Everything you need to know to cash in on Halloween costumes as a reseller.
Halloween is a truly magical time. It’s not only fun for children but a nostalgic treat for adults as well. Some people really go all out for Halloween, and if you’ve stepped into a Spirit Halloween recently, you’ll know that the price of Halloween costumes is insane. As you can imagine, thrifty shoppers will be on the hunt for steals and deals on the secondhand market.
I’ve been a reseller for over seven years, and I’ve always loved selling Halloween items, but in the last two years, I’ve gotten really serious about it and wanted to share what I’ve learned so far with the Vendoo community.
When It Comes To Halloween, Start Early
You’ll want to be hunting for Halloween costumes all year, but I start seriously listing them in early August. In fact, this year, I’ve already sold about one-fourth of my inventory in August alone. The real frenzy of costume buying happens in September, and then you have the “ship it to me as fast as humanly possible” rush the first week of October. It’s a short selling window, so you need to be prepared.
Having said that, some costumes sell all year. People love to dress up for many occasions, so if you have great costumes in a random month, throw them up and make sure to include keywords like “cosplay” for those all-season items.
Where To Get Halloween Costumes To Sell
Thrift stores are a great place to source pre-owned costumes, but they usually put them out seasonally instead of all year. You can also find them at garage sales. When shopping for pre-owned costumes, I look for quality, condition, and I make sure all or most of the pieces are there.
Pro Tip: Halloween accessories or things that can be used as accessories to costumes also sell well individually, so don’t forget to pick them up! Things like a witch's hat, a broomstick, parts of uniforms, and things like that will all sell during spooky season.
For the last few years, I’ve been upping my game and buying large quantities of new and store-returned costumes from liquidation companies. To find a source, you have to make a lot of phone calls and have relationships with liquidators.
My method is simpler. I buy from middle-men wholesalers like Helpsy Source. There are other companies out there that I buy from as well. You’ll want to get familiar with the names of Halloween costume makers such as Yandy, who makes costumes under a lot of sub-brand names like Party King and Starline. The larger the quantity you buy, the cheaper the cost per item.
Processing Your Secondhand Halloween Costumes
When your giant box (or giant boxes) arrive at your doorstep, the real fun begins! I usually recruit or hire some help with the process because I want it done fast so I can get everything listed immediately.
When you buy costumes in bulk, what you are usually buying is store returns. This means you can expect a percentage of them to be damaged or even unsellable. Don’t worry, you’ll make so much profit off the others that this will not matter. In my personal experience from doing this for several years, most of the “return reasons” are either fake or fixable. Most of the time, there is a makeup stain that is easily removed, or it will say it’s “dirty” when it’s clearly not. I honestly think most are store try-ons that the staff didn’t want to repackage. That means that the majority of what I get is sellable, with the biggest issues usually being a mission accessory.
The best part of buying wholesale is most of the costumes come with their original packaging with a nice cover photo and the exact name of the costume, which makes listing it super easy.
Here is how I efficiently process my wholesale Halloween costumes:
I open the box and excitedly sift through the costumes to see what I got! (This is by far the most fun part!)
Each costume has to be opened and inspected, note any flaws.
While it’s already out of the package, take your photos!
Repackage the costume.
Look up comps online, and sometimes I will also use a stock photo (so far, this hasn’t been an issue, but use stock photos at your own discretion).
List the costume on Vendoo and then crosspost it to multiple marketplaces in minutes!
Store the costumes and get ready for sales!
Which Marketplaces Are Best For Selling Halloween Costumes
You can sell costumes just about anywhere, but here are my personal favorites that bring me the most sales and highest profits.
Depop - Depop gets the number one spot. Costumes sell fast and at close to your full asking price as long as you use the right keywords! This makes sense because a lot of these costumes are “sexy,” and Depop has a large young adult base.
eBay - My second highest sales for costumes come from eBay because they have a huge buyer’s pool; the price can be more competitive here.
Poshmark - Poshmark brings in close to the same sales as eBay for Halloween for me, but at a slightly higher price sometimes.
Mercari - Last year, Mercari was higher on the list, but their new shipping prices for heavy items have made for slow sales now as many of these costumes are over 1 pound.
Facebook Marketplace - I don’t sell a ton here, but I’ve sold a few, and it’s just a few extra clicks to list here with Vendoo!
Tips For Creating Halloween Costume Listings That Sell Fast
As you get closer to September, more competition enters the marketplaces, so you need to make sure your listing is spot-on so that you show up in search results. Here are some tips for creating great listings:
- Have great photos!
- Research the exact name of the item but also include the “real words.” For example, Party King can’t call their Cat Womon costume by its real name because it’s trademarked, but you can include DC comics inspired, cat women vibe, etc. in your listing.
- Have a strong title with the brand, costume name, size, and anything else that sells the item.
- Describe the outfit in detail, including fabric, colors, accessories, styles, and anything that describes the character.
- Include keywords like Halloween, Costume, Cosplay, Party, Costume Party, Spooky, Trick or Treat, and Holiday. (Also add words that go with the costume, such as Vampire, zombie, or witch, if they apply.)
- Finally, especially for Depop, also include any cores or aesthetics that relate to the costume, such as “Fairycore.”
Check out this guide to Different Core Aesthetics & Style Hashtags
In the last two years, my average cost of goods has been around $6 - $8, and my average net profits have been between $25 - $60, with a few premium sellers that go for over $100 profit each. I put a custom label in Vendoo that says “Halloween” and one that says my custom source in order to track these profits more accurately.
Make sure to stock up on Halloween costumes and have a great fall-selling season!