I’m not a big fan of Halloween, but my kids love it (or maybe it’s just the candy) and so do a heck of a lot of other people.
Consumers plan to splurge on costumes, candy and pumpkins spending a record $9.1 billion this year, according to an annual survey by the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics. That’s an 8.3 percent increase from last year.
Halloween lovers will spend an average of $86.13 to celebrate, up from $82.93 in 2016.
I cringe at the cost of new costumes that my kids wear only once – that’s at least $25 alone for my 6-year-old, who is the oldest. I have three kids.
Fresno area shoppers have choices when it comes to buying costumes. There are the seasonal Spirit Halloween stores or Party City’s costume department for all things new and trendy. Or, if you’re the overachiever mom like me who wants to create a one-of-a-kind costume, you can scour local thrift shops for bits and pieces of a costume or an entire outfit at cheap prices.
Here’s five suggestions on where to score costumes or piece together your own.
1. Thrift Mart and Vintage Voola – 755 Van Ness Ave., Fresno. Open now for its busiest month of the year, Thrift Mart is the place if you want to be a zombie. Bloodied hospital scrubs or ripped prisoner tops start around $9.99. Buy a thick, denim jacket with (fake) blood stains for about $25.
The store, located in the rear of the Vintage Square building on the corner of Van Ness Avenue and Inyo Street, also has tons of clown costumes for kids and adults, wigs, Disney princess dresses, tutus for girls, Power Ranger and superhero suits (you’ll have to find a mask), animal costumes and more.
Dig around for the good stuff. Get creative. I pieced together my son’s Energizer bunny costume here one year by picking up a pink body suit for a couple bucks, adding a white puff tail and creating my own ears. I used a large ice cream bucket for the drum and a Pringles can wrapped in foil for the battery.
Vintage Voola, in front of the building, has vintage dresses and accessories for those wanting a period look.
Hours: Thrift Mart, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays to Saturdays; Vintage Voola, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursdays to Saturdays, open Oct. 30 and 31.
2. Goodwill – 6437 N. Blackstone Ave, Fresno. If you’re looking for capes, go to the Goodwill on Blackstone Avenue, just south of Hobby Lobby. Children’s capes are $1 and perfect for your little vampire. Princess gowns like Snow White are around $5.99 and superheroes, some with the muscles, are around $6.99. I found the top of a Disney Store brand Rey costume from Star Wars for $6.99.
Beware, some of these costumes are well worn. But once in a while you’ll get lucky and find something like new or with tags still on. Need help? Goodwill has an online costume generator to help you pair clothes you might find in the store into a costume. Visit goodwill.org/halloween to create a costume, get makeup tips and other Halloween ideas.
The costume inventory varies from store to store. The Blackstone location has a long rack of costumes, but a visit to the Shaw Avenue store in Clovis on Thursday turned up pretty bare.
Hours: 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays to Saturdays; 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sundays
3. Disabled American Veterans Thrift Store – 3163 E. McKinley Ave, Fresno. Pirate costumes for men and women, Mario from Super Mario Brothers, cheerleaders and ghouls hang from a rack near the front of the DAV store on McKinley, east of First Street. You know those $20 Carters brand baby Halloween costumes? Yep, found a tiger here for $5.75.
Hours: 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Mondays to Saturdays; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sundays
4. Yoshi NOW! – 648 Broadway St., Fresno. You won’t find this year’s most popular costumes at Yoshi NOW!, but you might be able to put together a rad outfit from the 1970s and 1980s. Think “Stranger Things,” the popular movie from Netflix.
Yoshi has vintage men’s rompers, women’s dresses and T-shirts. If you’ve got a creative mind, this is the store to hit up.
Hours: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesdays to Saturdays; noon to 5 p.m. Sundays.
5. Spirit Halloween – The seasonal Halloween stores opened in September selling this year’s hottest trends including Wonder Woman, Belle and the Beast from Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” and almost every mask possible.
There are seven stores open in the central San Joaquin Valley. Visit the website at spirithalloween.com to find your local store. These stores sell costumes at retail price, but it’s listed here because you can snag a coupon online for 20 percent off a single item.
Hours: 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays to Saturdays; 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sundays.