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Sourcing Halloween Costumes: Your Local Goodwill

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Ok, so Halloween is on it's way.  And that means you only have a couple weeks left to put together the perfect costume without breaking the bank.  If you have visited a costume shop recently, you will probably already know that shopping there will likely land you with a very mediocre quality costume (at best) and a hefty bill to boot.  Never fear, the Harris Sisters have all sorts of costuming tips to help fit any budget.   Check out all our costume ideas here.  We have everything from costume ideas and makeup tips, to how to make your own costumes, to where to find the parts and pieces for your perfect costume. 

And maybe you will remember one of my tried and true costuming tips- start by shopping your own closet for the basics.   It's a great place to start.  But if you find yourself still in need of certain items to complete your costume, then your next stop should be your local Goodwill store!

Your local Goodwill is the perfect place to score all the pieces you will need to put a costume together.  My Goodwill store actually also has a rack or two of donated ready-to-wear costumes near the front of the store so you can certainly start there.  But if you already have a specific look in mind, then you will need to start working the racks of clothing and accessories to see what you can come up with to meet your needs.  And I almost guarantee that you can find what you are looking for.  You see, we have done this many times before. :)  Let me show you.  

Our two year old daughter is IN LOVE with Scrooge McDuck.  She has the plush version that she carries with her everywhere.  She watches his Ducktales cartoon on video like they are going out of style.  She talks about him nonstop.  He is just her best buddy.  And a few months ago, she declared that my husband would be dressing up like Uncle Scrooge for Halloween.  Oh dear.  Now, that's not a costume you can just go out and buy.  I'm not sure that was EVER a widely available costume.  In any case, my husband is a good sport and there's nothing he wouldn't do for our dear daughter.  So we knew that a trip to Goodwill was in order to find the key components for this outfit.  

For reference, here's a look at what Scrooge McDuck looks like. 

So we knew roughly what we were looking for.  I always start with the main pieces of the outfit first. We needed a bright blue coat, a red under shirt, and white pants.  Technically, Uncle Scrooge doesn't wear pants, but since that's not a practical solution, I thought white pants would work best since he is a white duck.  And I pulled up the reference picture of Scrooge on my phone as we searched the racks.  After a quick look, here's what we ended up with.  Not bad, if you ask me.  

The pants are actually white band pants!  They were a whopping $5!  And I actually loved that they had a blue pin stripe down the side of the leg.  It matches the blue top really well.  The blue "overcoat" that we ended up with was actually a bright blue sweater vest- again ringing in at $5.  And we added a red long sleeved button up shirt to achieve Scrooge's signature red collar and cuffs.  That shirt was only $2.   So we had the basics and the main components of the outfit squared away for only $12.  And let's face it.  This is the largest, most important, and usually most expensive part of your costume. 

But I have always said that it's the accessories that make any costume.  So we purchased the necessary accessories from a costume shop to complete the look.  If you are lucky,  you might actually be able to find some of your accessories at the Goodwill as well.  In any case, buying accessories at full retail price is still a lot better than buying a full costume at full retail price. We actually found the top hat and glasses in a costume shop in Canada over the summer.  I don't recall the prices on those, but since the US Dollar is strong in Canada right now (yay us!), we ended up saving close to 30% off whatever we paid.  :) And then I recently added the cane and spats from a local costume store.  The cane was only $3 and the spats were $5.  Costume shop accessories are usually pretty inexpensive. 

So with the addition of the accessories, here's the final look.  I would say we nailed this one.  AND it was fun to find all the pieces and put them together!  Did I mention my husband is a good sport?

Yep, I can barely tell the difference between these two.  When putting together a costume, I like to replicate the look without making it look identical.  It's fun to put your own spin on things too.  And trust me, this look is close enough to the original that our daughter knew EXACTLY who her Daddy was dressed up as.  :)

When putting together your own costume, I will recommend that you try everything on beforehand to ensure fit of all the pieces and also that you have all the important components before heading out on Halloween night.  Here's hoping you have a fun costume in the works too.  Or at least that you are inspired to create your own.  There's just something extra fun about putting your own Halloween costume together!
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