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Ten Thrift Store Halloween Costume Ideas

by Jane Lake

Thrift stores are the perfect place to buy clothing for Halloween costumes. The prices are affordable and the selection usually wide enough for bountiful creativity. Some thrift stores carry Halloween accessories as well, so you may pick up everything you need for the following costumes in one quick, economical shopping trip.

Titanic Survivor

Pin plastic seaweed and fake aquarium plants to your clothes and wear long strands in your hair. Shred the arms and pockets of an old shirt, overlay with a shredded vest and wear over tattered trousers or a long skirt with a torn hem. Wet look fabric is a bonus. Make a long necklace or belt from a thick length of hemp rope; unravel the rope ends for best effect, and attach a toy sailboat. Hot glue polished pennies or fake gold coins (bags of gold chocolate coins are great) in strategic places. A fake fish or two sticking out of a pocket completes the ensemble.

Variations: Titantic Passenger - Wear the costume described above, but add ghost or skeleton face makeup or masks.

Bee Movie Star

Make bee antenna by hot gluing small black pom-poms to black chenille stems, then hot glue the antenna to a black head band. Wear a yellow top with black tights or leggings; padding the top is optional, but you'll need to add stripes with black tape. If you're going all out, paint your face yellow with large black circles around your eyes.

Bee Keeper

Dress in khaki clothing and a wide brimmed hat. Attach netting around the hat brim. Glue fake bees all over the hat and clothes. If you have children accompanying you, dress them as bees.

Pest Exterminator

Wear old clothes and a wide brimmed hat with netting around the brim. Glue fake bugs, spiders, mice and rats to the clothes and hat; if desired, add a mousetrap complete with a fake trapped mouse. Carry a net.

Hershey's Kiss

Start with a long, baggy sweat shirt with a ribbed hem that pulls in fairly tightly around the bottom of your hips. Pad the shirt in the shape of a Hershey's kiss and cover with strips of aluminum foil tucked in and stapled or glued at the hem and neck. For a French Kiss, add a French beret.

Toy Story Woody

A yellow, or yellow-plaid shirt, overlaid by a black-and-white cow patterned vest, is the signature look for this Toy Story cowboy. Buy a short black or white vest and paint on contrasting patches in a random black-and-white pattern; wear over a yellow shirt. Add bright blue jeans or blue pants, thrift store western-style cowboy boots, and a brown or red straw cowboy-style hat. Tie a red bandanna around your neck, and add a western style belt or toy gun holster.

 Alice in Wonderland

For Alice, you will need a light blue dress with a full skirt, overlaid with a white apron. Wear an extra large black bow in your hair and white ankle socks with black shoes.

Mad Hatter

Make or buy a top hat for the Mad Hatter, then attach a playing card to the hat brim. Buy a long, pocketed jacket at the thrift store - in plaid, or the brightest color you can find, and a vest in a contrasting color. Make a huge bow tie from a rectangle of bright patterned fabric cinched together in the middle and wear it around your neck.

Gulliver and Lilliputians

Buy a white, ruffled shirt with long, full sleeves. Cut long pant legs off six inches below the knee; cinch just below the knee with a circle of elastic. Wear long white knee socks, overlapped by the knee breeches. Make old-fashioned shoe buckles by cutting out two rectangles of cardboard with two rectangular holes inside; cover with gold foil or paint gold. Finally, run thin rope over your shoulders and around your middle; attach small doll figures to the rope as Lilliputians trying to tie you down.

Dog's Dinner

This one doesn't require any shopping at all - you just need a very large, empty dog food bag. These come in jumbo sizes to fit an adult; smaller sizes would work for children. Wear a brown or black track suit. The top of the bag will probably be cut right across; if not, cut a straight line as close to the top as possible. Cut leg holes in the bottom of the bag. Make suspenders to go over your shoulders from transparent tape or ribbon. Hot glue the suspenders to the top of the bag. Wear a couple of bone shaped cookies in your hair.

Jane Lake is a published magazine writer and editor of the popular free craft site, at which offers dozens of free Halloween crafts, activities, recipes and costumes ideas at  



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