Thrift Shops Love Halloween

.         Thrift stores and Halloween are quite a pair. It’s a holiday that brings first-time thrifters across the threshold to find already-made costumes or clothes and accessories to create their own.

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Nearly all thrift stores jump on the Halloween bandwagon, but Goodwill rolls out a big publicity campaign for the holiday. It puts up billboards, posters, special displays, an on-line costume generator, makeup tutorials and uses the slogans, “Halloween Happens at Goodwill” and “Halloween Comes Alive at Goodwill,” adding the hashtag #GoodwillHalloween.

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Its website, http://www.goodwill.org/Halloween, lets you explore costumes by theme, in categories such as silly, scary, pop culture, animals, fantasy and sci-fi. Ideas for DIY creepy figurines and post-apocalyptic wear help you plan your festive night. For example, an 80s break dancer can be assembled with a boom box, athletic shoes, black jeans and a puffy jacket.

We saw this creativity in all its glory at the three-level Goodwill in downtown Denver. (There are six Goodwills in Denver and this one is in a former department store in the center of downtown at 21 S. Broadway, with free parking behind it.)

Every doorway, countertop and display window was filled with costumes, masks and bride-of-Frankenstein mannequins. Halloween-iana of every description lined its shelves, from new, under $10 kids’ costumes in bags to pumpkin baskets and skeletons galore. The store stocks new, but bargain-priced, cards of Halloween makeup, fangs, fake blood and other witching necessities.

In St. Louis, we noticed multiple clever billboards throughout the city with arresting graphics advertising Goodwill as “your original Halloween costume shop.” At its store in University City, an orange T-shirt with the legend “Witch and Famous” was elevated atop a clothing rack.

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Rows of new and used kids and adult costumes were bargain priced, most in the $5 to $7 range. We particularly liked a new, instant kids costume of a cheeseburger, complete with lettuce, tomato and sesame seed bun. The store’s doorways were filled with purple cobwebs, fake spiders and skeletons.

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At the Goodwill store in Cambridge, Massachusetts’ Central Square location, multiple long racks were devoted to costumes. Another array of already-made costumes adorned the walls. Most were in remarkably good shape and all were quick, inexpensive answers to last-minute revelers’ prayers.

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Here’s hoping that shoppers exploring thrift stores for the first time in October realize the value of re-use for their everyday costumes the rest of the year.

Goodwill, 21 S. Broadway, Denver, CO  80209. 303-722-1440. Open Monday through Saturday 9 a.m. – 9 p.m.; Sunday 10 a.m. – 7 p.m.

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Goodwill, 7531 Olive Blvd., St. Louis, MO 63130. 314-727-9280. Open Monday through Saturday 9 a.m. – 8 p.m.; Sunday 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.

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Goodwill, 520 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02139. 617-868-6330. Open Monday through Saturday 10 a.m. – 7 p.m.; Sunday noon – 6 p.m.

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