Halloween costumes: These are the Houston area thrift stores worth your time

HOUSTON – Halloween is on the horizon and that means it’s a great time to pick what creative costume you’re going to take on for this year’s celebrations, but where do you go to assemble the costume to avoid breaking the bank?

Thrift stores are a great option to make something a little more unique than something found at a traditional Halloween store that you -- and five other friends -- might be sporting on Instagram this October.

Texas Thrift

Two years ago, I decided to take on the Elisabeth Moss “Handmaid’s Tale” costume (because people seem to think I look like her). I went to Texas Thrift on Fondren and found a large satin bridesmaid’s dress that I turned into a popover cape. I sheared off the corset bodice and made the flowing skirt a cape. Paired with a baby’s crocheted white bonnet and a long black skirt, the look was more than I had hoped for and cost about $20.

Amanda Cochran in her "Handmaid's Tale" costume thrifted from Texas Thrift. (Amanda Cochran)

It’s a favorite of other KPRC viewers, too. One wrote on Facebook, “I’ve found awesome kids costumes at Texas Thrift store on Fondren! I love it.”

Salvation Army

The devotion of these stores is amazing. Many items are individually priced and well-priced, too. If you’re like me and love the feel of a “real thrift store,” with both vintage and modern items mixed in, Salvation Army is your spot.

Always look in areas cordoned off from the main areas labeled tops and shirts and pants. There are what I like to think of as “slivered” areas of the racks that have gems and they’re often labeled something like “vintage.” This is where pink leotards and shiny leather pants and bright floral prints from the ’70s live. Halloween is made in the vintage sliver. Remember that when you go to Salvation Army.

Multiple locations.

Family Thrift Center

This store. Oh my goodness. Have you found a friend you thought you’d never see again in another place and you never want to let go? That’s how I felt when I came into this store while on a career visit trip to Texas. I knew it would be all right if I moved here. The beauty of individually priced and lightly-used stuff is a revelation. Family Thrift Center is less vintage and more modern family life utilitarian thrift fare. This is a great spot for kid costumes. In August, you can start looking for Halloween costumes. I don’t know where Family Thrift Center gets its stock, but it’s quality stuff.

Multiple locations.


Goodwill is like an old friend that always helps in a bind. It happened like this when I was a teenager: my mom said I could go one place for about an hour to look for a dress for the school dance. I went, of course, to Goodwill. The mall would have been nice, but we didn’t have the money to do that, and, I learned, the possibilities for finding something different to wear were endless at Goodwill. This is a hard lesson to learn (particularly when you’re consumed with the idea that other girls have endless American Eagle dollars to burn), but a lesson that I learned at Goodwill. Halloween dances were probably the easiest to shop for. Poodle skirt, check. White button down, check. Black flats, check. The satisfaction that you’re wearing probably the most high-quality and authentic outfit on the dance floor? Priceless. Now that I have a family of my own, I understand the allure of Goodwill. Standard prices across the store. Stable inventory in a variety of trusted areas. Gems when you dig, ya dig? Get digging, ladies and gents. Halloween is on its way.

Multiple locations.

Value Village

I’ve never been to this store, but it’s mentioned without fail in thrifting conversation. I think I need a thrifting excursion soon to the “largest selection of gently used clothing, home goods & accessories for your family,” per its Facebook page. What do you love about it? Let us know in the comments.

About the Author:

Amanda Cochran is an Edward R. Murrow award-winning journalist. She specializes in Texas features, consumer and business news and local crime coverage.