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How to Cut Costs with Halloween Costumes

Paul Banas
Author Paul Banas
Submitted 15-10-2008

There’s no reason to overspend on Halloween costumes if you plan ahead. Here are tips for saving money at Halloween

1.    Prepare for next year – of course it’s too late now, but check Halloween stores and local drugstores the day after Halloween and stock up on accessories that don’t go out of style like face makeup, vampire teeth, and cobweb netting.  The discounts are often as much as 90%.  Garage sales also net very, very cheap Halloween costumes if you’re willing to grab them when you see them.

2.    Start early – It is easy to sometimes make your own, but never a good idea to start looking for good budget ideas on October 30th.

3.    Look for ideas that don’t tie to specific characters. It’s hard to make something look like a real good knock-off of Mickey Mouse.

4.    Try community sites for previously used Halloween outfits, especially in kids’ sizes.

5.    Involve your child – ask them what they want to be and use items your kids are already interested in.  If you have football or soccer outfits, use them. This is simple and might be easier to sell to your child rather than trying to imitate what they have seen on TV.

6.    Take a trip to thrift store and consider these favorites:

  • Old prom dresses, along with blood for a “Carrie” costume, or for Beauty Pageant misfits
  • Bridal gowns for “Bride of Frankenstein” or cut down as princess dresses
  • Old tuxedos for crazy French waiters
  • Retro outfits 

7.    Consider these cheap and easy costumes:

  • Wrap a sheet and you have a mummy or a toga costume
  • Safety pin odd clothing items to a single colored ensemble and go as “static cling.”
  • Wrap a red blanket around a child, put on a big cross or other medallion and go as a medieval crusader
  • Eye patch, red turtleneck, blue jeans and a red bandana for a pirate
  • Attach Smarties to your child’s pants with packing tape to create a “smartie(s) pants” costume (familyfun.com idea)

8.    Consult websites for ideas.   Two of our favorites are:

  • coolest-homemade-costumes.com – idea sharing site
  • familyfun.com (even a category for last minute ideas)

There are plenty of ideas without the need for a glue gun or sewing machine. Even if you feel you aren’t very creative, the websites listed above have lots of ideas of things you can put together mostly using items you have at home.

Halloween doesn’t have to be expensive and can be a lot of fun, probably more so, if you use a little imagination rather than buying something off the rack at the store.