Check out Second-Hand and Vintage Stores and Yard Sales
One person’s junk is another person’s Halloween costume. Vintage stores are a great place to look for retro outfits. Or try second hand stores. Mix and match from different decades to get a one-of-a-kind costume. This is one time that clothes don’t have to be in perfect condition.
These same stores are also great places to look for accessories, from hats to jewellery to complete the outfit.
Don’t forget yard sales, although that requires a bit of thinking ahead. A treasure could be waiting for some imagination to bring it to life. Again, the emphasis is on costume rather than an outfit to wear to a family event, so go crazy.
After Halloween, donate articles of clothing that are in good condition back to the thrift store, to a homeless shelter or a daycare for dress up activities. Or sell it in next year’s yard sale or online.
Go Online for Used Costumes – Craigslist.com, Kajiji.ca or Freecycle.org
Check out free classified ad sites such as craigslist.com or kajiji.ca for people selling second-hand costumes. Or go onto freecycle.org and put in a “wanted” ad for a costume as well as checking what people are offering for free.
These sites are also a good way to recycle any old costumes that are still hanging around from previous years.
Use What’s Already in the Closet
Everyone has things in the closet they don’t wear, either because of poor fit or because they were mistakes. Halloween is a perfect time to get out those mistakes and play them up. Clothes that are too small for one person could make a good costume for another. Or squeeze into something too tight and go as a “Before” example.
Kids love playing dress up in adult clothing. Pull out some outfits that are past their prime and let the kids pick and choose what they want to wear. Anything goes – no matter what it looks like. In fact, the more outrageous, the better.
It doesn’t have to be a clothes cupboard. Check out the linen closet and kitchen cabinets too. Pot lids, serving spoons, and empty cans could add finishing touches to a non-traditional costume.
Set up a Swap Meet with Friends, Neighbors or Relatives – Even at Local Schools
Hold a costume swap meet. Everyone brings an old costume or old clothes that could be turned into one. Bring accessories too such as jewelry, wigs, scarves and belts to add more zing to the costumes.
Let everyone choose what they like or add a bit of excitement by doing it as a brown bag swap. Participants put everything in a recycled brown bag or equivalent and everyone takes a turn choosing a bag. Then they have to figure out how to use all or part of the goodies to construct a costume. To make it easier, give people ten minutes to do some trading back and forth.
Check with local schools to see if they’d be willing to do a swap meet as well or post notices at grocery stores, libraries or places of worship.
If none of these suggestions works, or Halloween is fast approaching, try renting a costume rather than buying one. This Halloween, make it a green one.