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4 Last-Minute Thrift Store Halloween Costumes

by Kirsten Hudson

Tags: Halloween, thrift store, costume,

Still don’t have a Halloween costume? No problem. Just head to your local thrift store and get creative. For a few dollars you can turn someone else’s castoffs into this year’s hit Halloween costume—and avoid buying new when you can reuse! Here are four ideas to get you going.

Mad Scientist 

Turn on your inner crazy by compiling your own mad scientist costume for Halloween. Find an oversize, preferably white, coat. A good “lab coat” should be easy to come by in the men’s sections of your local Salvation Army or thrift stores. Maybe even a friend’s closet. Wear a tie or bowtie with a button down shirt and slacks. Add a pair of thick glasses—the wackier the better. And voilà, mad scientist. Tease your hair into a wild mess and you’re ready to start stirring up some Frankenstein-like experiments. This costume works equally well for kids or adults.

Mad Scientist 


You might not even need to go to a thrift store for this one. This all-in-one costume could be in your linen closet right now. All you need is a plain white bed sheet and a pair of scissors. Cut two ovals for eyeholes, drape the sheet over your head and you’ll rival Casper for cutest ghost. This costume works for both kids and adults.

Fortune Teller 

To achieve the fortune teller look, start with a long gypsy-like skirt or dress. It doesn’t matter what color or fabric so long as the skirt flows and reaches the floor. Then, swathe yourself in layers of colorful shawls or large scarves. These should be easy to come by at thrift stores. If it’s a chilly Halloween in your area, this costume makes a good excuse to bundle up! Finally, tie one of your scarves around your head and put on loads of funky jewelry—as many bangles, rings and necklaces as you can handle.


In true Halloween fashion, you can turn just about any regular ol’ costume into something spooktacular. Just make it dead. Dead prom queen, dead car crash victim, dead jock, dead bride, dead celebrity. Rip up an old prom dress, a letterman’s jacket, a white dress, or whatever you can find at the thrift store to turn into a costume. Add a few splashes of ketchup for fake blood. Use makeup to add dark circles under your eyes. And done. Dead fill-in-the-blank.

Do you have any favorite thrift store find Halloween costumes? Tell us about them in the comments section.

Image: Photo By Phillip Torrone/Courtesy Flickr