Only the most vogue villains come from second-hand stores
By C J Sommerfeld, Columnist
How do you feel about pre-packaged Halloween costumes?
I hate them. They’re conventional, they fit weirdly, and worst of all—they are made of cheap, synthetic fabrics like polyester. Not only do these textiles take forever to break down, but unbreathable materials are the perfect recipe for a very stinky, sweaty Halloween. If you want to avoid this, buying a second-hand costume is the way to go.
Of course, you can also find polyester clothing at second-hand shops, but your fabric options are more diversified. Not to mention that cost is rarely an issue while thrifting as compared to regular-priced clothing stores. Non-synthetic cloth is usually more costly, which is why a student budget often restricts you to those cheaper, synthetic, unbreathable fabrics—the same ones which we find in pre-packaged costumes. So, indulge in the second-hand linens and chambrays since cost will not be an issue when determining the fabric of your bedsheet-as-a-ghost costume.
Thrifting your costume is also great for the environment’s sake. Aside from the previously mentioned cheap synthetic fabrics that take eons to biodegrade, thrifting anything is better for the environment than if you were to purchase it new.
When we buy used clothing, we’re decreasing the demand for clothing to be made. Buying used steers profit away from companies that exploit underpaid workers working in horrid environments. It also slows down the amount of trash that we send to the landfill. We already have an abundance of clothing on our planet. Why not rummage through it and get creative?
Holidays are a common perpetrator of unnecessary waste. Yeah, holidays are great—sometimes you get the day off school or work, you see loved ones, and you eat a lot of food and sweets—but synonymous with holidays is a lot of garbage. Unfortunately, all of those single-use, reindeer-splattered pieces of wrapping paper, birthday bows, and Valentine’s Day cards wind up in the trash. The same is to be said about those single-use costumes, so why not buy something that you can continue wearing after Halloween is over?
The best costumes are those which pioneer a prototype. We’ve all seen the Bob Rosses, the Sarah Palins, and the promiscuous school girls. Why reiterate a costume that you’ve seen before? I mean, sure, be a Bob Ross or a Sarah Palin—but how cool is configuring a Bob Ross outfit out of things you’ve found strewn throughout a second-hand shop? Way cooler than the pre-packaged, all-in-one paint palette and big curly hair that we’ve all seen before.
When you scout out your costume at a thrift shop, you have endless costume options since each item is so ambiguous. That fur coat that you found could be used for a Margot Tenenbaum, or maybe a Macklemore. Same goes for that orange shirt: It could be the hot dog portion of a hot-dog-in-a-bun costume, or maybe Velma’s infamous orange sweater from Scooby-Doo.
Ambiguity of clothing is great because it means that the pieces you buy to wear for your costume are not just limited to Halloween. That orange shirt that you wore in your hot dog costume can be worn again to school, grocery shopping, or wherever. The same can’t be said about those pre-packaged ones, unless you feel like dressing in a polyester hot dog on your next grocery run. Who knows, that ambiguous orange top could end up being your favourite shirt. You always find cool pieces while thrifting that you otherwise would not have found at a regular clothing shop.
As the Grinch once said, “One man’s toxic waste is another man’s potpourri.” Use Halloween as an excuse to go thrifting and relish in finding some cool new pieces for both your costume and your everyday wear.