We pretended Halloween wasn’t cancelled and charity-shopped for costumes anyway

Did someone order a Thomas Shelby and a Zombie Bride?

Oh Halloween…gone but not forgotten – a hazy memory of pre-Covid nostalgia. It’s a sacred time where nobody can judge you for wearing a bedsheet and saying you’re a ghost, or skimpy lingerie and animal ears just so you can declare that, “I’m a mouse, DUH”.

Before Cardiff went into lockdown, we explored all the charity shops Albany Road had to offer and came up with a variety of outfits you would have been sure to spot on a Halloween Juice night if COVID hadn’t spoiled our fun. It doesn’t matter if you are a cosplay Queen, or if you just whack on whiskers and call it a night – we found something for everyone. And though we can’t have the night-out of our dreams, who doesn’t want to watch horror films stuck indoors dressed as a Heather?

Preppy Students

Preppy rich girl is always a go-to. Combine Mary-Janes with knee high socks, a matching skirt and blazer, three friends, and you have yourself a Heather. Make it yellow – you’re Clueless. Pink? Legally Blonde. Although not scary, this tried and tested look is cute, simple, and approved by Elle Woods herself.

Shut up Heather

Enough for you, and your friends!

When in doubt, animal print!

In reality, about fifty per-cent of all girls will end up drawing on eyeliner whiskers to pair with their Primark leopard print skirt. Luckily, we found enough cheetah print and snake skin for an easy last minute group outfit.

You know, to keep it subtle

Slogan Tees

Oi you! Yes, you! The one who “hates Halloween” but got dragged out anyway. We found a top that’s just enough to get you out of a forfeit, but very easily covered by a jacket when you get too cringed out. Yes, we know you’ll hate it, but not as much as everyone hates you for wearing it.

Ah yes, because this is SO much cooler than a costume

Freshers’ Forfeit

Whilst designed for a child, these outfits would look perfect on a drunk rugby lad who failed their initiation. Question is, even dressed as Tinkerbell, can he pull?

The amount of money I’d paid to see a rugby lad in the little red number

Zombie Bride

This is for those who take the spooky season Seriously™. For a typical Halloween look, go the Cady Heron route and embrace the Corpse Bride with fake blood and extreme make-up. Alternatively, cut it short and add angel wings to become a more basic Regina George.

Seriously though – this dress is a fab find

Or for a less gothic look…

Peaky Blinders

Discover your inner Shelby with this trench coat and iconic flat cap (blade not included). This look works best for large groups walking the grey streets of Cathays. Just be careful not to scare the locals!

Never felt better tbh

Witches and Wizards

“You’re a wizard Harry!”

Whilst your Hogwarts letter got lost in the post, you can live out your childhood dreams by dressing yourself and your reluctant house up as the characters from your favourite fantasy film. Whether you’re more Gandalf or Dumbledore, Hermione or Elphaba, you can’t go wrong with a hat or a broom.

This paired with a little black dress would be peak Halloween

PLEASE buy this hat

Retro, cause we need to escape the present

It’s very easy at this moment in time to wish we were NOT in 2020. So if you fancy a blast from the past, find refuge in your local charity shops. Although the roaring 20s haven’t reached us yet, be prepared with this flapper dress and a sparkling set of pearls. Or if flower power is more your vibe, you can live out your hippie dreams with this floral number.

Double flower-power points for getting this from a charity shop

Just add (fake) pearls!


We couldn’t help falling in love with this one! An iconic outfit fit for the King himself. Put on your Blue Suede Shoes and get All Shook Up with your fellow Hound Dogs.

It’s always tempting to buy a pre-packaged outfit online, only to throw it away a week later (we’ve all been there!). This is a great way to avoid fast fashion, and charity shops provide an eco-friendly way to find the perfect look for half the price. It also makes a fun day of stepping outside the box and creating a ‘one of a kind’ look that’s just right for you. It might feel like Halloween has been cancelled, but there are so many ways to have a laugh and a drink with your house. So stay safe and Happy Halloween!

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