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Finding Halloween Costumes Without Breaking the Bank

by recycler on October 18, 2012

There are several places to find good costumes for cheap.

Halloween is one of the most fun holidays. It is the favorite for a lot of people. Halloween gives people an opportunity to play “dress up” and be in a fantasy world for a couple nights of the year.

But if you go to multiple Halloween costume parties like I do every year, you could spend a fortune if you bought a professional-grade costume each time. Even some of the “cheaper” options at costume stores can cost you a pretty penny. And this year, expect there to be multiple parties with October 31st coming on a Wednesday. There will likely be parties Friday, Saturday and maybe Sunday the weekend before along with parties on Halloween night and potentially events the following weekend as well.

That’s why we have come up with a few ideas of how you can have multiple costumes without breaking the bank:

Costume swap - There are a number of costume swap events across the country during the month of October and it’s exactly what it sounds like: you go with a costume and find someone to swap with. Just check the National Costume Swap Day web site and see if there is a swap in your area. If not, create your own costume swap event.

Classifieds – During October, the classifieds ads get an abundance of Halloween costumes listed. Recycler.com is no exception. At the time of this writing, there are 81 results for a search of “Halloween” and more than a third of those are costumes. But the best part is that the costumes are inexpensive. The majority of the costumes are less than $10. Search recycler now and see if you can find a great gem.

Do It Yourself - Running low on funds? There are tons of costumes you can create with stuff you have laying around the house. Depending on the costume, you might need one or two additional items (maybe some blue body paint if you want to be a smurf or one of the Blue Man Group members). Whenever I didn’t have time to put together something (or I was just plain lazy) when I was younger, I always pulled out a red sheet I had and turned it into a toga. Then I added a couple of sprigs from an outside bush to go behind my ears and suddenly I was a Roman senator.

Here’s a short list of potential quick-and-easy children’s costumes from Parent Map:

  • Class outfits: gymnastics, ballet, etc.
  • Karate uniforms paired with a mask = karate zombie
  • School t-shirt + pompoms = cheerleader
  • Box + decorations = old-school robot
  • Florescent t-shirt or vest + garbage truck-obsessed child = garbage man
  • Dress in black from head to toe, top the noggin with a black ski mask; fill mesh/see-through bag with several stuffed cats = cat burglar
  • One parent’s recipe for a rapper: “necklace and foil on teeth with some trendy clothes and a baseball cap … super-easy and super-fun!”
  • The classic white-sheet ghost — endless variations

Goodwill – Check at your local Goodwill or thrift shop. They bring out anything that can be construed as a costume from the storage and their prices are nice and reasonable. Plus if you need a couple of shirts you can paint on or that will end up getting messy, Goodwill has you covered.

Local Listservs – This tip comes from the Parent Map article linked above. There are thousands of parenting and mommy groups and listservs across the country. Tap into those in your local area and ask for help finding particular costumes or accessories for costumes. You can also use the local moms’ listservs to find a costume swap.

The most important thing to remember with any of these options is to BE CREATIVE!! Everyone loves creativity and most people prefer cool-looking homemade costumes to anything bought in the store…especially if you want to win the vaunted best costume prize.



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