With October 31st only a short time away, some residents and businesses in Chapel Hill and Carrboro are preparing for the flow of costumed collegians onto Franklin Street, while others are looking for a way to join the festivities. Even the threat of sparse parking can’t keep thousands of young and not-so-young folks from dressing up in this year’s popular costumes and some stand-by classics. For these brave men and women, Halloween represents the one time of year that dressing as the opposite sex and wearing face paint are not only accepted, but encouraged.

Unfortunately, some people are too busy to put together an eye-catching ensemble and have to go with what they already own or can purchase at a Halloween-themed store somewhere off the highway. These are not candidates for costume contest winners, and they surely lack in proper workmanship. For those who decide to go above and beyond, there is a wealth of awesome, inexpensive costume pieces at local thrift and vintage stores that will have every zombie head turning. It is a great way for trick-or-treaters to shop locally and save money.

PTA Thrift Shop (Elliott Road, Chapel Hill) and Club Nova (Main Street, Carrboro) are good places to start. Both places have plenty of local and industry-specific clothing; these are great for spoofing maintenance uniforms or creating a “zombie version” of your favorite sales clerk. For the same price as a pre-made costume, parents could put together two or three using pieces from a thrift store. Not having to spend a lot on clothing pieces also means that they can be paired with a can of spray paint or some cardboard boxes to create some truly silly costumes. Don’t forget to pick up a pair of solid pants; Chapel Hill tends to be chilly on Halloween!

For a slightly pricier but higher quality costume, head down to Franklin Street to sportswear shops like Johnny T-Shirt and the Shrunken Head Boutique. Putting together a Tar Heel version of a favorite costume can be easy as adding a Carolina blue hat or winter cap, and authentic uniforms are always available for the true perfectionist.

The best location for a one-of-a-kind Halloween costume, however, has always been Time After Time, on West Franklin Street. Their collection of vintage clothing from the previous decades is like a gold mine to the Halloween shopper. With countless jackets, shirts, hats and pants unlike anything worn today, it is nearly impossible to settle on just one outfit. Multi-colored suits and vibrant tops as well as throwback sports clothing are easy to pair with some wild sunglasses for a 70’s vibe. Acid-washed jeans, spandex, fluffy blouses and feathered caps- it’s all here. Make sure to go by earlier than later, as the store gets very busy around Halloween.

Halloween on Franklin Street is always a blast, and with a killer costume, students and visitors to Chapel Hill can get the full experience. Putting the right outfit together without spending a fortune and supporting local businesses will make the night even better. With help from these stores and a little imagination, anyone can make a memorable Halloween costume that looks great and doesn’t break the bank.

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