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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About the author:

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. You can connect via Twitter / Facebook.

38 comments on “How to Buy Halloween Costumes and Not Break the Bank Plus a Giveaway!

    • That sounds awesome E.M. ! I am not much into it either, though that changed a lot when we had kids. We like to make it fun for them, otherwise it’s just another day to me.

  1. Most of my Halloween costumes were homemade. I’m not sure how much my mom usually spent, but she did put time in at the sewing machine. I remember a few times going to the local Goodwill to shift through discarded clothes to complete my costume. As a “grown up” I don’t think I’ve spent more than $20, which is way cheaper than my peers shelling out $60-$120. I usually try to use what I already have or borrow from friends. It’s a fun frugal game!
    Broke Millennial recently posted..A Money-Savvy Daughter Looks Back on the Finance Lessons That Stuck With HerMy Profile

    • Ouch! $60-120. I know people spend that, so I don’t know why it surprise me. :) A lot of my costumes were homemade as well. I think once I was 9 or 10 they all were.

  2. I think this year I’m going as low budget as possible. I don’t have an Halloween plans but I do pass out candy, so if I do I’ll probably just put on a red dress and some devil horns, and as far as candy I’m going to see what I can get at the dollar store. Yeah the kids are going to love me as the house that passes out crappy candy. :)
    Budget and the Beach recently posted..What’s a computer fatigued, text hatin’ girl to do?My Profile

    • Lol, we’re not far off from you Tonya. We’ll likely pull something out of the freezer that we bought the day after Halloween last year. They’ll love us! ;)

  3. I actually made money on a costume this year. My Mom bought this very elaborate Tinkerbell costume from the Disney Store last year that we sold on Ebay for $34. Mom wasn’t doing the costume this year, so we bought one on Ebay for $14. $20 profit, and I think we’ll be able to sell this one for about that amount next year if we don’t destroy it.
    Kim@Eyesonthedollar recently posted..Trick or Treat Halloween Giveaway-3 Chances to Win CashMy Profile

  4. Halloween costumes can be so elaborate and spendy these days. I can remember the days of those horrible plastic masks. Totally dating myself. :) We try to keep the girls’ costumes pretty cheap too by looking for sales and embellishing them with things they already own. Because the girls have become a lot more money conscious this past year, it’s nice that they are actually looking at the price tags too!
    Shannon @ The Heavy Purse recently posted..How to Avoid Creating Feelings of Deprivation in KidsMy Profile

    • Oh, I remember those masks, they would always drive our dogs absolutely crazy. That’s really cool they’re looking to be more price conscious too as those costumes can add up quickly.

    • I agree Anna, it’s crazy how much the prices go down the day after. And, yes, it might be a good idea to go to a different party the following year. :)

  5. Nice hints:) I especially like the idea re: giving costumes as gifts considering that they can be used for playtime. I’m going to be hitting the clearance sales shortly after Halloween, stocking up on costumes for future years. I’ve found that Halloween costumes often don’t come in that many sizes for little kids (for some, I’ve just seen 2T and 4T) so the estimating future size issue may not be that big of a hurdle. And the costumes can always be used for playtime. Here’s my take on the topic:
    Jennifer Saranow Schultz recently posted..Today’s Hint: 3 Clever Ways to Mark the First 12 Months in PhotosMy Profile

  6. I don’t do Halloween much these days.

    However, back in the day, I would often rent my costume from the local costume shop. They would get their costumes from local theaters and rent them out for a reasonable price. So you end up with a great costume that you don’t have to worry about making, storing, or selling after you’re done with it.
    Jack @ Enwealthen recently posted..Upcoming California Real Estate Tax Deed Auctions November 2013My Profile

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