09 October 2012

Eco Friendly Halloween Costumes

This post is written by contributing author Paige Ronchetti.

I've never been a fan of pre-packaged Halloween costumes. You drop $40 or $50 on a cheap, flimsy outfit to wear for one night. Half the time they fall apart. They're not comfortable or flattering. It's just a big waste--both in terms of money down the drain and eventually sending the thing to a landfill.

Assembling my own costume has been a tradition since elementary school. Not only is it more fun, but shopping at secondhand stores takes care of those waste issues I just mentioned. I also feel like thrift stores offer more possibilities than Halloween shops, which tend to carry the same things over and over again. I'm a huge Halloween fan in general, and I like having endless possibilities when shopping for my party outfit.

Still not convinced? Let me show you some of my favorite thrifted costumes. One year I dressed as a 1960s housewife. The dress, apron, and brooch were all purchased secondhand:

Two years ago I went as Hermione from Harry Potter. I found an old prom dress at GoodWill for $8(!) and added a bustle made of fabric scraps:

And this one I did not purchase (because I've already started my costume for this year) but I thought it was magnificent and the best example EVER of a thrift store having costume-worthy items. I took a picture for you in the dressing room at GoodWill:

Yes, a beaded evening gown and a faux fur coat. All you need are some pearls and a tiny dog.

Do you get your costumes at thrift stores? What's your best secondhand Halloween find?

Paige Ronchetti lives in the Chicago suburbs with her husband. They have no kids and no pets, which gives them a lot of time for eating spicy food and looking for bargains. Paige's blog is Little Nostalgia is a collection of projects and pretty things. There you can find DIY tutorials, home decor inspiration, and affordable fashion ideas. When she is not blogging, Paige is working on her vintage-inspired jewelry lines, Little White Chapel and Oh Nostalgia. Connect to Paige via twitter or pinterest.


  1. Gorgeous ideas! Love the old prom dress with bustle.

  2. You're so creative Paige! I love the housewife idea and the fur coat is the best!

  3. Goodwill has the best costumes! There is so much to choose from and you get to be creative, which is the best part. Last year my son and his friend went as the Blues Brothers and I think it cost under $10 for each costume and they were a huge hit!! They won the costume contest at school. :-D

  4. Very cute! I don't really dress up for Halloween - but I agree with your perspective 100%. When I have children their costumes will be homemade or thrifted finds. I HATE those cheap pre-packaged halloween costumes!

  5. That is pretty awesome! Not to mention the fact that places like our local Savers had RACKS of those prepackaged costumes, if you want something like that. You know most of them were only worn one time!

    1. I saw that when I was there a couple of weeks ago! My location had some that were still in the original package. Crazy!

  6. The pre-packaged costumes cost so much, and they're not durable at all. I'd be surprised if someone could re-use one of those costumes again the following year. I really like the Harry Potter look. I'll have to show that one to my daughter!

  7. I love the housewife costume! Although I would probably splatter on some fake blood on the dress/apron and be a housewife gone bad... hahah. And I wouldn't feel bad about it because it's from a thrift store! Great money saving idea! : )

  8. Your thrifted costumes are awesome! I can't even pick a favorite. I got a secondhand dress one year to go as Rose from Titanic. My mom made most of my costumes growing up.

  9. I always buy/make my costumes with stuff from a secondhand store. This year I'm going to be a doll- I can't wait to go shopping!

    <3 Melissa

  10. This is so awesome! I never realized you could find such cool things at the Goodwill! I need to go there!

  11. Your costumed personas are as stylish as your regular self :)
    I've been spending unhealthy amounts of time at shopgoodwill.com, coincidentally!

  12. Paige, what great costumes you've come up with!