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Time to Stop Procrastinating: Where to Find a Cheap Last-Minute Halloween Costume

Posted by Alex Pearlman  October 28, 2011 08:03 AM

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thriftstorehalloweencostumes.jpgBy Melanie Yarbrough

Halloween Weekend is upon us, and if you’re anything like me, you have no idea what you’re going to be at that party that starts in approximately 12 hours. You’ve probably also uttered the phrase, “I can’t spend any money on my costume this year!” while staring at that last year’s red American Apparel dress (slutty Little Red Riding Hood, duh!) that you spent way too much money on and never wore again. Or maybe you just want to win a costume contest without losing all of your savings -- the prize isn’t that big, after all.

Lucky for you, Boston is chock full of great options for cheap costumes. Put on your shopping shoes and check out one of these places ASAP. The clock is ticking!

Secondhand Stores. Get out of Second Time Around (i.e., the Whole Foods of thrift stores) and check out a good ol’ Goodwill. They may not have the perfect piece -- what do you expect when you wait until the last minute? -- but you can get the second-perfect piece and alter it guilt-free. You might also check out other Goodwill-esque places, like Urban Renewals in Allston, Buffalo Exchange in Allston and Davis Square, or Oona’s in Harvard Square. Reduce, reuse, recycle -- and remember to wash everything before you wear it!

Freecycle or Craigslist. We find dates, directions, and recipes online -- you probably even Googled for a good costume idea. So why not find the materials for it online, too? Searching online classifieds-type sites -- especially one like Freecycle, where everything’s free! -- makes it easier to get creative or change your mind without too much buyer’s remorse.

The Garment District (200 Broadway, Cambridge). I know, I know -- I saw you wince. Anyone who’s ever shopped for a Halloween costume here during the month of October knows it’s an experience akin to going to Market Basket the day before Thanksgiving (something you shouldn’t try unless you have life insurance and a very even temper). But in times like these, you have to suck it up and dive into the festivities along with 100 other sweaty procrastinators. Skip the Boston Costume section and head straight for the $1 per pound pile in the back for some possibly sweet deals for little to no green.

If All Else Fails, Be What You Really Are -- Broke! Pull out your old ratty jeans and that t-shirt you haven’t washed since the last time you had quarters for the laundromat, and rub some dirt on your face. Simple, comfortable, and ready in five minutes.

Where’d you get your costume this year? What’s the most expensive costume you still regret? We've got more Halloween-themed content coming, so check back this weekend while you're working off that (sugar?) hangover.

Photo by pixeljones (Flickr)

About Melanie -- I write, but mostly I read. I love bakeries, school supplies, comfortable shoes, short fiction, and really good sentences. Watch me make some mediocre sentences at @myarbrough.

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