Thrifting for Halloween: Tips and ideas

By Zack Downing, Staff Writer

It’s the middle of October, and that means everyone from age 4 to 24 is trying to figure out what they should do to celebrate this Halloween.

A lot of the fun of Halloween, especially in college, is dressing up in silly outfits and getting together with friends to party the night away.

However, for the rest of us that don’t participate in such debauchery, the soul of Halloween lies in wearing the craziest and scariest costumes.

You might want to go all out and spend lots of money on a costume people will remember for years, or you might want to be more frugal and piece together a solid costume for cheap.

This is college, and it’s probably easy to assume that most students reading this are closer to the “broke” side of the spectrum when it comes to planning for costumes.

Worry not, because there are hundreds of ideas on the internet for great cheap outfits and masks! You don’t need to spend a lot to impress your friends with a clever costume; all you need is a good attitude and some crafting skills.

One way to get ideas for costumes is to go looking around in thrift stores. Thrift stores don’t specialize in carrying the hippest fashion and newest clothes, they instead get all types of clothes from all sorts of livelihoods.

Just searching through the racks can get your mind running with ideas. Perhaps you spot a dorky red striped shirt that would be great for a Where’s Waldo outfit, or a weird blue sequin jacket that could transport you back into the 70s.

If you find a used suit, you could turn into Donald Trump with the help of a crushed basket to use as a wig.

You could also grab some nondescript cheap shirts and pants, rip them up, get some mud on them and become a Walking Dead zombie to roam the campus on Halloween night.

Lots of unusual shoes come into thrift shops too, and maybe some old brown dress shoes could inspire you to be a Founding Father and party like it’s 1776.

If you want to investigate and find your own unique costume, there are several thrift stores within easy driving distance from UMass Dartmouth.

There’s a discount store called Pay/Half in the mall down the road, and then there are Savers stores in New Bedford and Fall River.

Savers, in fact, carries Halloween outfits and ideas for the season, so even those who are less creative can pick up a cool costume.

However, maybe gold lines your pockets and you have money to spend on costumes that will blow people away. How can you really make a statement this Halloween?

Well, right here in Dartmouth there is a Spirit Halloween to satisfy your cravings. It carries regular costumes for kids and adults, but there are always the most expensive gifts that can really leave an impression on fellow partiers.

You can be a realistic Chewbacca, or a tricked-out Batman, or even the headless horseman. There’s a litany of creepy masks at your disposal as well, from zombies to horses and even the presidential candidates.

If you decide to grab a scary clown costume, just make sure you don’t walk around looking intimidating in public.

You might be looking for something that’s less mainstream than that, though. If you want to find something specific, there are dozens of cosplay sites on the internet to go through, such as or

If you’re tired of the same old ghost costumes that you see every year, then you might want to change things up a bit and dress as an anime villain, or a character from Overwatch.

There are some pretty impressive costumes online that will turn everyone’s heads on Halloween, if your wallet is ready. Whether free or expensive, you can still make outfits that people remember for years to come.

Happy spooky holidays, and good luck!


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