We’re really excited to feature Robert Browne’s ideas and experience in today’s blog, “The Art of the Thrift Store Costume.” Robert works for HalloweenCostumes.com and is generally fanatical about costumes. Having constructed his own costume from thrift store shopping in the past, he is quite skilled at ‘popping tags’ when it comes to costume shopping. Robert’s latest thrift store creation was a very simple costume. He created the character Tim from the video game Braid. Nobody knew who he was (it’s a smaller indie game), but his costume was pretty spot on!
Robert Browne of HalloweenCostumes.com:
By now, most of us have heard Mackelmore’s hit song ‘Thrift Shop’, and a lot of people might have visited their local thrift stores because of the song. It’s true, some really great threads can be had for rock bottom prices at thrift stores, but did you know the thrift store is also a great place to find your next halloween costume? I’ve been a thrift store costume shopper for several years now; I’m here to share some basic thrift store costume information to help you make a truly unique, and affordable costume that can look amazingly authentic as well.
There are some simple rules to live by when it comes to thrifting for your costume. First, do not walk blindly into your thrift stores. Make sure you have at least one costume idea in mind before you stroll into your local thrift stores. Second, you have to be flexible with costume ideas. Just because you really want to dress up as Indiana Jones doesn’t mean you’ll find a leather jacket and a fedora at your thrift store. Third, use the stuff the thrift store has in stock. If it doesn’t seem possible to pull off the costume you had initially wanted to wear don’t be afraid to scrap the costume for something you know the thrift store has. Fourth, creativity is your best friend. Use your imagination and don’t be adamant about getting every detail exact, and you’ll come away with a costume that will surely impress. Finally, you may have to rely on makeup and accessories from other places; it’s not always easy finding utility belts, wigs, and other odd accessories at a thrift store.
Given enough time, you could probably find most of the pieces of your costume at a thrift store, but if you working on a time limit you will have to be mix and match a little.
Here are example costumes from four thrift stores in my area. Most of these costumes all came from one or two stores and none require sewing or crafting.
The thing to understand about thrift store costume shopping is you have to be open to just about anything. Unless you know exactly what you’re trying to create and have been crafting it piece by piece, for months, you never know what the thrift store has to offer. Flexible costume desires and creativity are key! Sometimes you need to incorporate accessories too. Some simple face and body makeup, wigs, or the weathering of clothes can make all the difference in the world (some of these are best found elsewhere, like makeup/wigs – I’d shamelessly plug HalloweenCostumes.com for these items – and please use common sense when it comes to using weapons as part of your costume props).