Affordable Last Minute Halloween Costume Ideas


Back-to-school season is upon us, which means something else is right around the corner: Halloween!

Whether you’re looking for a ready-to-go costume or you’re planning to put together your own custom costume ensemble this spooky season, we can’t think of a better place to shop than Goodwill.

Read on for a roundup of last minute Halloween costume ideas, along with tips for pulling them together—and why Goodwill is the best place to shop for Halloween costumes and inspiration.

Shop for the Perfect Halloween Costume

From witches and wizards to firefighters and fairies, some Halloween costumes never go out of style. Other go-to get-ups for kids and adults alike? Angels, devils, sports stars, pirates, princesses, vampires, clowns, cheerleaders, astronauts, zombies, ballerinas, and plenty of others. 

When you’re pressed for time and trying to keep costs low, there’s a simple solution for executing any of these costume ideas or another one of your own: swing by Goodwill. We spend all year collecting the best costumes and costume kits so we can share them with you. Some of them are even new and still in their original packaging! Others have been gently used and are ready for another round of trick-or-treating, Halloween parties, school parades, work and more.

In addition to costumes, you’ll also find the just-right accessories, such as wigs, masks and hats. These finishing touches are the key to turning a good costume into an unforgettable one.

Make Your Own Halloween Costume

Ghosts and goblins aren’t the only things that run wild every Halloween. So do imaginations! While ready-made costumes have their allures, we’re also big fans of homemade costumes here at Goodwill.

If you’re ready to unleash your creativity by conceptualizing and executing a completely unique Halloween costume this year, Goodwill is ready to help. Our Goodwill of Central and Northern AZ locations are stocked with clothes and accessories that will help you bring your DIY Halloween costume vision to life. Suits, jackets, overalls, pants, kids’ clothing, men’s and women’s formalwear, and shoes are just a few of the clothing types you’ll find at Goodwill.

You’ll also find normal clothes, materials, and other items that can easily be repurposed into something exciting and unexpected.

For example, fabric strips cut from neutral colored bedding or clothing can easily become anything from a mummy to a straight jacket. For an extra-special touch, soak them in hot tea to create an antique look. Just layer over white leggings and a tee-shirt—which you can also find on our shelves and racks—and you’ll be good to ghoul.

Making your own Halloween costume with components from Goodwill is also a wonderful expression of individuality! The final product—whether funny, scary, beautiful or any other adjective of your choosing—will be 100 percent one-of-a-kind.

Find the Best Halloween Costume Ideas and Inspiration

Maybe you have a specific idea in mind for your costume already. If so, it’s just a matter of buying the costume or making your own.

But maybe you haven’t gotten that far yet, and you’re still searching for ideas? In either scenario, Goodwill is the perfect place to go.

When you walk into one of our stores, we challenge you not to be overcome with inspiration! Maybe you’ll see the perfect costume in our inventory of new and pre-used Halloween costumes, or maybe you’ll find something that ignites your creativity on our racks of clothing for couples, kids, and adults.

While the options are almost endless, here are a few DIY costume ideas to get your wheels turning:

Halloween Corpse Bride costume

Corpse Bride

This Tim Burton-esque look combines thrifted pieces like a vintage white dress, wig, stockings, pumps, and a bridal veil with dramatic makeup. Love the look of the 50s or 80s? Choose a dress from that era.

Little boy dressed as an old man.

Grannies and Grampies

One of our favorite low-budget costume ideas for wee ones or for work? The old man and old lady look. You’ll find almost everything you need to pull off this aesthetic at Goodwill, including plaid and patterned pants and derby and newsboy hats for the guys, and colorful housedresses, sensible shoes, handbags, and kerchiefs for females. You can go the extra mile–literally and figuratively– with white hair spray (or a wig), hair rollers, and a borrowed walker.

girl dressed in long black dress with a bonnet and posing for the camera as main character of Breakfast at Tiffany's

Breakfast at Tiffany’s

Pay homage to a timeless movie (and timeless look!) with this Audrey Hepburn-inspired look. You’ll need a sleeveless black shift dress, black heels, long black gloves, black cat’s eye sunglasses, a costume pearl necklace, a bejeweled tiara, and Holly Golightly’s iconic French twist hairdo. The best part? While you’ll look like a million bucks, you can pull it off for $20 or so.

The Scooby Gang

Going as a group? The Scooby gang is guaranteed to be a hit. While costume kits are available for Fred, Daphne, Velma, Shaggy, and Scooby, you can also assemble your own outfits for each character in their signature styles and colors. For example, an orange turtleneck, red pleated skirt, orange knee-socks or tights, red ballet flats, and “nerdy” glasses are all you need to to be instantly recognizable as Velma. A white sweater or sweatshirt, blue colored shirt, blue slacks or jeans, an ascot and a blonde wig (for brunettes) add up to a spot-on Fred formula.

woman holding up picture frame

Walking Works of Art

In addition to clothing and accessories, Goodwill is also an excellent source of housewares, decor items, and more. All you need for this simple costume is a large empty picture frame in the color of your choice. Hold it up to your face and voila—instant “portrait.”

woman drinking out of a coconut dressed in pink with a floral hat topper

A Sweet Treat

What do you get when you combine a thrifted pink (or pink felt-covered) inflatable inner tube with foam curlers pasted all over it? A DIY donut, of course! A different spin on the same idea? Thrift a bright yellow dress, yellow leggings or tights, and sunglasses in a tropical hue, then create your own crown for an oh-so-adorable pineapple costume.

One more benefit of thrifting your Halloween costume this year? You’ll be making an eco-friendly choice by helping to keep items out of landfills and in use. (By shopping at Goodwill of Central and Northern AZ, you’re also giving back by supporting our mission of providing no-cost career development, training, and education services to community members.)

And remember: Halloween is all about having fun, and no one is judging your costume. (Unless you’re entering a Halloween costume contest, that is!) With a little help from Goodwill, you’re sure to have just as much fun finding or creating your costume as you will on Halloween.

To learn more about shopping and saving at a Goodwill store near you, visit us today.

Young couple at home party celebrating Halloween in costume of thief and cat-woman

Exciting Events this Week!

Amazing things are always happening at Goodwill of Central and Northern Arizona! Whether you are looking for a daily special or want to participate in one of our job training events, we have something for you.


*Daily deals valid at select Metro Phoenix, Prescott and Yuma locations. Please check with your neighborhood Goodwill for details.

Discount valid on used merchandise only. Not valid on food or drink, new goods, seasonal or holiday items. Not valid at Goodwill Clearance Center.