10 Spots for Last-Minute Bay to Breakers Costume Shopping

Bay to Breakers returns on Sunday, May 19, and the entire city is prepping for the all-day party. In addition to the registered runners, thousands of course crashers turn out every year because San Franciscans will happily embrace any opportunity to add to their costume collections.

Unless you're actually running, there's a decent chance that you won't decide until you start day-drinking on Saturday that you're going to dress up— at which point your ever-reliable Amazon Prime account may not be so reliable. Don't panic. With a little ingenuity, you can build a last-minute costume right here in the city. Below, check out details on ten of the best spots, along with a map of where to find them.

Full Costume Shops

  • Fantasy Clothing (1275 Folsom Street, Suite 100) This locally-owned, year-round costume shop has been serving the Bay Area for more than 30 years. Want to rent or purchase a legit, head-to-toe costume? Check it out. They also carry the standard costuming accessories. On Saturday, May 18, they’ll host their annual Bay to Breaker sale, which includes half-price racks and a deal for 20% off anything else on a hanger.

  • Costuming on Haight (735 Haight Street) Another option for real costumes, including rentals. This should be on your list if you want to run Bay to Breakers in a Santa suit...or a dinosaur costume.

Costume Accessories and Material

  • Piedmont Boutique (1452 Haight Street) Now that American Apparel is no longer an option for shiny leggings, get your fix at Piedmont Boutique—that Haight Street shop with the legs hanging out the window. If you need a bodysuit or a tutu, Piedmont Boutique should be your first stop. The accessory wall is especially bonkers. 

  • Fantastico (559 6th Street) Excellent, year-round selection of wigs, hats, and masks. For more creative/crafty costuming, check the seasonal sections for greenery, ribbon, and decorations.

  • Cliff's Variety (479 Castro Street) This Castro Street mainstay has a solid wig selection, and a decent assortment of fabrics and sewing notions. If you want to execute a Project Runway challenge with your B2B costume, don't forget to scour the hardware section. You might find something amazing. Or you could buy balloons and run as a bunch of grapes.

  • Mendel's (1556 Haight Street) A budget-friendly resource for sewing supplies and crafts, as well as costume props, capes, masks, and wigs. The staff is pretty crafty as well, so they're a good resource for suggestions.

  • One Stop Party Shop (1600 Church Street) Who knew that an itty-bitty shop on a Noe Valley corner was hiding such a stellar costume accessory assortment? Because it's a small space, the selection rotates seasonally, but this spot is reliable for hats, wigs, ears, masks, wings, and props.

Real Clothes That Can Pass as Costumes

  • Forever 21 (2 Stockton Street) Among the fast-fashion chains, Forever 21 is your cheapest options for the leggings and tank tops that will serve as the base for whatever costume you're assembling from Pinterest. No, it's not technically a costume shop. Yes, you will be able to find a fanny pack.

  • Held Over (1543 Haight Street) If you're down to use true vintage in a B2B ensemble, Held Over is extremely-well organized, both by decade and theme. Plus, you'll find lots of vintage accessories, particularly military hats, if you just want a vintage pièce de résistance to an otherwise-new look. As far as vintage shops go, prices are reasonable.

  • Knobs (432 Castro Street)  Knobs has plenty of clothes and shoes you might wear in real life, but they also carry a lot of singlets and Burning Man-esque pieces that seem better suited for a rave. If you're already looking around the Castro/Haight area for costume implements, it's worth a stop.