San Franciscans love dressing up and donning a costume all year round, whether the occasion is a Santa-themed bar crawl, Bay to Breakers or just an average Thursday night. It should come to no surprise that Halloween is a very big deal in the city.
With parties happening before, during, and after the holiday, there are several options for last minute costume ideas to accompany each party.
Costumes on Haight (735 Haight Street, between Scott & Pierce Streets) is a natural choice for the perfect Halloween costume, whether you already know what you plan on wearing or if you’re just looking for inspiration. There are racks on racks on racks of full body costumes for rent and for sale, everything from mascots to super heroes to horror movie villains. Rent a $500 costume for only $40 to $50 (“it’s like recycling,” the store clerk told us), or you can choose to buy a costume to keep forever for about $200, which is what the deluxe Darth Vader movie replica costume goes for. Last year, Pan Am wear was all the rage at Costumes on Haight, but this year the store is stocking up on Romney and Obama face masks, along with Sesame Street character garb, due to the hoopla during the Presidential debates, and “Gangnam Style” blue blazers.
Out of the Closet (multiple locations: SOMA, Nob Hill, Castro, & the East Bay) is full of gently used clothing which belies a wealth of Halloween costume ideas. See that leather jacket on the rack for $20? With a little tweaking and the right accessories, you could be a Hell’s Angel, or rock legend Bruce Springsteen. Grab a “prom dress” and with a little bit of red paint you could be Stephen King’s telekinetic terrorist, Carrie. Items are priced low, and proceeds help support the AIDS Healthcare Foundation. Also available are wigs in all colors and styles, lederhosen, assless chaps, and an assortment of prefabricated costumes and add-ons, like a giant stuffed belly, if you’re considering going as Honey Boo-Boo or Kris Kringle. Items are priced low (some are even just one dollar), and depending on the color of the tag you can get away with a 30%-50% off purchase. Score!
Wasteland (1660 Haight Street, between Belvedere & Cole Streets) is a treasure trove of carefully selected new and used items from 90s, 80s, 70s, 60s, and beyond. Everything in the store, from lacy undergarments to super soft baseball tees to patchwork leather jackets, is in top-notch quality and perfect for creating any odd assortment of looks for Halloween. Whether you’re going for an Iceberg Slim style, a Victorian widow, or perhaps one of the Baseball Furies from The Warriors movie, Wasteland is a good place to start looking for what you need. The cost is a little high here, with some items (such as designer suits and dresses) priced at $100 or more, but everything is unique and finely made, and can be worn time and again well after Halloween is over.
Thrift Town (2101 Mission Street, between 17th St & Clarion Alley) is for thrift store lovers. The two story shop has it all– men’s, women’s and children’s clothing, with furniture and housewares to boot. Get a secondhand witch costume, or buy one of several wedding dresses hanging on the walls– “Everyone’s been buying wedding dresses this season, for some reason,” a clerk told us. With 50% off sales everyday on selected tags, items ranging from 99 cents to $70 (for finer items, like real fur coats), and designer pieces buried within the mix (for cheap!), you’re sure to find something great here, and for a steal. Get creative and match up some groovy polyester duds with a Frankenstein hat and go as “Funkenstein,” or pick up a vintage suit and hat to go as your favorite character from Boardwalk Empire. The possibilities are truly endless, so long as you’re willing to dig.