Four Ways to Save Money on Halloween Costumes

It can be pretty difficult to prioritize money in the budget for Halloween costumes. The new costumes available can cost upwards of twenty dollars each, which doesn’t fit into a realistic budget.

Even though you might not be able to afford a brand new costume, there are still many options to pursue to find exactly what you’re looking for.

Haunt Thrift Stores

Thrift stores are great places to pick up a costume for a few bucks. Visit at least three thrift stores and shop with an open mind. One of the great things about thrift store shopping is that you never know what the selection will be. One may have everything you’re looking for when it comes to your costume, but this is rare. Usually, we end up shopping all three to find different pieces to fit our specific costume ideas.

Another strategy is to go without any idea regarding how you want to dress up for Halloween. Peruse the choices and decide on a costume when you find something you really like at the right price.


There are many opportunities for quick and easy Halloween costumes, especially when you combine creativity with resourcefulness. A friend of mine put black make-up around one eye and wore a giant “P” on her shirt – can you guess her costume? If you guessed “Black-Eyed Pea,” you were right.

Nothing can replace the classic Halloween costumes for ease and use of recycled materials. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Soldier – the popularity of camouflage pants and shirts make this an easy costume to put together. Complete it with a headband, some make-up and boots.
  • Ghost – trim and hem a white bedsheet, cutting out holes for your ghost’s eyes and mouth. This costume will also be easily seen while trick-or-treating in the dark
  • Fairy Princess – If you have a little girl who likes to dress up, you probably already have everything you need!
  • Knight – Make a shield out of the lid to your garbage can and decorate a cardboard sword – the rest will be easy to put together.

Host a Swap

My boys love to play dress-up with our variety of Halloween costumes from the past, and some are still in decent shape. Gather your friends and neighbors with children of varying ages and host a Costume Swap. Everyone brings their gently-used costumes to leave and hopefully all find useful costumes to take for trick-or-treating on Halloween night.

End of the Season

My favorite time to shop for Halloween costumes is the week following November 1. Head for your favorite Halloween stores and pick up clearance-priced costumes at a fraction of the price. Make sure the costumes are a little bigger than what you currently need for the intended person. Store these in a safe place (that you won’t forget) until next Halloween, and then celebrate because your work will already be done!

Kelly Wilson is a busy mom and editor for Teaching Resource Center, a Teacher Store specializing in low-cost, high-quality Teacher Supplies for over 25 years.

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