Spooky good tips for spooky good Halloween thrifting

Emma Polen | Editor-In-Chief | Culture Shop on East Carson Street (pictured) is one of many thrift shops in Pittsburgh. Culture Shop specializes in jewelry, incense and handmade goods — all of which make for great Halloween accessories.

Natalie Rodriguez | Staff Writer

We all know about the scariest part of Halloween: the crazy costume prices! Halloween only comes once a year, so why spend upward of $50-100 for a costume you only wear once?

That’s where thrifting comes in — not only can it save you money, but it can also have a positive effect on the environment.

Oct. 31 is right around the corner, but there’s still time to find the perfect last-minute costume.

Pittsburgh is home to dozens of thrift stores with unique, “boo-tiful” ensembles to rock at your next Halloween party.

Thrifting is also a way to ensure that your costume is unique and personal to your style.

Were you a fan of the Barbie Movie? The most popular movies often manifest themselves into popular Halloween costumes.

Why spend $60 on a costume from Spirit Halloween when you can find a unique pink outfit that you can wear again? Fast fashion causes waste, and Halloween costumes are no different.

Every year, thousands of clothes get thrown in landfills and cause harm to our environment.

Thrifting allows for clothes and items to have a new life in an affordable way.

“In 2022 alone, we kept over 56 million pounds of material out of landfills through thrift store sales, repurposing and recycling,” said Goodwill of Southwestern Pennsylvania on their website.

If you’re new to thrifting or costume shopping, Red Masquers President Susie Betten has the solution for you.

Betten has served as costume designer for Duquesne’s theater group, The Red Masquers, for three years.

She knows the ins and outs of navigating costume thrifting.

“We reuse what we have before we go out and buy anything new. We always ask the actors if they have pieces from their own closet, and then we go thrifting for new pieces,” said Betten.

She also had a few other tips for first-time thrifters.
Know Where to Shop

Duquesne is one shuttle ride away from some of the best thrifting in Pittsburgh. For the Masquer’s current production, “Deathtrap,” Betten and fellow costume designers stopped at a few places to find inspiration for the show.

“Our go-to’s are usually the Salvation Army and the Goodwill, and for fun specialty pieces, we like to look at the Buffalo Exchange,” she said.

“And Goodwill always does a really great job of putting out cool Halloween costumes, so you never know what you’ll find.”

Have a Game Plan
Thrifting can seem overwhelming, but Betten suggests coming in with a plan to create a new look.
“If you know you want to be a Pirate, what pieces would a pirate have? I want a flowy white shirt and a rough-hemmed brown skirt. You should have very basic pieces in your head, but you should be open to other options, so you don’t feel so boxed in,” Betten recommended.

Have an Open Mind
Thrift stores can feel like a treasure hunt for new items, but you have to be open to trying new things.
Going with friends can be helpful, so you have people to bounce ideas off of.
Don’t let thrifting scare you. Feel free to be adventurous and experiment with your wardrobe this Halloween.
Your wallet and the environment will thank you.