4 Ways to Save on Halloween Costumes

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When I was a child I remember raiding my mother’s closet and jewelry box and making some odd gypsy type costume for Halloween out of what I found. When our children were young my husband was very good at coming up with cheap Halloween costumes using what we could find around the house. For example, our son was “The Rocketeer” and we used a cut up milk jug and cardboard for the hat and a 4-pack of toiletpaper with duct tape shoulder straps for the rocket. All covered in aluminum foil, of course.

There are lots of ways to save on Halloween costumes. Here are four from an article in, with our comments added:

Shop from What You Have

As I described in the first paragraph, you have all sorts of potential costumes lying around your house. In the article the author mentioned that she had purchased some Halloween costumes on super clearance the year before. But when the time came, the costumes didn’t quite fit. But when looking around her house she realized she could do the same type of costume, with $3 accessories purchased from eBay, and had a great costume for her child. She says:

Think about what you already have on hand before you go shopping. An old prom dress can be turned into a great costume, such as zombie prom queen. Last year, I dressed my toddler in a black dance leotard and the homemade tutu and a string of my faux pearls, and she was Audrey Hepburn. It’s Halloween, anything goes.

Shop the Thrift Store

When our oldest son was a teenager, and out of his Rocketeer phase, he decided to be Jack Sparrow one Halloween. Going to the thrift store he was able to gather almost everything he needed and ended up with an amazing costume.

The article doesn’t talk about finding clothes at thrift stores you need to make a costume so much as mentioning that they often have donated costumes for sale. They said that thrift stores get costumes donated to them year-round, but hold on to them, putting them out for sale around Halloween.

It’s also a good place to find props. Twice we’ve found at thrift stores old pairs of glasses that our kids needed to complete a costume.

Borrow From a Friend

If you have an idea for a costume, but don’t have the money to buy one, ask around. Maybe your friend has that costume from a previous year, or they have one their child has outgrown. We’ve shared costumes with our friends many times. There was one cute little infant bumble bee costume that our youngest child wore one year. The next year, our friends were wondering what to use for their infant, and since we knew we wouldn’t need it again, we gave it to them. It was fun seeing it used again.

One of our other sons borrowed a homemade kilt from a friend, added an old white dress shirt and moccasins that were lying around the house, painted part of his face blue, and was William Wallace from Braveheart.

Halloween Costumes
Homemade Halloween Costumes

Shop Craigslist and eBay

If you can’t find what you need around your home, at the thrift store, or from a friend, check out Craigslist or eBay. We could have sold that bumble bee costume on eBay, if we had wanted to. Many Halloween costumes are worn once or twice and then people get rid of them. Or sometimes stores will sell brand new costumes on eBay, or even on Amazon, for cheaper than your local store has them.

Hopefully these tips will help you save on Halloween costumes this year. Halloween doesn’t have to be expensive. It just should be fun.

For the full article from MoneyNing, click here.

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Written by Lisa Jennings

Lisa has been helping people create budgets and get their bank accounts in order for over 15 years. As a conference speaker and presenter at financial events, Lisa enjoys helping people get their finances under control. You can reach her at


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