AUSTIN (KXAN) — It’s a few days before Halloween, and thrift stores across Austin are buzzing with people putting the finishing touches on their costumes. For Goodwill Central Texas, Halloween sales account for 5% of its total annual revenue, with approximately 800,000 people shopping at its stores during the holiday season.
The money spent goes toward a bigger payoff: funding job training and career placement programs in the Goodwill Career & Technical Academy. Nearly 90% of proceeds raised during Halloween season goes toward these courses, officials said.
“We really focus on in-demand career certifications that help people get a living wage job,” said Jennifer Carter, Goodwill Central Texas’ chief mission officer, adding: “It’s really cool to see people just light up and learn a new skill.”
Some of those programs include medical assistant training, Python code programming and electric trade work. Officials said these courses often benefit people who were previously incarcerated or who might’ve lacked access to technical training courses or higher education.
For Goodwill Central Texas staff, they said they love seeing the creativity customers apply to their Halloween costumes and how to bring their visions to life.
This season, some popular favorites include zombies, brides of Frankenstein and characters from popular television series, North Lamar Goodwill General Manager Lana Ayers told KXAN. As for kids? Well, some classics like Harry Potter never go out of style, she added.
For those shopping on a budget, Ayers recommended looking through general clothing donations at Goodwill Central Texas for inspiration.
“Using the donated items that we get in, the clothing and trying to match and get closest to the idea or the character that they’re trying to play in,” she said.
Tiffany Davis, a retail supervisor at the North Lamar Goodwill dressed as a festive scarecrow when we interviewed her, said this time of year is the perfect time for people to tap into their creative juices.
“Just coming in here, creating a character and having an imagination and just having…making it a good time,” she said, smiling.