Yes, it’s that time again! Time to figure out what your little goblin or ghoul will be for Halloween. (Or, how you can make his or her very specific costume dream a reality — preferably, without breaking the bank.) We’ve rounded up New York area costume resources with offerings ranging from cheap to free to downright splurge-worthy. Boo!
photo: Peter Lopez
As is the case with kids’ clothes in general, you can get some pretty sweet secondhand costumes in great condition for a fraction of the original retail price at consignment stores. Here are a few of our favorites currently selling new-to-you costumes, and examples of some of the critters and creatures they’ve had come through the door so far.
What some might consider Greenpoint’s kid Halloween HQ (the store serves as the kickoff point for the neighborhood’s Halloween parade, the “Witch’s Walk”), Flying Squirrel charges $10-$25 for gently-used costumes. Recently spotted in the shop: skeleton, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle, princess and ladybug.
87 Oak St.
Head to Jane’s Exchange for both selection and wallet-friendly prices. The shop sells costumes for infants on up to size 10, and prices range from $2 to $20, depending on quality and condition. Get-ups already spotted at the shop: viking, devil, witch, Batman, Spider-man, assorted fairies and princesses, cow and Winnie the Pooh (and his crew).
191 East 3rd St.
photo: Kelly Cheatle
This Queens resale shop’s selection is currently dominated by costumes for babies 0-12 months (but that, of course, could change). On the racks right now for $10 or less: Superman, bear, lion, turtle, robot, ladybug and cow.
26-11 23rd Ave.
Look for this store’s stock of costumes for babies and kids up to six years of age to swell by the second week of October. Popular peeps seen at the shop so far include Star Wars characters, superheroes, fireman, ladybug, and princesses. Prices here range from $10 to $20.
39 1/2 Washington Square South
Lulu’s Then & Now
Park Slope’s kids’ stellar consignment shop shines at Halloween, too. You’ll find an eclectic mix of costumes — from the most basic to the works — for ages ranging from newborn to twelve; prices start at $5 and go up to about $25. Local European transplants resell unusual costumes from places like Germany and the Netherlands, and handmade pieces can be found on the racks, too. Recent stock includes an astronaut, a duck, Max from Where the Wild Things Are, and a bespoke Elsa cape(!).
75A Fifth Ave.
photo: Katherine Wardlow
Local and Pop-Up Shops
One could arguably make a Halloween costume from all the wonderful and wacky goods found at any of the year-round locations of this uber-glam NYC beauty supply shop. However, Ricky’s is also in the Halloween pop-up shop business; the store opened 25 this year (in honor of the chain’s 25th anniversary), with outposts in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens. They’ve got the cute, the scary, and the just-plain-weird costumes for kids, adults, and pets, and you can also shop with them online. The permanent stores will also be stocked with plenty of Halloween supplies as well.
Multiple locations throughout NYC; click here for details.
The folks at Halloween Adventure take this holiday so seriously they’re open year round. Infused with the oddball energy of its East Village location, the super-sized shop is both jam-packed and well organized. The store’s kids’ costume collection goes far beyond the standard witch, fairy and superhero territory with more unusual or elaborate options such as a giant slice of pizza, Cleopatra, and Abe Lincoln.
104 Fourth Ave.
photo: Angela Moore
Another great way to score inexpensive secondhand costumes is to hit the thrift stores, many of which are filling up now with worn-once-and-then-donated duds. Sure, you’ll find some flimsy options that have seen better days, but deluxe costumes can also be snapped up for a song. Here’s where we recommend you get your thrift on, Halloween-style.
With locations all over the tri-state area, chances are there’s a Goodwill store near you. We’ve always known the chain’s Chelsea outpost to be pretty well organized, so we gave them a call. Currently on sale for all ages at prices ranging from $1.99 to $8: Elmo, Cinderella, Winnie the Pooh, Monsters Inc. characters, Superman and a bumblebee. But surely, this is just the tip of the Goodwill costume iceberg.
Multiple locations throughout NYC/NJ; click here for details.
As is the case with any thrift store, you might have to weed through more than a few costumes before happening upon a real gem here. But Unique traditionally carries a large and varied stock of kids’ costumes, frequently priced at just 4.99 — regardless of whether they’re originally from Old Navy or Nordstrom’s. Sign up for one of the chain’s “VIP” cards and get 25% off on select days. (Hey, that’s practically a free costume.) Find Unique Thrifts in Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, New Jersey, and beyond.
Multiple locations throughout NYC/NJ; click here for details.
photo: Elle Chan
Neighborhood Sales and Swaps
We can pretty much guarantee that there are lots of costumes in your vicinity right now just itching to get back on the street for a night of fun. (Hint: they’re in your neighbor’s closet.) Check out your local parenting site Facebook group or listserve this time of year and you’ll likely find multiple costumes either for sale for cheap or just plain free. (We’ve already seen quite a few listed in our neck of the woods.) A few of the biggies: Hudson River Park Mamas Group, Park Slope Parents, West Village Parents, Bronx New Mommies, Lower East Side and East Village Parents, Bronx and Westchester Moms.
Sometimes, you just wanna go all out on a costume. It’s your kid’s first Halloween as a sentient being (they really get it now!); you’ve got a big party to go to as a family, you got shut out at the costume contest last year and you know you’re being weird, but still — you want to dominate. That doesn’t mean you have to Big Box it. Try these options for killer costumes that keep it either handmade or local.
photo: Betsey Darley Photography
Plenty of artisans are working overtime making some of the cutest and creative Halloween getups around. Exhibit A: this Stay Puft Marshmallow Man toddler costume from The Wishing Elephant. (Adorable, locally-inspired and timely — what more could you want?) Order by October 10 for Halloween delivery!
Online: The Wishing Elephant
photo: Sievers Studio
Feeling crafty yourself? Whip up this 3D felt taco with the help of a $8 tutorial from Alphabet Circus. (If you just don’t have it in you but love the costume, it’s also for sale fully-realized for $99. Order by October 20 to get this one in time.)
Online: Alphabet Circus
Frank Bee Costume Center
One of the titans of the Halloween costume retail business is also a hometown hero. The Frank Bee Costume Center brick-and-mortar HQ is located in the Bronx, and it’s got all the hottest licensed characters for sale: Guardians of the Galaxy, Frozen, Teenage Ninja Mutant Turtles, etc. Don’t worry if you can’t make it to the Bronx; the store offers $6.98 standard shipping when you order online.
Rubie’s has been in the costume business for more than 60 years, and it shows. This Queens-based family business — which started as a candy shop back in the day — is now an international costume empire. Beyond a dizzying selection of costumes for the whole family, Rubie’s also sells the perfect accessories to elevate your costume game in a very serious way. What do we mean? They’ve got seven pages of kids’ wigs. And light-up fiber optic Afros should you find yourself in need of one.
Got a scary-good costume source in NYC we missed? Share with the group in the comments below!