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Last Minute Plans? Here Are 5 Thriftable Halloween Costumes

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UCLA chapter.

One thing about me, is that I will always be the last person in my friend group to order a Halloween costume. Every year I tell myself that it will be different, but like clockwork, I find myself doing a panic scroll through Amazon Prime on October 20th begging the delivery gods that everything will come in time. For those who are also currently experiencing some costume fret, fear not, because this year we’re cutting out the online shopping middle man and heading straight to the thrift store. Thrifting a costume is also a great way to practice more sustainability, since the majority of Halloween costumes online are fast-fashion and only worn once. So, here are five costume ideas that will have you dressed and ready in no time for a last minute soirée!

alice Chambers – don’t worry darling

After Spit-Gate at the film’s premiere in Venice, Italy, last summer, the lore about Don’t Worry Darling was being fed in just about every corner of the internet. Excluding the genius level of “bad” publicity leading up to its release, if there is one thing that this movie nailed, it’s the costume design. As soon as I saw Alice in a bloodied white frock driving a vintage convertible in a high-speed car chase, I knew there was costume potential. And I hate to say I told you so, but I told you so. 

I can always expect to find some kind of white maxi or slip dress for less than $20 at a second-hand store, which is the perfect start for this costume. After going to town with some fake blood on your dress, all you need to complete the look is a black ribbon for your hair (accompanied by a Florence Pugh style blowout if you’re hair savvy) and a pair of pearl earrings and you’re good to go, darling.

  • White maxi / slip dress
  • Black hair ribbon 
  • Pearl earrings 
  • Fake blood

In honor of my alice chambers halloween costume a year ago today heres a draft #dontworrydarling

♬ Dont Worry Darling In Theaters September 23rd – Warner Bros. Movies
wednesday addams

Like me, if you’ve been on the Jenna Ortega wave in 2023 then you probably saw this costume idea coming from a mile away. Not only does Wednesday’s character make for a perfect costume, but the show itself is also a great way to get into the Halloween spirit, which we all need during this 90 degree Los Angeles “fall.”

My vision for a Wednesday costume comes down to the individual pieces just as much as it comes down to channeling her spooky aura. I would opt for a white button down moment—extra points if it has a stiff collar— with a blazer and a pleated skirt; you can get creative with how you want to recreate Wednesday’s sinister school uniform. For finishing touches, you can take a stab at her signature dark eye makeup and put your hair in some killer double braids.

  • White button down shirt
  • Blazer 
  • Pleated skirt 
  • Black tie 
  • Black tights 
  • Black boots 
jenna ortega as wednesday

After Hailey Bieber floored us all with her ballet inspired Rhode campaign in late September, this costume immediately entered the line up for “it-girl” Halloween costume of the year. I’ve loved seeing how people have reconnected with their younger ballerina selves, from the baby pink tights to the slicked-back bun: so simple yet so adorable.

This also makes for a perfect throw-together costume, because you can take the ballet-core theme and run with it in so many different directions. If you already have some kind of bodysuit or leotard you’re already halfway there and you can source as many of the other pieces as you’d like. Luckily, so much of the look comes down to the hair style and simple accessories. With a chic bun and some accent ribbons, you’ll be barre ready in no time.   

  • Bodysuit
  • Pink tights
  • Cropped sweater / bolero 
  • Leg warmers 
  • Pink skirt / tutu 
  • Pink hair ribbons
sharpay evans – High School MUsical

Sharpay Evans has been the Y2K blueprint since 2006, when the cinematic masterpiece otherwise known as High School Musical graced the lives of tweens forever. All it took was watching one minute of Sharpay’s “Bop to The Top” performance to solidify her as the iconic blonde I was looking to emulate. Seventeen years later, I think it’s about time she entered the Iconic Blonde Hall of Fame, next to Elle Woods and Regina George.

If I had to choose my favorite Sharpay Evans look, it would be from the pool scene in HSM2, which would make for an absolutely Fabulous Halloween costume because you may already own a few of the pieces needed to recreate it. And if you don’t, this costume is very early 2000s coded so when you hit your favorite thrift store, you’ll have plenty of room to play with how you want to reproduce her look!

  • One piece bathing suit 
  • Silver star necklace
  • Oversized pink sunglasses 
  • Silver hoops (the bigger the better) 
  • Strappy heels / sandals 
  • Pink coverup / towel 

While I was fully planning on gatekeeping this idea, I have decided to take this opportunity to not only provide inspiration but also to soft-launch one of my own costumes this year. Boygenius, the supergroup consisting of Julien Baker, Lucy Dacus and Phoebe Bridgers, is playing their Los Angeles show at the Hollywood Bowl on Halloween. What could be more fitting than going to a boygenius concert on Halloween, dressed up as “the boys” themselves? 

This will undoubtedly be my simplest costume of the year, which is perfect for a last minute get together and also for a group costume. I’m wearing a pair of thrifted pinstripe dress pants and a vintage men’s suit vest, so the only item on my to-do list is to thrift a tie and if I decide to go as Julien, find someone with an extra fake tattoo sleeve… 

  • Dress pants 
  • Suit vest 
  • Black tie

Hopefully these five costumes inspire you to say yes to some last-minute Halloween plans. It can even save you from any online shopping scaries. Happy Halloween, boos!

Ellie is a second-year Global Studies major at UCLA, from Charlotte, NC. Her favorite author is Sally Rooney, and she loves re-reading books, playing field hockey, cooking for friends, and photographing them on her camera. In the summer, you can find her in downtown Manhattan peeking into a vintage store or writing in a coffee shop.