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Vintage Clothing for Halloween Costumes

Updated on November 25, 2014

Halloween is a major holiday but yet unlike other major holidays, it doesn't have to become a major expense to have fun.

One great example is seeking out the upscale consignment shops that sell vintage clothing. Re-purposing is finally in vogue and rightfully so. Great quality pieces are always in style. Yet, how do we find them? Not all consignment shops are created equal. Some specialize in designer fashions, handbags, some specialize in vintage.

Seek out an upscale consignment shop for your next Halloween costume and you will garner allot of great idea and save money not to mention simply have a ton of fun!

Journey with me as we explore some fantastic sources in the Midwest, NYC and of course on line. Stay with us til the end and share with us your favorite costume, vintage costume idea and other great sources for vintage finds.

Vintage Fashion Patterns and Vintage Halloween Costumes Are In Vogue Again

This beautiful black and white shoe would have matched my Mother's expensive wool coat perfectly.
This beautiful black and white shoe would have matched my Mother's expensive wool coat perfectly. | Source

Vintage Halloween

black and white vintage photo of Halloween cat with girl in dance costume
black and white vintage photo of Halloween cat with girl in dance costume | Source

Vintage Halloween Costume Ideas

Vintage Halloween Costume Marilyn Monroe
Vintage Halloween Costume Marilyn Monroe | Source
Vintage Halloween Costume Flapper
Vintage Halloween Costume Flapper | Source
Vintage Halloween Costume Cocktail Dress
Vintage Halloween Costume Cocktail Dress | Source

Antique or Vintage - Which One Is It?

Vintage is an old collectible. To many antique is over 50 years, yet the legal requirement by the US Customs office is 100 years. Technically antique from Latin means old.

According to Wikipedia:

"The only real law concerning the definition of the word antique comes from the US customs office, that considers antique as anything 100 years old."

Halloween Costume Have Only One Rule - Have Fun!

There is really only one rule for dressing up for Halloween and it is simply to have fun! I love duets and enjoy pairing with others for singing and for costumes. My favorite costume was in college when I was Pebbles and my date was BamBam. The costume was simple and cheap and loads of fun. His Mother made the leopard suit and I had black on back with my hair tied - you guessed it with my faux dog bone which the dog later enjoyed very much.

Another year at college, my best friend dressed up as each other. No one understood the "outfits" we wore because they appeared normal - they just were not normal for us. She never wore pink, never wore a dress and lo and behold she was frilly that night. Me - rarely casual and yet somehow we put something together for me to wear.

You see Halloween magic is about the make believe and becoming something that you are not. It is not about the expensive costume, it is about the creativity and joy it brings you. When I dressed casual and my best friend dressed frilly, we had one of the best Halloween's ever. We enjoyed each other's company and became something we are not. Dream a little and let the costume take you to a new reality - just for a moment or a night.

The scary part of Halloween for me is when we are stuck and cannot become or imagine something else. If we are afraid of being too sexy or too frilly or too casual. We all need to not just reach for the moon but reach high for the stars. This is what the magic of Halloween is really all about.

When I was a teenager I dressed up as a clown. I am not certain my Mother appreciated my choice of her black and white wool coat which decades before was the height of fashion. Today that very same print is back in fashion and very hot! Wish I kept that coat. My Mother had the fashion sense - I truly am a clown at heart.

Vintage Halloween Costume Ideas

Vintage Halloween could be the classic faire of witches, zombies, mummies and other monsters of the dark and the devil himself but we could be more creative and mimic real life in some fashion. Or better yet, mimic real life from decades before - antique or vintage. A couple of ideas to get your creative juices flowing:

Vintage Television Show

  • I Dream of Jeannie
  • Adams Family (ok, I had to state the obvious!)
  • Wizard of Oz
  • Darth Vader

Larger Than Life Characters

  • Animated Shows - Cartoon characters - Flintstones, Jetsons, Daffy Duck, etc...
  • Super Heroes
  • Doctors, Nurses, Firemen, Policemen, etc...


  • Mary Poppins
  • Pirate of the Caribbean


  • Cher
  • Michael Jackson
  • Marilyn Monroe
  • Past Presidents
  • Donny and Marie

Vintage Era's

  • 1920's Flapper
  • 1950s Blond Bombshell
  • 1960s GoGo boots
  • 1970s Hippie
  • Historical - Medieval Renaissance, Cleopatra, Caesar,
  • Cowboys and Indians

Television Shows and Retro

  • PanAm
  • Mad Men
  • Hawaii Five O
  • South Park

Video Game Costumes

  • Mario
  • TMNT
  • Princess Peach
  • Luigi Nintendo

Vintage Clothing in Whitewater, Wisconsin

A marker182 west main street, whitewater, wi -
182 W Main St, Whitewater, WI 53190, USA
get directions

Reflections of the Past Whitewater, Wisconsin

A Unique Shopping Experience

Upscale Consignment Clothing Vintage Fashion Jewelry

182 West Main Street

Whitewater, WI 53190


Vintage Clothing in the Midwest

What a store! What a great selection! The students at University of Whitewater have a fabulous selection with this gem of a store. Extensive collection of vintage with a special emphasis upon 1940s.

