Jupe du Jour

Halloween Thrift Shopping at Deseret Industries Los Angeles

Haley SwanComment
Halloween thrifting in LA

It's that time of year again! You know, the time of year where I obsess over all things gourd related and spend all of my time and money on our Halloween costumes. You may remember from last year that I have a kind of "go big or go home" attitude toward Halloween costumes; I like them to be fun and one-of-a-kind.

But I also hate spending money. Period. So when it comes to Halloween, I try to get as many of the materials that I need for our costumes from thrift stores as possible. Last year, my leopard hoodie and almost all of Jared's Steve Zissou costume was thrifted, and the year before, our entire costumes minus the axe, paint, and hair products were also from thrift stores.

This year, Jared and I are going as Triton and Ursula from The Little Mermaid, and I managed to thrift him a couple of teal skirts that I'll use to make Triton's fish tail, but I was having the hardest time finding a good black dress for my Ursula costume. Enter Deseret Industries. They reached out to me about collaborating on a Halloween thrift shopping post, so I figured I'd check out their dress selection to see if I could find something usable. Can you say jackpot?? They had TONS of black formal dresses for me to dig through.

Dresses at DI
Dresses at DI

For those who don't remember, Ursula is a voluptuous sea witch who rocks a mean sweetheart neckline and some serious blue eyeshadow. I needed to find a dress that was black and form fitting in the bodice, but had some body in the skirt to create a curvy, full effect since Ursula is a bigger lady. Oh, and I'm eight months pregnant, so I also needed something that would cover my baby bump and still be about floor length. Sleeves were also preferable. So, all in all, a pretty tall order.

Dresses at DI Los Angeles

I ended up trying on four black dresses that looked about the right size. (Excuse the cell phone photos--it felt too weird pulling out my big Canon in the dressing room. But on another note, are these the nicest thrift store dressing rooms you've ever seen, or what?) 

I really liked Dress 1. It was velvet on top with an empire waist that looked great with my bump, and had a lovely black satin skirt. But I could NOT, for the life of me, zip it up in the back.

Dress 2 was a similar style, but with a black lace bodice and a lower waistline that wasn't as flattering. On anyone else it would probably be floor length, but it takes extra material to cover my bump, which meant the hem hung several inches off the floor. It did, however, zip up all the way.

Dress 3 was a really basic black crepe dress with flutter sleeves and a pretty drape to it. It didn't have the va-va-voom you'd expect in a dress for Ursula, but it was the most comfortable of the bunch, was long enough, and had sleeves. All major pluses for this pregnant lady.

Finally, Dress 4 was basically the quintessential Ursula dress. It was black satin and had a sweetheart neckline, fitted bodice, and a TON of fullness in the skirt thanks to a tulle underlayer and some beautiful gathering. It was also floor length and then some. Like Dress 1, however, I couldn't zip it up all the way. BUT I did notice that the previous owner had taken the bodice in by about 3/4 of an inch on each side, so I reasoned that there was some room to play around.

Price-wise, I think Dresses 1 and 2 were about $10 each (totally reasonable for formal dresses), but 3 and 4 didn't have price tags on them.

So what was a desperate, Halloween-obsessed girl to do?

Ultimately, I wanted both Dress 3 and Dress 4. Neither was perfect,  but both were workable in different ways, and I wanted to have a back-up in case my plans fell through. I figured I'd let out the bodice on Dress 4 and, if it still doesn't fit, maybe use some black ribbon to create a corset in the back. The shape is just perfect for Ursula, so it's my first choice. If it proves too difficult to work with, Dress 3 is a great alternative: I can create a slimmer, sexier silhouette with this dress and use the tentacles (coming in another blog post soon!) to add some fullness.

Since the two dresses I chose were also the two that didn't have price tags, I told myself that I'd only buy both if the total was under $25; otherwise, I had a difficult decision to make. The total, my friends, was TWELVE DOLLARS. That's right, these beauties were $6 each--ridiculously cheap even by thrift store standards. Bless you, Deseret Industries, for making my Halloween dreams come true. Now to get to work with some craft foam, hot glue, and seashells...

For those of you wondering about other Halloween costume options at DI, rest assured that it would be super easy to pull together just about any costume using what they have on hand. For example, a couple of minutes' worth of browsing and I had found a near-complete and totally adorable cowgirl outfit. Just add jeans and a belt buckle!

Thrifted cowgirl hat
Thrifted plaid shirt
Thrifted boots

They also have a great selection of craft supplies and toys that could come in handy as you're piecing together your costume this year. Anybody need a sword?

Thrift store crafts
Thrift store toys

Also, not as relevant to Halloween, but DI has a FANTASTIC baby clothes section, and I couldn't resist poking around for some stuff for Baby Swan, who will be here in just over a month. I ended up finding ten things for him for $12, including these two vintage pieces that I cannot wait for him to grow into. Squeal!

Vintage baby clothes at DI Los Angeles

The moral of this story: Go to DI. Go to find your Halloween costume, go for adorable baby clothes, go for toys, go for whatever. Because it is so cheap it's almost criminal. And the store is very well organized, and the selection is to die for. I'll definitely be back soon to find more sweet little clothes for Baby Swan.

The Los Angeles location is at:

2720 East 11th Street
Los Angeles, California 90023
(323) 268-7281

Or you can check DI's website for additional locations!