A Very Thrifted Halloween (#1): How to Dress Like a Final Girl

For October 2014, I presented a whole month of casual cosplay ideas. This year, due to my passion for ethical choices in clothes shopping, I decided on a different approach: thrift-inspired costumes and a casual cosplay look at four specific topics (one to be posted each week leading up to the wonderful holiday that is Halloween).  

For the first installment, I have chosen a topic that sometimes gets overlooked next to their franchise horror counterparts. That is right, up first is a curated thrifted look devoted to the Final Girl. In case you need a definition, a Final Girl survives until the end and beats the bad guy (thus the warning - this post may contain spoilers).

I selected three types of final girl threads for this piece: "Vintage Look," "Ultimate Badass Attire," and "90s Teen-spiration."  I picked one character to represent the theme and curated three pieces of vintage clothing that can easily let you transform into said final girl.

Final Girl, Vintage Look

Wendy Torrance (The Shinning, 1980)

Shelley Duvall played the screen version of Wendy Torrance in Stanley Kubrick's adaptation of Stephen King's novel The Shining

Wendy is a mom who supports her son's imaginary fears and her husbands' writing aspirations (which have led them to being cut off from civilization for months). She is also a fighter, despite her notable frightening scream (remember the bat scene?).

Wendy also is a great representation of late 1970s and early 1980s horror movie fashion. She dressed like a real woman, a real mom. In her later scenes she sports overalls and plaid. I chose to curate her outfit from the beginning of film: red blouse, blue checkered dress, tan suede shoes. I went with pieces one could wear again, but also still represent this iconic look. All you need left to completed your Wendy Torrance look is a pair of red tights, a child with an imaginary friend, an unstable husband who drags you to the Overlook Hotel, and you are set. 

Other "Final Girl, Vintage Look" options to consider: Alice Hardy (Friday the 13th), Nancy (A Nightmare on Elm Street), and Laurie Strode (Halloween). 

Final Girl, Ultimate Badass Attire

Alice (Resident Evil, 2002)

Resident Evil's Alice went from being a Capcom videogame character to one of the ultimate badass final girls thanks to Milla Jovavich. Occasionally someone survives with the lead, but the one consistent factor of the films is Alice. 

Of course, for the first film, she defeated the baddies underground in a red dress and black boots. One of the most popular looks to be paid homage to by cosplayers and Halloween costumes. It also only requires three pieces: a red dress, black mini-skirt or shorts, and black boots.

It is a look that sums up the character impeccability in the first film. She is beautiful and sexy (the dress ties her to her romantic relationship), but she is tough and practical. The dress is altered for mobility. The boots are flat for running. In the event you can't find black, spandex shorts thrifted, I suggest a slip will also work with the look. With these three easy pieces, you are now ready to out-maneuver the infected. Of course, she also needed weapons and schemes to take them down. I personally would opt for cricket bat (ala Shawn of the Dead).

Other "Final Girl, Ultimate Badass Attire" options to consider: Selena (28 Days Later),  Ellen Ripley (Alien), or Sarah (The Descent).

Final Girl, 90s Teen-spiration

Buffy Summers (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, 1992)


First, let me state, I love the television show Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but despite the criticism of the original feature film - I still love it. It is extremely campy, cliche in ways, and over the top, but it also was our first look at Buffy Summers. The Slayer. The final girl who could be girly, but still beat the bad guy. She was like Cher from Clueless, but a girl who could do an elaborate gymnastic routine and shove a stake through someone's chest. All while not breaking a nail. 

In the film version, Buffy is brought to life by Kristy Swanson who loves spandex and bright colors. At the beginning of the film she is defined by her parent's wealth, her cheerleader status, her shallow friends, and her jock boyfriend. Then, Buffy finds out she is a slayer and her town in infested by vampires. To survive to the end, Buffy has to change her friends and her looks, but no matter how many vamps she kills, she is still Buffy Summers, a teen girl who is a bit boy crazy and loves fashion.  

I was tempted to curate her prom look, but then I stumbled across a vintage lettermen's jacket with a yellow "H". Once this piece of clothing was located, one only needed thrifted pink leggings and white sneakers to complete Buffy's graveyard scene look. With this look you might be able to ride off into the night on the back of Luke Perry's bike circa 1992. 

Other "Final Girl, 90s Teen-spiration" options to consider: Sydney Prescott (Scream), Julie James (I Know What You Did Last Summer), Sarah Bailey (The Craft); 

Hope you have enjoyed the first installment of A Very Thrifted Halloween. I would love to hear your favorite Final Girl looks - feel free to share them in the comment section below.  Also, remember to tune in next week for the second installment. Can you guess the theme?