Halloween doesn’t exactly scream sustainability. From plastic wrapped sweets to discarded pumpkins, the spooky season has arguably become one of waste. But what if there was another way? Before you skip to a costume shop or, worse, *whispers* Amazon, consider charity shopping. Buying second-hand reduces your carbon footprint and is your vote for a circular economy.  In need of some inspiration? We’ve got you covered!

  • Dead bride. An easily achievable classic, thanks to your local charity shop. Wedding dresses are often kept out back, so ask a shop assistant if you can’t see one right away. For more of a selection, search for a bridal or occasion-wear specialist charity shop.
  • Prom queen. As above, but with colour! If you want to add rips and blood stains, see if you can find an already damaged dress. Imperfect clothing can be harder to sell, so you’ll be doing your bit against waste by buying an unwanted item.
  • Witch. During October, charity shops will often have a designated Halloween section. Head straight for this section to browse the second-hand selection of costumes. If you can’t find a pointy hat there, get a selection of regular black clothing and make your own out of paper and card.
  • Ghost. As well as clothes, many charity shops accept bedding and linen donations. Old white sheets might make the easiest costume – just cut two eye-holes, and you’re good to go. If you can’t find anything plain, some DIY bleaching might do the trick (and treat).
  • Granny. If you need a guaranteed option, this is the one. Less curated charity shops are a great location for older and vintage clothing. An a-line long skirt, frilly blouse, handbag, pearls and a silk headscarf are a winning combination. Bonus points for a preloved walking stick or frame.

So, you’ve found your outfit. Now what? If it was a knockout, there’s every chance you’ll want to keep it. This is a great option, and will save you from panic the following Halloween! It’s also true that the most sustainable item is the one already in your wardrobe, so there’s no shame in rewearing. If you don’t have space to store a bloodied bridal gown, why not take it back to the charity shop? If you struggle to donate recent purchases, think of it as rental – for a good cause. We can’t wait to see your final looks! Tag us @TheCharityShopGiftCard on instagram for your chance to be featured on our page.


An image of Iso holding a sign that reads Iso is an Instagrammer and second-hand fashion advocate. She has appeared on BBC Radio 4, and is due to begin a master’s degree in Sustainable Fashion in 2023. You can follow her on Instagram here.