The storekeeper shared with me that she has a husband and wife as a client who visit Whitewater every year and literally wipe her out of vintage clothing. They reside in New York City and wear - get this - only vintage 1940s! What a hoot! Halloween is every day for them!

From boas to gloves to an extensive selection of scarves, this store is a must visit IF you love vintage.

Vintage Clothing in NYC

A marker130 West 25th NYC, NY -
130 W 25th St, New York, NY 10001, USA
get directions

Early Halloween New York City, NY

Early Halloween

130 West 25th Street 11th Floor
New York, NY 10001
Tel: (212) 691-2933
Fax: (212) 243-1499

Halloween Rental Services

Speaking of New York City, here is a store that specializes in Halloween every day - aptly named Early Halloween but instead of buying, you rent. What a great idea and frugal too!

Early Halloween services offered are rentals and styling. For over 32 years, they have provided a collection of mens, womens, and childrens apparel and accessories ranges from the 1900s to the classic 60's, plus a retro collection of 70's and 80's including vintage and retro luggage and other fashion related props.

Early Halloween specializes in working with many of the major film companies, fashion houses and stylists worldwide.

Their collection is for rental only. Check out their 8,500 square foot loft space in the heart of the Chelsea district in Manhattan. Appointment only.

More Halloween Vintage Costume Ideas

Vintage I Dream of Jeannie Costume
Vintage I Dream of Jeannie Costume | Source
Pin Up Girl 1950's
Pin Up Girl 1950's
1920's Flapper Dress
1920's Flapper Dress | Source
Vintage Costume Idea Television Shows
Vintage Costume Idea Television Shows | Source
Homemade Pebbles and Is that BamBam?
Homemade Pebbles and Is that BamBam? | Source

Vintage Online Stores

Shopping online is not for everyone but for the selection that shopping offers us for vintage clothing and apparel, eBay takes the award. Other online shopping stores are listed below. It is not an exhausted listing. Would love to hear what your favorite stores are and where they are.

Consignment and vintage and resale shops I find each has a flavor or a certain character to it. Somehow, I believe the store ends up reflecting the passion of the buyer. One of my favorite stores located in Williams Bay offers a great deal of St. John apparel - which is one of my favorites and strictly off limits by my checkbook - unless it is at the resale shop.

The online stores are tremendous. I will forewarn you it is addicting. Do not open one without having time to try all of them. Each is very unique. Take the time and find your favorite and bookmark it for future reference. These sites are precious. They have done the hunting for you. Your job is to sit back and click and enjoy the vintage fashion show from decades before.

© 2011 Kelly Kline Burnett


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    • GmaGoldie profile image

      Kelly Kline Burnett 5 years ago from Madison, Wisconsin

      Oh, you mentioned the fun and frilly stuff like make-up and false lashes. I have never tried false lashes - that would be a hoot for Halloween. Thank you so much for sharing!

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 5 years ago from The Beautiful South

      This really would be fun. I never tried this in particular but I use to do unusual things for Halloween. You can do anything you always wanted to do and cake on that make-up and do the false lashes and just have all kinds of fun! Up and sharing for such a great idea!

    • GmaGoldie profile image

      Kelly Kline Burnett 5 years ago from Madison, Wisconsin

      I love make believe and feel that is the fun of Halloween. All of have to act at some point in time in our life, changing it up and becoming a character is simply fun but it can be expensive. The vintage stores are a great local buy - good for your hometown and for your wallet. Thank you so much for your accolades - very much appreciated.

    • alocsin profile image

      alocsin 5 years ago from Orange County, CA

      I have a few wild outfits from the late sixties and early seventies that I wear to Halloween parties on occasion. They are generally quite well-received. Voting this Up and Useful.

    • GmaGoldie profile image

      Kelly Kline Burnett 6 years ago from Madison, Wisconsin


      What a fantastic idea! Thank you so much for sharing! I love the 1920's. Vintage fashion is such fun!

    • stephaniedas profile image

      Stephanie Das 6 years ago from Miami, US

      It is so much fun to dress up in clothes that people used to wear, and see how fashion has changed. Last year I dressed as a ghost. I put on a 1920's black dress and heels, and fake pearls. I did my hair in a flapper style, and put on a long coat with a fake fur collar. I had spent under $15 for the whole thing at a secondhand store. It was great.

    • GmaGoldie profile image

      Kelly Kline Burnett 6 years ago from Madison, Wisconsin


      I had forgotten about the Jeanie redesign of her costume! Too low at the waist line! Oh, we have come a long way baby!

      Thank you for your kind words and for stopping by.

    • jrport profile image

      jrport 6 years ago

      It was so much fun to view these great vintage samples of clothing for costumes!! I loved the one of Jeanie1 Do you remember when they had to "redesign" her costome because the sensors said it was too low at the waistline???? Wow! Times have changed.

      Your article was well informed, interesting and helpful for anyone who is seriously interested in getting the very best for Halloween. I like to browse the consignment stores for articles I can wear right now, and have found quite a few - and right in vogue as well!!

      Thanks, nicely done! jrport