Plan Ahead to Save Money on Halloween Costumes

by Lynn B. Johnson on October 6, 2009

Halloween Plan AheadIf you or someone you buy for is planning to dress in costume for Halloween, you can save big money by taking care of those needs right now instead of a couple of days prior to October 31st.

For the younger set, Toys “R” Us/Babies “R” Us lets you save $10 on purchases of $30 or more if you’re a new “Bill Me Later” customer, subject to credit approval. is already listing some costumes on clearance; I’ve shopped there before and I am a satisfied customer (I mean, come on… how cute is this?), and you can save more with these coupons from Coupon Chief. Be aware that some of the coupons expire soon, which backs up my value proposition that the time to buy is now.

Of course, if you’re crafty, good with a needle and thread or maybe a glue gun, you can always go the homemade-costume route. A cardboard box goes a long way as a costume foundation: siblings or best friends dressed as a pair of dice, cardboard wings for an insect or ladybug costume, or you can carve it out and viola! A kissing booth. One year I went as a birthday party — a cardboard sandwich board, with a birthday-party table tableau (thank you, dollar-store party decorations, tablecloth, and tableware) glued to the front, and a pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey board on the back. I couldn’t move around very well but it was quite well-received.

A closet-scouting session is not amiss in early October. Your closet, your kids’, your spouse’s, your parents… these can contain costume gold! A cardigan sweater and a tie and you’re Hermione Granger or Mr. Rogers; ropes of costume jewelry befit both a movie star or hip-hop artist; a long skirt or white jacket and you’re a princess or prince (or cruise-ship captain).

This closet-raiding also works with your neighbors, particularly  if their children are a little bit bigger than yours. I traded an infant koala-bear costume for a purple dragon costume a couple of years ago and all of the children involved were quite satisfied. You can maximize selection and value by arranging a costume-swap get-together with your neighbors, church friends, or fellow parents from school (mulled apple cider laced with Applejack brandy is optional but recommended).

In any case, a good costume is one that is worked on a little bit at a time for a number of weeks. It’s the people who don’t plan ahead who are stuck with the $70 Elvira dress and wig on Halloween’s eve. Don’t let it happen to you.

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