When Halloween comes around, little ghouls, goblins, ghosts and, yes, probably even some princesses will be running through the streets in your very neighborhood. And, yet, the scariest thing about this might be something much more mundane…how much it costs to outfit those little buggers.
Depending on your child’s age and interests, Halloween costumes can run anywhere from $10 to $30 or more. If you’ve got a couple of kids, that really adds up—especially when you think about all the other Halloween costs that pile up (candy, decorations, and so on). Luckily, we’ve got some tips that will keep your costs down.
Make Your Own Costumes
Of course, this is at the top of the list: if you can make a costume from items you already own, you won’t have to shell out cash on something at the store. But, that’s easier said than done, right? After all, most kids these days won’t be satisfied with the classic do-it-yourself costume of an old sheet with eyeholes (a ghost!). Here are some tips on how to do it right:
- Make it a Family Event. When was the last time you had one of those tender, cherished, loving family moments…in Walmart, aisle 7? Why not make a family event out of creating a costume and use it as a time to bond with your kids and spouse? Kids have great imaginations and—even though Spiderman may be their first choice before you start—once you give them a bunch of supplies and work with them to come up with fun ideas…who knows where you’ll end up! For inspiration, check out Martha Stewart’s Halloween Central.
- Stick with Iconic Characters. It’s a lot easier to create a Robot than it is to create Iron Man (or a Princess than Barbie; or a Pirate than Captain Jack; or a…you get the idea).
- Repurpose Dress-Up Outfits. Some of the outfits and paraphernalia your kids already use can make a great foundation for a costume, especially with some creative accessorizing. Repurpose things like princess dresses, swords & sporting goods, or other items that feature iconic characters (towels, blankets, etc.) towards something Halloween-worthy.
New Costumes for Free
Ok, realistically, you may just not have the time or interest in making your own costume and that’s just fine. There are still ways you can get costumes for just $0 (our favorite price tag!).
- Hand Me Downs. A tried-and-true tactic that parents have been using for years. Big Sis gets a new costume and a year or two later, Little Sis wears it too. This is a particularly ideal strategy for very young kids who will wear whatever you put on them!
- Swapping: If your friends have children, swap costumes with them from year to year. Each child will get something that’s new to them and everyone saves money. Also, swapping with friends helps widen your options and might be less sensitive for a younger kid than getting a ‘hand me down’. (We also recommending swapping toys as a way to save money any time of year).
Buying a Costume—on the Cheap!
Sometimes you just need to bite the bullet and buy a brand-spanking new costume. When that’s the case, follow these tips to get the most bang for your buck:
- Find the Best Halloween Deals: We said it before & we’ll say it again. Check out our Halloween Discounts page for the most up-to-date deals & discounts on Halloween gear.
- Buy Bigger Sizes: This will prolong the life of a Halloween costume and increase the chance that your child can wear it again next year. Chances are, your child will already be bundled up because of the Fall weather, but you can always add another layer of clothes under the costume if it looks too loose. This is particularly good for characters that are supposed to have big muscles—rather than buying the costly deluxe edition that has the built-in “muscles”, get the regular edition and add your own.
- Skip the Deluxe Versions: A lot of popular costumes these days have both a ‘classic’ and a ‘deluxe’ version with the latter being more expensive and coming with a few extras (weapons, belts, other miscellaneous details). Save money by buying the ‘classic’ version and accessorizing it on your own. Plus, keep in mind, it’s usually dark when the kids go trick-or-treating, so a lot of those extras won’t even be visible!
- Comparison Shopping: Comparing prices to ensure you get the best one is a tried and true way to save money. Many popular costumes come pre-packaged by manufacturers and have model numbers, just like if you were buying a TV. You can use that number to easily search across other websites to do a true price comparison. Just look at the product package in store, or the details page online, to find this info. Also this is useful when trying to take advantage of the price guarantees that are often offered by online merchants. If someone offers a 110% price guarantee and theirs is more expensive it may actually be cheaper to buy from them (just be sure to review the terms of the guarantee).
- Check Online Before Buying: It’s fun to go to the store to check out costumes together with your kids, but it might be better to browse online rather than buy in the store. It makes it very easy to comparison shop and to get cash back (which we’ll talk about in a second). And here’s a sneaky tip: browse with your children by your side and start by looking at the clearance section. Your kids will naturally get excited by some of the first ones they see, so it might as well be the cheaper ones!
- Buy Last-Minute: The prices for costumes, decorations and just about everything Halloween-related start to plummet right after October 31st. Knowing that, retailers tend to start their discounting a little earlier, as much as 1-3 weeks before Halloween. The longer you wait, the better the discount is likely to be. The downside is missing out on a specific costume, so this strategy works best for children who don’t have strong preferences.
- Get Cash Back: LOZO always recommends getting cash back whenever you can. Luckily, it’s pretty easy when you’re doing your shopping online. Check out our Halloween Cash Back & Discounts page where all the best cash back opportunities are listed along with the latest and greatest sales.
Ok, so that’s the LOZO on saving money on Halloween costumes! Have you got any great ideas that we didn’t mention? Leave a comment below!