture, haha).

However, I think every year on this blog I’ve shared at least one image of my favorite Halloween costume, an astronaut I pieced together with a child’s puffy winter jacket, a cardboard box wrapped in a white sheet, some dishwasher hoses, and a DIY shift skirt.

Jayne costume hamburger costume astronaut girl female costume

Need some thrift shop inspiration? Watch this video:

Scroll to Top