Yoga, Education, Health and Sustainable Living for Kids and Families

Treasure Chests of the Imagination: Hit the Thrift Stores Now to Make Halloween Costumes

Spider c.ostume made from thrift store finds

Our family loves Halloween. It’s a tradition of ours to throw a big party. I think we love the costumes and make up the best. But also what I love is that we get to have our dark side expressed. As well as our creativity!

When my kids were young and I had time, I loved sewing their costumes from scratch. My son was Robin Hood, a Native American or a vampire. The capes and hats and clothes were well used again in school theatre productions. Years ago after my husband died, I submitted to the steady stream of mail order catalogs and purchased costumes. But I found their quality so poor, the prices so high and the experience so alienating I decided to go back to creating our own. I vowed never to spend another dime on some poor-quality, pre-fabricated costume made by some corporate slave in Asia. Buying a costume from a catalog, which have turned into porn magazines of sexualized American little girls, is like throwing away your imagination, not to mention your hard-earned cash.

Searching the antique stores of Buenos Aires

Every year my kids and I hit the thrift stores – treasure chests for the imagination. You never know what you will find, and just scouring through the racks of clothes, funky hats and boots and discarded gowns and uniforms, piques the imagination. We go in with an idea of what we want to be, and a lot of the time come back with something different. My son one year wanted to be a Pokemon card salesman. We found an old trenchcoat that did the trick. One year a friend of my daughters was a dead bride, using an old wedding gown she found, cut up and dirtied up. One year my daughter was Pippi Longstocking, after her favorite book character. Two years ago my daughter was a spider and last year she was a bee. Last year we were living in Buenos Aires at the time and found great vintage stores only after Halloween came and went. Our fantastic tutor, Laura, tracked down supplies and we did end up sewing the entire bee costume all ourselves. She added the make up and final touches.

It is far more rewarding to participate in the creation of a costume. You can cut up thrift store finds, resew them, experiment on them, throw paint on them. Only your creativity is limited! Sure, it takes time and planning to do this. But that’s the fun of it. And you get used to it. Now is the time to start! You’ll find the best stuff, and if you can’t find something, subsequent visits will turn what you need up or you can adjust your costume. I also love using my manifestation powers (and teach my kids to do the same) to attract what I need! My kids and I also love the hunt, the sheer pleasure of just seeing what turns up at these fun, funky and thrifty stores. This year

A bee in Buenos Aires costume by La Paloma

I wanted to be a skeleton to illustrate the upcoming October Storytime Yoga Kids Club story, Chumba la Cachumba. It turned up at the thrift store for $2! My daughter is searching for either goth or vampire stuff. We’ll see what materializes, as the process is really where all the fun is at!

Make your own Halloween costumes by using thrift stores as your treasure chest. Your creativity, imagination, sewing and make up artist skills will flourish. It’s great a family time activity, and your wallet in these greatest depression times will thank you. The earth will also thank you for recycling and not participating in exploitive, consumer capitalism that deadens the soul, imagination and society. What a deal! Happy Halloween!

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