Andria Goodrow had sinister plans for the pajamas, nightgown and dress she recently purchased from Goodwill. 

First, she dyed them with tea bags to give them an old, dingy appearance. Then, she rubbed them with coffee grounds to make them look dirty. For the finishing touch, she spattered them with stage blood. Combined with a messy wig, plastic mask or ghoulish makeup, they gave just the impression she was hoping for — something straight out of a Hollywood horror movie. 

“I got most of what I needed for four different Halloween costumes from Goodwill for about $30,” the Nashville resident said. “The Halloween costume stores sell stuff for so much money. It seems silly to buy something in a plastic package when you can find five or 10 times the number of costumes at Goodwill for the same amount.” 

Goodrow is among the thousands of people in middle and west Tennessee who will shop Goodwill this year to avoid scary prices while creating a one-of-a-kind, do-it-yourself Halloween costume. 

Goodwill’s 34 stores are stocked with items that can be easily transformed into unique costumes or props, such as ballgowns, overalls, medical scrubs, wigs, scarves, toys and more. With a little imagination — or with help from Goodwill’s staff or its DIY Costume Guide — shoppers can easily assemble costumes for the whole family at a fraction of the cost they would pay at a Halloween specialty store.

Another customer, Myka Bertrand created a Peter Pan outfit by combining a hat, shoes and pants she already owned with a green sweater, T-shirt and belt she bought at Goodwill for under $10. The outfit was a big hit at her workplace costume party.

“I knew I’d be able to find (the items) fairly cheap in the color I needed,” Bertrand explained, noting that Goodwill has an abundance of clothing in widely varying styles, coordinated by size and color.

 Bertrand and Goodrow offered these tips for successful costume-hunting at Goodwill:

• Take advantage of Goodwill’s sales to save even more money.

• Have some costume ideas in mind before you go shopping.

• Set aside time to shop, so you can find the pieces that work best for your costume.

• Use your imagination and keep an open mind — everyday clothing items and accessories can often be altered, resized or repurposed to create something entirely new.

 Costume suggestions and guides, makeup tips, decoration ideas and more can be found at www.giveit2goodwill.org/halloween.

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