Ruby Slippers & A Thrifty Halloween


I’ve been dressing up for Halloween since the age of 4 (my first costume was Mary Had a Little Lamb) but this year I ended up waiting until the last moment to put together my costume. Originally I had wanted to be Carmen Miranda this year but the search for a colorful Spanish style dress at the thrifts was fruitless (pun intended!) and the hat would have been tricky to execute. The Friday before Halloween I cast an eye about my room and I saw this 1950s blue gingham square dancing dress and suddenly realized I could be Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz. It’s actually a bit of a costume repeat as I was Dorothy back in jr. high; back then my mom actually sewed my outfit for me (sadly I no longer fit said costume and the accessorizes are in Arkansas)! Surprisingly I had all the pieces to my costume already so just had to track down red glitter. It was a madhouse at my neighborhood Target the Saturday before Halloween and they were all sold out of glitter, thankfully Joanne’s was close by and I bought the last red glitter within a 15 mile radius of my apartment! Thrifted Halloween costumes are a lot more unique and interesting (not to mention much cheaper) than the tacky polyester readymade costumes, am I right?
1950s blue gingham square dancing dress: Antique Mall in my hometown of Fayetteville, Arkansas
1970s Basket Purse: White Elephant Thrift, Chicago
1930s/40s stuffed Toto dog: Rosemont Flea Market, Chicago
T-Strap Mary Jane Heels: Originally from Payless, covered in glitter to make ruby slippers
Sadly I didn’t carve a jack-o-lantern this year, my apartment is on the 3rd floor so there isn’t a good place to display it. I still purchased a mini pumpkin from a farmer’s market in Lincoln Square (pictured above). The trees are aflame here, I spotted this tree on a walk through the Andersonville neighborhood.
A kitty jack-o-lantern spotted on the front porch of an Andersonville home. Will definitely have to make something similar next year.
My roommate, Adeline, also wore a thrifted Halloween costume, she went as the Mexican artist Frida Kahlo. The pink embroidered Mexican dress is actually mine and I picked up the stuffed monkey from the Unique thrift store. Monkeys actually appear as a frequent motif in Kahlo’s paintings so we thought it would be funny if Adeline carried one around all night. Unfortunately she forgot to apply Kahlo’s signature feature (the unibrow) before we took these photos but remedied the situation in time for the night’s party.

Vintage Made in Japan flowers from my collection that we pinned in her hair.


We drove over to the Pilsen neighborhood to do a shoot with the colorful murals as a backdrop but the light had pretty much faded by the time we made it there. I’m not a fan of using flash so I’m only posting one of the pictures from that batch.
Post pictures of your Halloween costumes! Did you thrift or make your costume?

Comments 0

  1. too cute!
    I thrift my Halloween costume. I found my white dress at a yard sale for $ 1.00. It was perfect for Teresa ( Barbie) doll costume.

    I can't wait for next year's Halloween:) Already counting the days:)


  2. too cute!
    I thrift my Halloween costume. I found my white dress at a yard sale for $ 1.00. It was perfect for Teresa ( Barbie) doll costume.

    I can't wait for next year's Halloween:) Already counting the days:)


  3. Great Dorothy costume! The dress is super cute 🙂
    I just did a simple sugar skull make up for the halloween party – didnt have the time for anything else and I've always wanted to paint my face like that 😉

  4. your costume looks great – especially since you were able to put it together so quickly! i had needed to make a trip to joannes for the last week or so and put it off, afraid of the halloween chaos! i went on halloween night, and you could hear a pin drop in there 😉

  5. Hi! Love your costume! Super cute… I was actually Carmen Miranda for Halloween once in middle school. We always handmade our costumes from thrifted pieces of clothing as well. For my Carmen Miranda costume, we found a brightly colored flowing skirt, a blousy Spanish style peasant top which my mom sewed rick rack and sequence to, and a white table cloth which was cut up and fashioned into a turban like thing – we hot glued plastic fruit onto that… It was pretty funny…

  6. Love your costume! My sister used to live in Andersonville – great neighborhoods! I really love your friends frieda costume too, I saw someone else who did it and peciled in the unibrow and everything! Glad to see you again!

  7. very cute! i love her frida costume too!
    i made my costume from things i already had. a black dress and striped tights, a weird silky black caplet thing my mother in law gave me, and a witch hat i got from my husband's grandmother's attic. i love cheap costumes!

  8. gorgeous and SO cute! your neighborhood looks so pretty btw, very american 😀 and your friend is a total babe, I always love me some frida. Btw that fruitless pun had me in stitches 😀

  9. Oh what great creative Costumes you both wore! I too am a Costume Thrifter from way back… my G-Kids enjoy the hunt for Junquing Treasures that will transform into their Halloween ensembles. So much more interesting than the mass produced retail store bought kind. I was Celebrating Dia de los Muertos around Halloween anyway so I just used my Sugar Skull Gal ensemble on Halloween Night and the Children loved it. So few adults dress up… such a shame because children enjoy us participating in the Fantasies… and I'm such a big kid at Heart that I always have.

    Dawn… The Bohemian

  10. I can't even begin to tell you how much I LOVE your costume. It is just darling, and that dress is something I would wear over and over again. Glad to hear that you had a fun Halloween. Are you still planning a trip to San Francisco?

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