By: Jessie Yu
Photos by: Isabel Lord
Standing in a thrift store, I stared at the strange blend of orange, yellow, and blue that covered the clown onesie till my eyes went numb. What being had lived in this bag of an outfit previously? Was it a seventy year old man hoping to entertain the children that rang his doorbell each Halloween? Or could it be the likes of Patty the Party Clown, a thirty year old college dropout who never quite made it out of his parents’ basement?
I imagined standing in the middle of a sweaty Henle party enveloped in this clown outfit, surrounded by girls dressed as slinky cats and dudes wearing their Wednesday night jerseys. Hilarious.
I hand the outfit over to a friend who’s much braver than I am.
Let me tell you, I’ve run the gamut of Halloween costumes in my lifetime. In kindergarten, too young to feel shame, I donned a giant lady bug onesie to class, surrounded by my classmates whose mothers had thought to consult their children before buying their costumes. Needless to say, I was the peasant among royalty that Halloween. In third grade, wanting to be like the rest of the kids, I begged my non-basic mom (in case you couldn’t tell from the ladybug costume) to buy me a witch outfit from Party City. I confidently entered third grade, ready to “fit in”. And I did: my teacher had the exact same costume. By high school, I had obviously matured and thus dressed up as a candy (w)rapper with one of my best friends. Clever, I know. My freshman year of college, I admit, I succumbed to the fear of being unique and dressed up as yep, you guessed it, a Greek goddess with three other scared freshman. Sophomore year, I threw in the towel and ignored Halloweekend, using other events as excuses to avoid finding a costume. Come my junior year, I am ready to get back in the game.
Costumes in college are difficult for good reason. Either you go the basic route and adopt a sexy [insert animal here] look or you go as nothing and play the too-cool-for-school-but-actually-too-insecure-to-dress-up card. No longer can we turn to Party City or our mothers for ideas. The pressure is on us.
Fortunately, there’s still hope. But where to find it, you might ask? In the least suspect of places: shops filled with other people’s DNA and clothing castoffs—thrift stores. Not only does a thrifted costume add personality and singularity to your Halloween look, but it lets you be economic about clothes you’ll probably only wear once. Keep reading for some of the gems my housemates and I found while costume hunting this year.
Here my housemates demonstrate just how diverse thrift store finds can be. Isabel’s clown costume is bound to catch the attention of literally everyone on Halloween, while Shannon opts for the thrifted version of a basic favorite.
Here Anna whips up her look with a flour bag dress while Isabel dons a Jack of Hearts oversized shirt.
If you’re a fan of humorous Halloween digs, grab some ill-fitting glasses, your fav old Aeropostale shirt and rock yourself—in 6th grade form. Hey, if you can laugh about it, it means you’re over it…right?
So whether you’ll be trick-or-treating on embassy row or living it up on a Vil A rooftop, standout from the masses this season in a unique, thrifted costume.