5 Ways to Save on Children’s Halloween Costumes

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Spending a lot on a Halloween costume you're only going to use once? That's scary. Here's how to get dressed up for less.

According to a recent survey from Pricegrabber, most Americans plan to spend less than $50 on their Halloween costumes this year. That may not sound like much, but considering most people won’t reuse that costume next year, $50 can still be a frightening amount.

Fortunately there are some ways (short of sewing your own costumes) that parents can stay far below the $50 mark and still ensure their kids have a boo-tiful night…

1. Shop temporary stores vs. year-round costume shops. Every September, Halloween stores pop up in otherwise vacant retail space, only to disappear in November. These stores can offer lower prices than year-round costume shops due to their comparatively low overhead.  A costume shop open all year might mark up prices around Halloween, since that’s when they typically do the vast majority of their business.

2. Find great costumes at non-costume stores. For our daughter’s first few Halloweens, we did surprisingly well finding great costumes at our local Costco. Although there’s a limited selection, most toddlers are simply excited to dress up – they care little about specific costume ideas. This year, we were able to snag a snazzy mermaid costume for my 4-year-old daughter for a mere $18, which resulted in an excited girl and happy parents.

3. Do it yourself without the needle and thread. While my wife and I don’t own a sewing machine, that doesn’t mean we can’t make our own costumes – to some extent. By visiting a crafts store, she was able to find some wicked tights and a pointed hat to make a witch’s costume. Add some pointy shoes and a little makeup, and she was able to accompany our daughter around the neighborhood in style.

4. Consider costume rental. Once you accept the fact that your costumes will probably never be used more than once, you might consider just renting something for the night. The advantage is that you or your children will be enjoying a far higher quality getup than the inexpensive costumes that are normally sold for under $50. While this might not be the best choice for young children spending an hour or two trick-or-treating, it’s a great option for older kids or adults who want to impress their friends at a costume party. The rental market is where the year-round shops really excel.

5. Shop online.It’s very easy to overlook the fact that most items sold in costume stores can be purchased online. Online stores will offer great prices and incredibly wide selections. Once you’ve visited some local costume stores, take a moment to search for the same items online at substantial savings. That being said, also keep in mind that many local stores employ your neighbors, pay taxes and otherwise support your local community. Support them whenever possible.

By employing a little out-of-the-box thinking this year, savvy parents and partygoers can make a bigger impression on their friends and neighbors than they do on their bank accounts.

Stacy Johnson

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