How your Goodwill Halloween costumes help Texans earn living wages

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Halloween is just days away and thrift stores in Austin are buzzing with people putting the finishing touches on their costumes. For Goodwill Central Texas, Halloween sales account for 5 percent of total annual revenue, with approximately 800,000 people shopping the stores during the holiday season.

Money spent goes to greater gain: funding job training and career placement programs at Goodwill Career & Technical Academy. Nearly 90 percent of the revenue raised during the Halloween season goes to those courses, officials said.

“We really focus on in-demand career certifications that help people get gainful employment,” said Jennifer Carter, Goodwill Central Texas’ chief mission officer, adding, “It’s really cool to see people just get fired up and learn a new skill. “

Some of these programs include medical assistant training, Python code programming, and working in the electrical trade. Officials said these courses often benefit people who were previously incarcerated or who may not have had access to technical training courses or higher education.

For Goodwill Central Texas staff, they said they love seeing the creativity customers put into 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 TV series, North Lamar Goodwill General Manager Lana Ayers told KXAN. As for the children? Well, some classics like Harry Potter never go out of style, she added.

For those shopping on a budget, Ayers recommended looking to Goodwill Central Texas’ general clothing donations for inspiration.

“Using the donated items that we get, the clothing and trying to match and get as close as possible to the idea or the character that they’re trying to play,” she said.

Tiffany Davis, head of retail at the North Lamar Goodwill, dressed as a holiday scarecrow when we interviewed her, said this time of year is the perfect time for people to tap into their creative juices.

“I just come in here and create a character and have an imagination and just… have a good time,” she said, smiling.

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