How to Snag a Fabulous (and Creative) Halloween Costume on the Cheap

by Jessica Sommerfield · 6 comments

Halloween is just around the corner, and for some people it’s one of the most anticipated holidays of the year. The National Retail Federation expects Halloween to cost the average person $77.52 this year* (including costumes, decor, and candy) which is up from $75.03 last year. This translates to over $7 billion nationwide.

This trend is as visible as the cropping up of exclusive “Halloween stores” that do 90% of their annual business in the month of October. With that much money being spent on one holiday, there are sure to be ways to save a money on Halloween costumes (while still having a whole lot of fun).

For instance, instead of looking for the best deal or piecing together a costume themselves, many people fall into the trap of paying top dollar for the exact costume they want. In our high-paced society, it’s convenient to wait until the last second and then buy a costume that doesn’t require any additional work or creativity. But what if you could save 50% or more simply by getting a little creative and planning ahead? 

1. Find Creative Inspiration

Pinterest or just plain Google images are great places to start looking for ideas, whether you know what costume you want to create, or not. Having a mental picture is one thing, but an image on your phone or a printed picture can be taken with you as you shop. Important note: if you’re not crafty, choose concepts that can be easily constructed without sewing or a hot glue gun.

2. Repurpose Your Closet

Once you have your idea, the first best (and cheapest) place to look is your own closet. Items you’ve shoved to the back of your closet can often become the perfect addition to a unique and crowd-pleasing Halloween costume. Of course, if you’re like me and get rid of items quickly, you might not have anything that fits your criteria.

3. Add a Thrifted Item

If that’s the case, the next best places to look are goodwill stores. If you can’t create a costume for free out of your own (or someone else’s) closet, you won’t find anything much cheaper than a thrift store. There aren’t always the best places too look for fashion, but they usually contain a wealth of unusual and outdated clothing perfect for making a costume.

4. Don’t Pay Full Price

If you end up purchasing brand new items for your costume, big-box specialty stores still aren’t always the best place to go. Ideally, you want to purchase pieces that can be used again for other costumes, because who wants to be the same thing for Halloween two years in a row? Otherwise, you’ve wasted money on a complete costume you’ll probably only wear once.

While it’s not smart to pay full price for a complete costume with limited use, purchasing  costumes when they’re 50 or 75% off is a good way to enjoy the best of both worlds. Hit the stores the week before Halloween and the day after for the best deals on costumes that need to be cleared from inventory.

Halloween is a fun time to get creative, dress up, and spend time with friends and family.  Use these tips to save money while coming up with one of the most unique costumes you’ve ever had.

What are you planning to dress up like for Halloween? What’s one tip you use to save money on costumes for this holiday?

*stat from:

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{ read the comments below or add one }

  • Robert@polskabankowosc says:

    I can’t understand Halloween. In my country (Poland) we spent this time in atmosphere of concentration. But appear new trend, mostly between young people who goes to the party and get drunk. Interesting…

    • David @ says:

      At the end of the day, it’s just another excuse for us adults (and kids alike) to party and have fun. 🙂

      Nothing wrong with that as long as we are responsible with our finances and don’t overspend.

  • Gretchen says:

    We picked up Baby RB40’s costume at a garage sale this summer. For $0.50 she is the cutest little bumblebee I’ve ever seen!

  • Emily @ Simple Cheap Mom says:

    I’m not sure we’ll be able to make it to the Halloween parties this year. We’d like to take our little girl out trick or treating and then I figure she’ll want to stay up late. Usually I piece something together from junk in my closet. Sometimes I try our thrift stores, but all the good stuff that’s actually used has already been snapped up and all that’s left is the expensive new stuff. Then I need to be more creative. One year I just brought a towel and said I was a hitch hiker. Some people got it.

    • David @ says:

      Good for you to not fall into the trap of convenience Emily.

      Try to grab the costumes in a couple weeks for next year. It’s not like costumes really go out of style anyway.

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