Thrift or Treat: Costume Shopping at Secondhand ATL Spots

Leaves are turning brown, pumpkin emojis are trending and college students are frantically googling “easy and fun Halloween costumes.” Finding a getup that can at least earn an honorable mention at this year’s costume party without breaking the bank often adds stress to midterm season. But this year, rather than wandering the aisles of the local Party City and debating Urban Outfitters’ questionably PC suggestions, students can flock to some of Atlanta’s local thrift shops. Behind stained sweats and chipped china they can find the perfect costume piece, which may even be stylish enough to wear after Hallow’s Eve.

If You’re Going as a Mouse, duh ($$-$$$)

Buffalo Exchange, Virginia-Highland/Poncey-Highland

Buffalo Exchange carries fashion forward, high quality, second-hand clothing. It’s a relatively small shop, but because they’re choosy, only accepting and selling like-new and on-trend pieces. Customers are sure to find the perfect black booties, leather mini skirts or name-brand crop tops they need to complete their Buckhead-worthy costume. With a variety of brands to choose from, like Forever 21 and Zara, customers can assemble most any sexy animal look they have in mind. In lieu of a bag at checkout, customers can choose to donate to a local charity. For animal ears, costume-seekers can check their local Walmart or Target.

If You’re Throwing It Back to the 90s ($$-$$$)

Rag-O-Rama, Little Five Points

The upscale, funky thrift store on the edge of Little Five Points has a large collection of ever-changing, lightly used clothes, including some cute vintage and decade pieces. Their style is what you might expect, given their name and location: neon shoes, beaded tops and frayed jeans. Similar to Buffalo Exchange, customers are not paying GoodWill prices, but they are still likely to find a unique piece that ties off their final look. Rag-O-Rama, along with Buffalo Exchange, will buy gently used clothes for cash or store credit, in case customers need extra money to make their costume pop. Rag-O-Rama also has the bag/donation option.

If You’re Shopping for a Group Costume ($)

Last Chance Thrift Store, North Decatur/Scottdale

Last Chance has a little bit of everything, giving kitchenware, books, trinkets, clothing items and accessories one last chance to find their forever homes (or their wear-once-for-a-costume-and-then-give-away homes). Housed in a giant warehouse, the seemingly endless rows of all-season men’s and women’s clothing are the perfect place to browse for indescript pieces that bring any costume group together. 

With everything from full-length formal gowns to off-brand (and sometimes even name-brand) shoes, as long as customers are dedicated to the thrift-shopping grind, they’ll find at least one thing suitable for their ideal costume. Do be warned, Last Chance is not selective with what it sells, so a stain-and-tear check before buying is much needed. Every Monday everything in the store is half off.

If You’re Looking to Scare ($$-$$$)

Junkman’s Daughter, Little Five Points

Okay, although Junkman’s Daughter isn’t technically a thrift store, its miscellaneous, “junk yard” vibes might make customers feel otherwise. Celebrating its 35th anniversary this year, Junkman’s Daughter has expanded to include a giant high heel staircase and more. The store has items ranging from dresses to wigs to full taco suits and unicorn heads (as well as non-clothing items like posters and incense). For those looking to go extreme with their  costume this year, this is the place to shop. Just visiting the store with its huge storefront mural and location in the heart of Little Five Points will provide customers with the authentic Halloween experience.

If You’re Shopping for Your Pooch ($$)

Second Life Upscale Atlanta, Avondale Estates

Although most of their human clothes keep a classic vibe that might be difficult to incorporate into one’s “Game of Thrones” costume, Second Life has a small selection of pet accessories and costumes that will bring just the right amount of spice to customers’ furry friend’s life come Oct. 31. Second Life is also a nonprofit organization that works to help shelter animals, donating a portion of every purchase to local animal charities. For those in need of some inspiration while browsing, there are usually adoptable pets hanging out in the store.

Every year, Halloween provides a time to get a little wild wardrobe-wise, giving customers an opportunity to also switch up where they shop. Thrifting for costumes means clothes that might otherwise be thrown away find a purpose and customers get a one-of-a-kind piece that elevates their look beyond the prepackaging of Party City.

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