How to Buy Halloween Costumes and Not Break the Bank Plus a Giveaway!

Halloween Costumes

If you didn’t know this already, Halloween is a little less than three weeks away which means it’s time to buy Halloween costumes – especially if you have kids. The problem is that Halloween costumes can cost a pretty penny, if you allow them to and can be a challenge when you want to be frugal. I was reading this article on Mashable a few weeks back and they said we spend $8 billion on Halloween costumes in the States. That averages out to right at $30 per family. I don’t know what size family they’re study examines, but it can easily get out of hand, though there are ways to get around that if you’re creative. If Halloween costumes aren’t your thing, stick around for the end of the post as you’ll be glad you did.  :-)

Look Around the House

We did this all the time when I was growing up and it can be a great way to save money on Halloween costumes. The key is to think creatively and be willing to use whatever you find towards the costume. From a simple white sheet to be a ghost to a wide variety of other options, the sky really is the limit as to what kind of costume you can come up with. Particularly if you are crafty, put your creative skills to use to buy the raw materials you need and then construct Halloween costumes yourself. You’ll save some money that way and feel more invested in the final product.

Shop Last Minute for Your Halloween Costumes

If you’re a closet Wal-Mart shopper like we are you’ll know that they often discount their Halloween costumes by up to 50% off as the holiday approaches. There are drawbacks to this though as the selection can be pretty limited in both sizes and costumes. But, it can also mean that you can score a pretty nice Halloween costume and get it for fairly cheap if you’re willing to look. Consignment shops and semi-annual sales are also a great way to find Halloween costumes that are deeply discounted, especially for kids. Mrs. Frugal Rules found adorable pirate, puppy and princess costumes for the little Frugal Rules for 50-75% retail prices.

Shop the Year Before

This is one of our favorite ways to shop for Halloween costumes, or pretty much anything holiday related. We just go shopping the day after the holiday and you can often find (in this case the costumes) for upwards of 75% off or more. The only real problem is that if you’re buying for kids then you’ll have to estimate what size they’d be in, but it can be a great way to save money on Halloween costumes. One thing I will add is that many stores will not accept returns on them if you find out they don’t fit after taking it home. We ran into this problem last year when Wal-Mart would not accept the return, so we ended up with an extra Buzz Lightyear costume that we eventually sold at a consignment sale six months later. After the sale we were able to recoup our losses.

Combine With other Holidays

We’ll do this all the time with our kids. The oldest little Frugal Rule turned six a few weeks ago and she wanted an Ariel dress she had seen at Costco. The costume cost somewhere around $20 which is usually a little more than what we spend, but why not buy it and use it for both occasions? She instantly got a present for her birthday and her Halloween costume at the same time. It took care of two situations for us and meant we didn’t have to spend as much on her costume as we could split the cost.

Try Goodwill or Garage Sales

Another great option for Halloween costumes is looking at the Goodwill, second hand stores or even garage sales. You can win in multiple ways going this route as you can often find costumes that look new or even find something you never thought of as a costume idea. The one drawback is that you might have a limited selection to choose from, but you can still save a good bit of money none the less.

Costco Can Be a Great Option

I mentioned Costco earlier, but they really can be a good option. At our Costco, they usually start putting out Halloween costumes in mid to late August, which is the time to buy them there as you get more selection. We’ve found that many of the costumes can be as little as $15 and they also take returns if it doesn’t fit.

No Trick, Just a TREAT For You

Now for the promised surprise, I am joining with a number of other bloggers to give away a total of $660. There are three prizes, the grand prize of $360 as well as prizes of $200 and $100. The contest is open to anyone worldwide, is payable via PayPal and runs until Thursday, October 31st.  Just follow the Rafflecopter instructions below and good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


I am assuming you won’t be spending $360 on Halloween costumes if you win, so what would you spend it on and do you have any Halloween costume saving tips?

Photo courtesy of: Pets Adviser

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I'm the founder of Frugal Rules, a Dad, husband and veteran of the financial services industry. I'm passionate about helping people learn from my mistakes so that they can enjoy the freedom that comes from living frugally. I'm also a freelance writer, and would love to help out if you have the need. If you're wanting to learn how to monetize your blog, check out my blog coaching services to see how I can help you take your site to the next level.


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