How to Save Money on Kids’ Halloween Costumes

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October has always been my favorite month. It’s the time of year when the leaves start to change into beautiful shades of red and orange and the word “pumpkin” is in front of everything from candles to hot drinks. It’s also the month that parents turn into Inspector Gadget trying to purchase Halloween costumes without dipping into college savings.

Coming up with kids’ Halloween costume ideas is never easy. Throw saving money into the mix, and it gets even more difficult. As my son gets older, he’s starting to take more of an interest in dressing up, so I’ve become quite creative in finding ways to make sure his wishes match my wallet. Before you head to the store, it’s important to have a costume idea or theme in mind. This will help eliminate overspending and endless hours in aisles.

Here are some tips on how you can make your child’s Halloween dreams come true without taking a financial hit.

Thrift Stores

In recent years, I’ve noticed more thrift stores creating special displays just for Halloween decor and costumes. You may be able to find a complete costume (sometimes with the tags still on!) or find accessories to complement a costume. Make sure to go with an idea of what you will need to complete the costume or you could spend all day sifting through the racks to find a good match.

Consignment Stores

Consignment stores are a great budget-friendly option because you can bring last year’s costume and put some of that money toward this year’s. I frequently used consignment stores when my son was a toddler because he was growing so fast and I didn’t want to spend a lot of money on something he’d only wear once. Consignment stores may have special Halloween costume shopping events, coupons or swaps. Make sure you are on their mailing lists to stay in the loop for last-minute offers.

DIY

Last year was the first year I made my son’s costume — a buttery box of popcorn.  All of the materials were items I had in my home. I used a large cardboard box, red and white duct tape, a packet of microwaveable popcorn, a sheet of paper and a glue gun. My project began with cutting a neck and arm holes in the box to fit my son. Using the red and white duct tape, I created vertical stripes around the box.  I microwaved popcorn and hot-glued it to the top of the box. Using my computer and printer, I made a sign that said “popcorn” to glue to the front of the box. It was a big hit, and it only took me an hour to make.

There are so many tutorials online for how to make costumes using items you may already have in your home or can pick up at your local dollar store. Plus, not only are DIY costumes easy on the wallet, but they’re a greener Halloween option, too!

Costume Swap

This is a great opportunity to tap into your social network and help other families who may be scrambling for costumes.  You can start with your child’s classroom, a parenting group, or their soccer team to see if anyone else has items to donate. You could host a costume swap at a local library or community center for two hours on a Saturday afternoon. Invite community members to bring gently used costumes and they’ll hopefully leave with a new one. Anything left over can be donated to a charity or thrift store.

Forward Thinking

As Halloween approaches you are likely to find costumes severely marked down so that stores can clear their inventory. This is a great time purchase for next year, especially if your child is younger and you can guess what size they’ll be in next Halloween.

How do you save on Halloween costumes?

Laila is the creator of Only Laila, a site dedicated to sharing simple solutions for single and working moms. Laila uses her site to share her own experiences as a single mom as well as lifestyle tips for working parents. Her site was recently named by Red Tricycle as one of the Top Chicago Mom Blogs.  She lives in the suburbs of Chicago with her son and his Legos.

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