Everyone knows the best part of Halloween (aside from miniature Kit Kats) is figuring out your costume. Instead of renting or buying a costume, you can create a unique  look by visiting your local thrift store and taking advantage of the special Halloween section which usually has lots of themed used clothes, actual costumes and a frightening number of ghoulish accessories. 

Got brains? The thing about a zombie is that you would have started out as a normal person, but would have been attacked by a zombie before turning into one yourself.  So, you simply decide on a regular outfit, such as a suit , prom dress or hillbilly outfit and then cut or  rip it where the zombie attacked you.  Now you need some fake blood (click here for recipes) on those areas and other places as well, such as running down your neck from an ear.  You'll also need some dark circles around your eyes.  Most zombies slouch to one side and move in a slow, confused way. 

To create Dr. Killjoy, deranged psychologist of the video game "The Suffering," you'll need a blood-spattered  lab coat or butcher's apron, a grisly scar on your left cheek and an old-fashioned round head mirror.  Or you can be a regular doctor in bloody scrubs with a giant syringe, rubber hand, or hacksaw as an accessory. 

Nerd fixings abound at the thrift store.  Starting at the head, you'll need some thick glasses which are taped together in one or more places.  Your hair will need to be parted in the middle or combed straight back and plastered down with gel.  Choose a short sleeve shirt  buttoned all the way up and accessorize with a pocket protector.   Add a bow tie (or a regular one if  it's too short or too wide or both).  Pants should be hitched up by a belt or suspenders, with socks displayed.   

A mummy costume will require a little more effort.  Start with white pants or long underwear and a white turtleneck.  Rip a white sheet into mummy-sized strips, soak in tea for a few hours and then baste or hot glue the strips onto the clothing, leaving a few ends loose.  You can attach some strips to some cheap gloves as well as a hat, or simply wrap the head in gauze. 

Lady Gaga.  Needless to say, the possibilities are infinite. Look for hot pants, ripped fishnet tights, platform shoes or boots, big sunglasses, a platinum wig, spangly tops and odd headgear.  This is one costume where you'll want to visit all the departments in the thrift store since you might want to incorporate kitchenware, tools, or home decor.  Gaga likes red lipstick, smoky eye make-up, false eyelashes and glitter. 

Locations for local thrift stores:




Note:  What's really scary are bedbugs.  Just to be on the safe side, put all thrift store purchases in a hot dryer for 20 minutes.  

Halloween movies that'll make you want your mommy:

Nosferatu:  A Symphony of Horror

Let the Right One In

The Shining

Nightmare Before Christmas

Night of the Living Dead (eFlick)


Bride of Frankenstein

Simpsons Treehouse of Horror

Beauty and the Beast = La Belle et la bete

Written by Lisa on October 13, 2011


karloff on October 14, 2011


Mmmm....brains! Cool zombie photo. Thanks for the tips and recipes!


Nice one, Lisa! DIY zombies-- the next best thing to the real thing!

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