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Donate with Debbie: Last Minute Halloween costumes from the Thrift Store

Turn your thrift store finds into killer Halloween getups

We know the drill. Each year, October 30 rolls around and you still don't have a costume. You hop on Google or Pinterest in a frenzy to find something—anything—to wear to your co-worker's annual costume party. It's too late for shipping, and of course the Halloween store is overrun.

What can you do?

Start thrifting. Our thrift stores are a treasure trove of items for every conceivable costume. Take a look below for 10 costume ideas that you can start thrifting today...and forget being a ghost for the fifth year in a row.

Sockhop Sweetie

Let's go to the hop! A '50s poodle skirt girl is the ultimate go-to thrift costume—and it's one that you could throw together at the last minute when you hit up your local thrift store.

What you'll need:

  • Knee-length plaid, pink or black skirt
  • Cat-eye glasses
  • Pastel cardigan
  • Socks with lace trim
  • Pink flats, low-top sneakers or saddle shoes
  • Neckerchief: Scrap fabric or square scarf
  • Poodle appliqué: Pin a computer printout to your skirt or find a patch at the craft store

Breakfast at Tiffany's

Channel the classic Hollywood movie with this simple, yet instantly recognizable, getup. You may even have some of the pieces hiding in your closet already!

What you'll need:

  • Sleeveless black shift dress
  • Costume pearl necklace
  • Bejeweled headpiece
  • Black heels
  • Long black gloves
  • Cigarette holder

Don't forget to watch this easy hair tutorial to get Holly Golightly's signature French twist.

DORA THE EXPLORER

Perfect for adults and kids alike, this costume only takes a few items before you're out the door. Monkey sidekick a plus.

What you'll need:

  • Pink shirt
  • Orange shorts
  • Backpack
  • Sneakers
  • Plastic bracelet
  • Short brown bob

Velma Dinkley, Scooby Doo

Head out on Halloween as everyone's favorite brainy cartoon character. Hit the thrift store with friends to add Freddie, Daphne, Shaggy and Scooby to the mix for an impressive group costume. Saying “jinkies" to strangers is optional.

What you'll need:

  • Orange sweater
  • Red pleated skirt
  • Red ballet flats
  • Orange knee-high socks
  • Nerdy glasses
  • Magnifying glass

Scarecrow

Another great costume for kids and grownups, dress up as a scarecrow for trick-or-treat or a fall party—and forget the messy straw.

What you'll need:

  • Straw hat or sunhat
  • Plaid flannel shirt
  • Distressed jeans
  • Boots

You can even find scarecrow temporary tattoos instead of using facepaint

Weatherman in a hurricane

Report live from this year's Halloween as a disheveled meteorologist. You won't need wind for this getup—just use hair product for messy hair, leave your shirt partially untucked and don't forget to tape or hot glue newspaper or pieces of garbage to your pants and shirt.

What you'll need:

  • Buttondown shirt
  • Tie
  • Slacks
  • Dress shoes
  • Microphone
  • Umbrella (turned inside-out)

Sheriff

Rather than dropping big bucks on a sheriff's costume, channel the Old West at your local thrift store. Grab a buddy to be your deputy and you're set for the night.

What you'll need:

  • Chambray buttondown shirt
  • Jeans
  • Cowboy boots
  • Red bandana
  • Cowboy hat
  • Sheriff's badge

Indiana Jones

You can't go wrong channeling Indy. In fact, you probably have many of the components to this recognizable costume stashed around the house already. Head to the thrift store to round out this getup.

What you'll need:

  • White T-shirt
  • Olive or khaki buttondown shirt
  • Cargo pants
  • Hiking boots or brown leather boots
  • Wide-brim hat
  • Leather whip
  • Satchel

HAMBURGLAR

This infamous McDonald's character is a crowd-pleaser that's easy to craft from items you already have lying around the house.

What you'll need:

  • Black-and-white striped shirt
  • Black hat (Hint: Pick up a witch's hat, cut the top off and sew it, then top it off with a yellow ribbon.)
  • Hamburger tie: Construction paper
  • Black cape
  • Mask (Hint: Make your own by cutting up an old black shirt.)

Clark Kent

Superman's alter ego is a cinch to pull off. Wear your Superman T-shirt under regular office attire, and don't forget the Clark Kent 'do.

What you'll need:

  • Superman T-shirt
  • Blue or white buttondown (partially unbuttoned to show 'S')
  • Tie
  • Black slacks
  • Dress shoes
  • Black-rimmed glasses


Whatever or whomever your imagination decides

The beauty of Volunteers of American Thrift is discovering a treasure for yourself. Check out Debbie's other thrifting tips so you can find out how to make the most of your next trip. Share your Halloween Costume finds with us.