The Goodwill branch at 21 S. Broadway.

Goodwill hunting for Halloween costumes

In these trying economic times, it’s hard to justify doling out extra dough for a Halloween costume. If you must dress as a slutty nurse, should you really have to pay $44.99 for the privilege?

So this weekend, my friend Marci and I hit up the costume shops that fit more comfortably into our budgets: thrift stores. Most of them were having half-off sales, just in time for the holiday rush. The price was right, but some creativity was required to find the best bang for your buck.

At the Goodwill on South Broadway and Archer, for example, the selection of actual, labeled costumes was slim. You could snag a green plastic Hawaiian skirt for four bucks or a one-armed figure-skating leotard with silver sequins for three bucks. There were even wedding dresses, for those of you who prefer to dress up as dead brides, for $33, thanks to the half-off sale.

But Marci opted to create her own costume, using the best possible resources available in a thrift store -- '80s garb. She found a gray sweatshirt (big enough to slit the neck open and reveal a Flashdance-style shoulder), a salmon pink jersey skirt and a garish silver purse, all for a grand total of $8. She completed the ensemble with a hideous pair of black leggings with colored hearts courtesy of the St. Vincent De Paul thrift store on Colfax, which was also having a sale.

Her costume was a hit Saturday night, putting the dirty martini girls and Sarah Palin wannabes to shame. You, too, could do the same this weekend. The sales may have ended, but the bargain hunting is still bound to be better at the thrifts than at those regular stores, where a good vampy witch costume can cost as much as your electric bill. -- Lisa Rab

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