Costumes You Can Find At Every Thrift Store

Halloween can be fun and all, but it can also be a time of great stress. Yesterday, someone asked me what I was going to be for Halloween. What? Am I supposed to be thinking about that already? If you're panicking like I am, here's an easy recipe for alleviating all that costume anxiety: Find all your Halloween costumes at thrift stores. I'll say it again: hunting at your friendly, local, kind-of-gross thrift store is the answer to all your October-induced woes.

Now, I'm not talking about looking through the "Cool Halloween Costumes" section that thrift stores love to create, which is always inexplicably full of real wedding dresses and questionable-looking wigs that may or may not have fleas. I'm talking about the regular racks of thrift store clothing, which look oh-so-normal from the outside, but contain multitudes of weirdo costumes within.

I spent an hour in the thrift store picking out these eight costumes, and if I do say so myself, they're all pretty hilarious. Let's see: if I spent 60 minutes on eight costumes, you should be able to find one costume in a cool 7.5 minutes. Or 15 minutes, if you're in a couple and people are pestering you about cute "couples' costume" ideas. No pressure. No fleas. Just thrift.

1. A Disgruntled Bridesmaid

Your story: You told the bride you’d totally wear the dress again. You were lying through your teeth.

What you’ll need:

—The tackiest cocktail dress you can find. Preferably strapless.

—A bouquet of dead/weird/wilting flowers — which you will have to pick yourself — or cheesy silk flowers, which you can probably find at the thrift store.

2. A Bored Housewife

Your story: Henry is out of town for the weekend, thank God. You’ve figured out how to turn off the security cameras and now you’re looking for a pool boy to come over and mix you a stiff martini. STAT.

What you’ll need:

—The silkiest robe you can find at the thrift store. (Don’t be grossed out! It’s Halloween!)

—A phone full of incriminating texts.

3. A Haunted Church Girl

Your story: Mommy and Daddy took you to church every Sunday, even when you told them you didn’t want to go "back to the dark place." Today, Mommy and Daddy are gone, and you still go to church every Sunday... but now, you serve a different master.

What you’ll need:

—A poofy, little-girl dress. Hopefully white. Hopefully something that looks like it was someone’s confirmation dress.

—A creepy religious-y book that looks like it could be used for evil.

4. Alison From Pretty Little Liars On The Night She Went Missing

Your story: It’s complicated, but if you watch Pretty Little Liars you already know the sequence of events that happened on the night she disappeared, as well as the significance of The Yellow Top. And every other PLL fan at the party will be obsessed with you.

What you’ll need:

—A yellow tank top with ruffles. OK, OK, I lucked out finding one that is basically an exact match. But I believe in your powers of thrifting, too.

—Lots of secrets and an expression of terror.

5. Yourself At Junior Prom

Your story: TYLER FINALLY ASKED YOU OUT!!!! And mom bought you your first strapless bra to go with the dress, which has an asymmetrical hemline... duh.

What you'll need:

—The most '90s dress you can find. Trust me, thrift stores are crawling with them.

—A cheesy smile.

6. Grandma

Your story: "Would any of you dears like me to reheat some meatloaf?"

What you'll need:

—Some form of grandparent-themed top. Again, thrift stores are crawling with this stuff.

—A "fun" vest.

—A cookbook. You know the type.

7. Someone Who Is Definitely In A Cult & Trying To Sell You Their "Manifesto"

Your story: The Dear Leader has promised that if you follow the 13 Paths of Light, you will be taken up into the Highest Spheres to vibrate with him for all eternity! Praise to the Dear Leader! PRAISE!

What you'll need:

—Anything baggy and '70s-ish that whispers "I live on an 'organic farm.'"

—A flower crown.

—A book that seems a little too obsessive.

8. A Zebra ;)

Your story: You're a zebra. ;)

What you'll need:

—A zebra costume ;)

Photos: Tori Telfer. Model: Grace Beifuss.