SF residents love any excuse to throw on a costume and hit the streets, so it’s no surprise that we also have a treasure trove of vintage, thrift, and costume shops, where you can find the perfect Halloween look.
The list ranges from high-quality rentals to affordable vintage looks and even some DIY options if you’re feeling crafty. Whatever you have planned for Halloween, these spots will help you look your best.
1. Haight Street Costumes
Haight Street Costumes is a queer-owned and operated costume shop that has been helping SF to dress up for 33 years. If you want to ditch the flimsy action hero costume and really turn heads, this is the place to go. They have a jaw-dropping amount of era and genre-specific outfits for rent that will make you the envy of any party you attend. A few highlights include their Star Wars & Star Trek collection, movie characters, as well as an impressive Victorian collection.
Location: 735 Haight Street
2. Cliff’s Variety
Cliff’s Variety is a Casto district staple and a delightful place to shop. Since 1936 they’ve stoked a large but curated selection of just about anything that a city dweller needs, including Halloween decorations. They house an excellent selection of full costumes but are also a great place for finishing touches like props, face paint, wigs, fake blood, and vampire teeth.
Location: 479 Castro Street
3. Piedmont Boutique
Piedmont Boutique specializes in disco-party wear, drag queen regalia, and classic Burning Man fashions. Imagine floor-to-ceiling displays of pink faux fur bikinis, silver sequin shorts, neon green wigs and so much more. If you’re looking to go big on the color and texture this Halloween, Piedmont Boutique is definitely worth a visit.
Location: 1452 Haight Street
4. Held Over
Haight Street is known for its thrift and vintage stores but for era-specific costumes, it’s hard to beat Held Over. They have a strong focus on vintage European fashion and arrange their clothes into hyper-specific sections like “1960s formal,” “1980s Prom,” or just “Long and Groovy.” They don’t sell packaged costumes, but with a little time and creativity, you can walk out with an outstanding look.
Location: 1543 Haight Street
5. One Stop Party Shop
One Stop Party Shop is a small but well-stocked store in Noe Valley that stocks wigs, masks, facepaint, and complete costumes. They’re also known for their party decorations ranging from Christmas to the Oscars and everything in between.
Location: 1600 Church Street
6. Decades of Fashion
You could easily, and understandably, mistake Decades of Fashion for a fashion museum due to the quality and quantity of historic looks on their racks. Decades of Fashion prides itself on “100 years of fashion,” stretching from the 1890s to the 1980s. Whether your costume dreams include Gatsby-era garb or a hippie chic look, they probably have exactly what you’re looking for.
Location: 1653 Haight St
If you’re handy with a sewing machine or hot glue gun and want to construct your own outfit, Mendel’s has the materials. It’s a very well-stocked art supply store with a huge selection of fabric from vinyl to cuddle fleece. They also stock face paint, masks, and a few other Halloween accessories to help complete your look.
Location: 1556 Haight Street
We’ve all bought a costume or two at Target over the years, and with good reason. They tend to have a good selection of Halloween classics mixed in with the latest Disney/Marvel protagonists that are humorous, heroic, and inoffensive. As with all big box retailers, the stock will start to run low later in the month, so unless you want to squeeze into that children’s Spiderman costume, it’s best to shop early.
- 789 Mission Street
- 2675 Geary Boulevard
- 1690 Folsom Street
- 285 Winston Drive
9. Spirit Haloween
Whether you’ve visited one or just know them from the memes, Spirit Halloween is a household name. They pop up at empty storefronts across the region and offer a massive selection of complete costumes and accessories. Spirit is a great option if you’re having a tough time deciding what to wear and need a flattering and instantly recognizable look.
Location: 1685 Bryant Street
Featured image: Jason Yoder on Unsplash