The other day I had to stop into a party store to get some things for a project I was working on.

It wasn’t a Halloween store, just a party store. But of course, their selection of costumes was huge.

Rows and rows of prepackaged costumes that amounted to nothing more than a couple of pieces of cheap polyester for $30, $40 and $50.

I remember that when my kids were young, I would never buy them a packaged costume.

It was not fun unless we put it together ourselves.


And that was before Amazon, where you could buy everything you needed to put it together in a couple of clicks.

We used to run around to craft stores and fabric stores and thrift shops and that was part of the fun of it.

Jason Yoder on Unsplash
Jason Yoder on Unsplash

We would find a hat here, a suitcase there, clothes, and accessories galore at New Jersey’s many thrift shops. And sometimes we were actually giving to charity when we did so.

Each year I see the same couple of boring costumes online or in stores.

I always hope that it’s only the minority who are buying these, and the majority are going through the experience of putting them together on their own.

Source Adobe Stock
Source Adobe Stock

Why not change it up this year and make your own costume, which will not only be a fun project but help support some of New Jersey’s small businesses?

There are thrift stores all over New Jersey with amazing items that could easily be made into a costume and you should check them out.

Here are a few:

Market Street Mission Thrift Store

Market Street is a great thrift store to check out if you are looking to support a good cause. They donate a lot of their profit to the Life Change program, which is a program for people recovering from drug and alcohol addiction who also work in the store. The shop itself has a ton of fun accessories so definitely stop here if your costume needs that final touch.


Hana Mission Thrift Store

You may want to find one or two really nice pieces of clothing, and if so do it at Hana’s. This spot is known for having a wide range when it comes to price in products and they also donate a great deal of profit to underprivileged communities. They also have a good selection of jackets so you can do both winter and Halloween shopping here.



With multiple locations across New Jersey, this is a great place to check out for thrifted goods. The Union location is said to have the best inventory and is said to have a variety of dresses in the store. You can easily use a dress as a base for a costume, and then find other accessories around the store to complete the look.

Opinions expressed in the post above are those of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Judi Franco only.

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