Fantastic, Free & Cheap Halloween Costumes

The National Retail Federation says that average per capita spending on Halloween will reach $86.79 this year among American consumers. If you don’t want to spend that much money on a costume, The Spruce has five “free or cheap” tips: Stage a costume swap, surf Freecycle for giveaways, print out a Halloween mask, or use the craft materials you already have on hand. Also consider visiting the thrift store, the site says. “They usually have tons of used Halloween costumes. You can also get really creative and find pieces of clothing and accessories and use them to create your own costume.”

Thrift-Store Halloween Costume Ideas

Stuck deciding on a Halloween costume? Lots of classic looks are easy to source at thrift stores supplied by generous donations to Thrifty, easy-to-assemble ideas for women from Ecouterre include “Sockhop Sweetie” (pleated skirt, pink sweater), “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” (chic black sheath dress, oversized sunglasses), “Hamburglar” (black-and-white striped shirt, black mask, fast-food burger), and “Valley Girl” (plaid blazer, oversized phone). Just walk into the thrift and let the inspiration strike; not only will you soon have a one-of-a-kind costume, you’ll be helping the nation’s veterans with your purchases.

Make Thrifts Your First Stop for DIY Costumes

An annual survey from Goodwill Industries says that at least one person or pet in more than half (56 percent) of American households will dress in costume for Halloween this year. And one-quarter (25 percent) of those planning to dress up will wear a “unique, one-of-a-kind costume.” What’s more, 52 percent of respondents who prefer DIY costumes say that the best place to shop for materials is the local thrift store. Whether it’s Goodwill or a thrift supplied by donations to, there’s no better place to score a unique, funny, scary or sexy getup that will wow the trick-or-treaters.

Harvest a Few Fall Deals at the Thrift

The apples are crisp, and the air is crisper … it must be fall! And there’s no better time to score a few bargains at the local thrift store. With cold weather and the biggest holidays just around the corner, you can prepare for the season without spending a lot of money — and at the same time, help fund veterans’ programs.

The first thing you’ll want to look for at the thrift is cold-weather clothing. If you need sweaters, scarves, gloves or a winter coat, you can find them on the cheap at the thrift. Likewise with blankets, comforters and throws — and if you start shopping for such items early, you’ll have a great selection of stuff from which to choose.

You may also want to add a little fall flair to your home. Try a warm color palette and a harvest theme, Midwest Living saysCorn husks, mums, gourds, leaves and pine cones are among the many natural accents that suggest the season; use them creatively and emphasize red, brown and orange hues to celebrate autumn.

Halloween closes out the first full month of fall, and many thrift stores will have lightly used or brand-new decorations from last year that people either didn’t use or are no longer using. String lights, paper skeletons, plastic lawn decorations, you name it; they all wind up at the thrift for reuse. But they won’t be there for long!

The thrift is also a great source of raw materials for your Halloween costume. In no time, you can source the used clothing and accessories needed to cement your status as a disco dude, zombie, cheerleader or pirate. For something more topical, you can pick up a dark suit and an extra-long red tie fast at most thrifts.

Whatever you find, you’ll experience the thrill of the hunt and save yourself some money while helping the nation’s veterans. Donations of lightly used clothing, housewares and accessories made to are sold to thrifts for resale, with all proceeds going directly to programs that help veterans access housing, health care and more.

So shop freely for all of your fall festivities! But don’t buy new — harvest some deals at the thrift!

(Very) Last-Minute Halloween Costume Ideas

It’s Halloween! And a few busy people, their children and diehard procrastinators, still may not have costumes at the ready. If you happen to be among those who have suddenly been spooked into action on the final morning before trick-or-treat time rolls around, don’t despair — there are plenty of creative ideas you can use to save the day.

The first stop, of course, should be your local thrift store. Often supplied by donations to, they offer an unparalleled source of last-minute inspiration at reasonable prices. Need a puffy shirt for that pirate getup? Look no further than the thrift. Or how about some acid-wash jeans for the ultimate ’80s hair-band tribute? You’ll find them here.

The thrift store also has plenty of used sheets that you won’t mind cutting eyeholes in to create the simplest of costumes — the ghost. It may even have accessories such as costume jewelry, hats and wigs that can make or break a last-minute costume. Whatever you find, the money you spend at the thrift will help fund veterans’ programs.

Those pressed for time will appreciate the concepts behind 22 Simple, Last-Minute Halloween Costumes from Real Simple. Easy to craft from basic garments and simple props, “Breadwinner” and “Ceiling Fan” costumes are likely to inspire groans for their offbeat wordplay, but no one will be able to accuse you of coming up short on a costume.

Kids will want to grab all the candy they can tonight, and no self-respecting parent or chaperone can let them go trick-or-treating as-is! If you’re suddenly scrambling to dress up a child, cover them in green balloons to go as a bunch of grapes, Brit + Co. suggests. Wrap them in two-ply to make them into a mummy. Or take them out in pajamas and a robe as your Lil’ Lebowski.

Whatever you can create at the last minute will only lend to the excitement that free candy and/or a costume party can bring. Now, get going on those costumes — and have a happy and safe Halloween!