Ways to Save Money on Halloween Costumes

Tips to save money on Halloween costumes

It’s already mid-October and that means Halloween is right around the corner! For some of you Type A’s like me, you’ve already made or purchased your child’s costume and it’s nestled safely in the closet until candy day. Many of you are still trying to get your child to narrow down which type costume they’d like…they can change their mind like the wind! I’m sure it’s no surprise that Halloween costumes are often one of those “gotcha” expenses that most folks forget to budget for and the expense of candy and costumes can quickly bust your October budget if you’re not careful. I wanted to share some great Ways to Save Money on Halloween Costumes so this doesn’t happen to you! So it’s almost Halloween and many of us are scrambling around to get a Halloween costume for our kids. Whether you have one child to dress up or multiples, purchasing a brand new costume plus accessories can get very, very expensive. There are some ways to avoid the expense of Halloween though! Check these out and add your own in the comments below if you’ve got something good to share as well!

Ways to Save Money on Halloween Costumes:

  • Ask for costumes for your kids birthday gifts, then use at Halloween.
    • This is exactly what we’re doing for Tink this year. Of course we’re visiting Disney next month (woohoo!) so we needed her princess costume of choice. Take one guess who she wanted to be. Queen Elsa. Along with every other girl ages 3-7 worldwide. I swear Halloween will look like a sea of white braided wigs and blue dresses, but back to the point here. For Tink’s 5th birthday last month, her sweet aunt surprised us all with a new Elsa dress! This is a huge budget win for us, because the dress was not only a birthday gift, but will also be her Halloween costume AND her princess costume when we visit Disney! Free for us. Don’t hesitate to ask family members to get your kid a costume for his/her birthday and then reuse it. They’ll be happy to give a purposeful gift that will certainly receive a lot of use.
  • Go through your kids already-existing dress up costume collection. It doesn’t have to be perfect…its dark after all!
    • Most kids have some kind of dress up or costume collection at home already. Swords, light sabers, crowns, costume jewelry, tutus, princess dresses, etc… Go through what you already have and put together something creative!
  • Use old sports uniforms (like baseball, soccer, football, etc…)
    • This is a fun idea if your child plays sports or has played sports in the past. Pair an old uniform with a soccer ball, basketball, hockey stick, etc… and you’ve got a fun, free costume.
  • Use old dance recital costumes
    • If you’ve got a kiddo in dance classes, you know all about the dance recital costumes! If you’ve got an older child that competes regularly, they probably have a closet full and those costumes are certainly not cheap. They are sort of like that prom dress you only wore once but spent tons of money on. Drag out those old costumes and add some cheap accessories to make a truly unique and special costume.
  • Trade costumes with other families
    • This is a fun idea, especially if your child gets crazy excited seeing all of his/her friends dressed up. You can ask another parent if they’d be interested in swapping costumes, or ask a few parents. Invite them over to dinner and everyone can have fun looking through the old costumes and trading.
  • Thrift Stores & Children’s Resale Stores
    • Now is the time to visit your local thrift and resale stores for Halloween costumes. Trust me, they have many to choose from and they are much cheaper than the brand new version at the retail store. Many of them have only been worn once or a few times, and they are in pretty good condition. Of course you want to check them thoroughly, as some costumes cannot be washed easily. If it’s something you can hand wash and hang dry, go for it!
  • Garage Sales
    • Even though it’s fall, many people are still having garage sales. This is especially true if you live in the south or a warmer climate. Halloween costumes are a great garage sale find and they are often even cheaper at garage sales than thrift stores. You can keep an eye for costumes year round, so don’t be afraid to get something a size or two larger for the next year.
  • Shop after Halloween & get costumes on clearance
    • Check out the sales after Halloween and you can score a brand new costume for up to 80% off! The costumes may be a bit picked-over by then, but you’d be surprised. Even if you can’t find the perfect clearance costume in the perfect size, chances are you could at least score big on accessories.
  • Avoid masks & unnecessary accessories such as witch brooms, and other items your child would have to carry
    • Think about what costume your child wearing and what accessories go along with. Is it really necessary to carry the broomstick or princess wand? Last year Tink was a rainbow witch and begged for a broomstick to carry. We explained that if she had to carry a broomstick, it might interfere with carrying a heavy bag of candy around the neighborhood. If you splurge for a handheld accessory, chances are you will be the one carrying it around most of the night. The kids will be too busy carrying candy and digging in their bags while unwrapping pieces to put in their mouths.
  • Hand out candy instead!
    • Handing out candy can get expensive too, but staying home and enlisting your kids (especially older kids) to hand out candy is a fun alternative to buying a bunch of costumes and accessories. A little creepy eye makeup or a simple spider web on the cheek drawn with eyeliner would do the trick and be a simple free way to get a little scare on.
  • Make your own Costume
    • So many of you are creative and can sew or craft your way to a cheap DIY costume. There are so many great ideas online, and Pinterest is a great hub for ideas as well.

Costume Ideas Using Items You Might Already Have:

  • Leftovers
    • This is an old joke in our house. Simply wrap your child in foil and call them leftovers.
  • Ballerina
    • Use an old dance leotard paired with tights or an old dance recital costume. You could even make your own simple tutu using a cheap elastic band and tying strips of tulle on it.
  • Ghost with a sheet
    • An oldie but goodie. It gets no better than an old white (or cream) sheet with holes cut for eyes and mouth.
  • Large robot with empty box
    • Our kids came up with this fun idea. Simply get a large box, cut out head and arm holes, then draw on robot buttons. Put some tin foil around their head as a cap and have a few “antennae” type pieces sticking up.
  • Other DIY kid’s costumes

Halloween doesn’t have to blow your budget! I hope these ideas were helpful and if you have others, please share below. However you celebrate Halloween, have a safe and fun time!

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