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Thrift Stores: Ground Zero for Halloween Gear

jacquiscloset on Flickr.com

What are you going to be for Halloween this year? Please, Lady Gaga's bubbles costume is so 2009! How about her meat dress, Snooki, a group costume with your pals portraying Tiger Woods and his mistresses, or the BP logo? Whatever it may be for you in 2010, we called up our most trusted thrift shops to see what they have to offer your too-old-to-be-trick-or-treating self.

Clothes Contact, 473 Valencia St., (415) 621-3212

Starting today, this clothes-by-the-pound ($10 per pound!) store near 16th and Valencia is setting up their Halloween section full of every crazy item you could imagine. "Ruffly pirate shirts, crinolines and tutus are big sellers," sales associate Alex said. "We have a ton of Halloween dresses, like 50s Mad Men dresses, 70s disco dresses, sci-fi dresses if you want to be a sexy alien, vintage cheerleader costumes and vintage hoe-down dresses. We have lots of stuff that could be used for Lady Gaga outfits, which will be popular this year. I'm going to be Ke$ha!"

Thrift Town, 2101 Mission St., (415) 861-1132

Mike at Thrift Town couldn't pin down the Mission second-hand mecca's selection, simply because every year there's so much: "We always have a lot of random stuff that's unique and individual. You name it, I've got it. Princesses, frogs, witches, demons, everything."

Mission Thrift, 2330 Mission St., (415) 821-9560

Perhaps the most well-curated thrift store in the area, Mission Thrift has no shortage of funky digs perfect for Halloween. "We always sell a lot of pirate stuff, cowboy and cheerleader costumes," said sales associate Tery. "We have tons of good quality luchadero masks and sell a lot of wigs, sunglasses, petticoats, tights, bustiers and face paint. This year, Lady Gaga might still be popular, or Jersey Shore!"

Community Thrift, 623 Valencia St., (415) 861-4910

Community Thrift will put up their special Halloween section full of costumes and anything else employees want to add on October 7th, amidst their sprawling normal selection of used clothes. Clothing manager Richard says they have "hats, ball gowns, masks, military uniforms. . .it's just a big pile of everything. Dressing in drag is always popular for straight men, as well as clowns, French maids and monsters." What does he think will be popular? "Maybe you could be a guido. You can't be an oil spill."

Out of the Closet, 100 Church St. @ Duboce, (415) 252-1101

"We have a lot of really creative people who come in here," says store manager Amy. "So we have a lot of funky stuff for them to get creative with. We always have one rack of vintage stuff and evening wear and we've sold tons of colored wigs, neon fairy and enchanted butterfly costumes. We have a lot of short, sexy petticoats with sequined waistbands. Men come in and ask for vintage couture and Jackie O. style clothing all the time!"

Salvation Army Family Store, 3921 Geary St., (415) 876-6390

Nothing in this double-decker shop has that thrift store smell, and everything is well organized and taken care of. There are a lot of musical instruments that would be perfect for props, too. "Things that people like to buy in our store for Halloween are men's suits to make Al Capone-type gangster or politician outfits, super hero masks, snakeskin boots, anything glittery like prom or wedding dresses, and anything with feathers," Regional Manager George Erickson told us. "They also usually like our donated fur, wildly patterned shirts and crazy jewelry."

Stay tuned for our next guide, all about cool places to grab props and new costumes from specialty stores!