Thrift Tips for Halloween

If you are not typically a thrift shopper throughout the year, this is the season to change your ways and consider shopping at thrift stores like Goodwill for your Halloween needs.

Americans spend a terrifying amount on Halloween each year; typically $169 to $183 per person. Costumes represent 42% of that annual investment.

For those that have shopped one of the big box Halloween shops, this high price tag is no surprise. Kids costumes typically start at $30 or more and adult costumes can be $50 or more.

Thrift stores like Goodwill offer a less expensive, environmentally friendly and community supportive option for trick or treaters.


  • Goodwill boasts prices 50-90% off retail prices including Halloween costumes
  • Purchases made at local Goodwill stores support a network of outreach programs that helped many local residents every year
  • Millions of pounds were diverted from are landfills by local Goodwill stores
How to Thrift Goodwill for Halloween

All year, Goodwill stores in the Cleveland area have been collecting Halloween costumes and apparel so they can now unveil their Halloween BOO-tique for shoppers.

On a recent visit to a Cleveland area Goodwill store, there were hundreds of costumes to choose from, most priced at a fraction of the pop-up Halloween mega-stores. Sorted by theme, the Goodwill racks were overflowing with both new and used costumes, makeup and décor.

Go in With an Open Mind

Although thrift stores like Goodwill offer a wide variety of costume options, keep an open mind when you are searching for your Halloween get-up. Each store has thousands of individual and unique items. Products change daily. Actually, most stores have products changing by the hour, so if you don’t find exactly what you are looking for on your first visit, stop back and you will be pleasantly surprised by the turnover of product.

Thrift Tips for Halloween

Ask for Help/Ideas

Most thrift stores like Goodwill have staff ready to assist you with ideas and even willing to scour the racks to help you complete your perfect Halloween costume. Found a pink dress, but not sure what to turn it into? Ask! Staff are willing to find you a tiara for the perfect princess costume or even offer suggestions of how you can zombi-fy the dress for a spookier option. Check out this year’s Goodwill Costume Look Book for more inspiration.

Thrift Tips for Halloween

Consider Using Elements From Your own Wardrobe

New and used products at stores like Goodwill will be far less expensive than large retailers, but you can save even more on your costume by using elements from your own closet. Use a little black dress from your work wardrobe and pair with pearls, sunglasses and gloves from Goodwill to make a Breakfast at Tiffany’s inspired Hepburn look. An old pair of overalls? Purchase a flannel shirt and straw hat to become a farmer or scarecrow. Bow tie? Score a pair of plaid pants, thick glasses and a pocket protector at Goodwill for the perfect nerd costume.

Make it a Family Affair

Thrift stores cater to adults, children and even pets. For the price of just one packaged costume from large retailers, most families can dress the whole gang at a thrift store. With lower prices and wide variety, parents can allow the little ones to be creative and choose their own costumes at thrift stores. And, yes, even the pets won’t be left out. During a visit to a local Goodwill, there was a selection of more than 20 different pet costumes all priced less than $15.

Goodwill Thrift Tips for Halloween

Think Thrift after Halloween

Once Halloween is over and you have devoured one too many Reese’s cups, do something good for the community by donating back any costumes you no longer want or need. Thrift stores like Goodwill depend on donations of Halloween costumes, clothing and other household goods to keep their shelves and racks stocked year round.

Goodwill donations

Happy haunting this Halloween and happy shopping, hopefully at local thrift stores where you and your entire family can find good prices, help support the environment and help support community programs.