Creating big frights is big business. Americans spend – on average — $45 for their Halloween costumes each year. The $7 billion dollar industry also includes the family pet! You’ll have to get creative to fit even cheap Halloween costumes into your budget. Where can you find the best buys? The shopping locales with the best value may surprise you!
Cheap Halloween Costumes in Your Closet
You may not have to spend anything at all to put together a good-looking costume this year. If you can accessorize some of your existing wardrobe pieces with some fake blood, dirt, or stains, you might have the perfect canvas for a zombie, killer businessman, or undead maid of honor. If you’re worried about ruining a perfectly good outfit, consider killing off a one-use wardrobe item for the sake of costume. That bridesmaid dress will not be worn again. Give it one last wear as a one of the most realistic and cheap Halloween costumes!
Used Costumes at your Local Thrift Shop
Most of the Goodwill and Salvation Army stores have a growing Halloween costume section every year. You can probably save over retail by buying from these stores, but your best value will come from buying in the off season. Start shopping earlier than September for the best prices. Mix and match accessories to create your own look.
Didn’t start early enough? Halloween costumes sold as a set are the most expensive items at a thrift store. You’ll save more money by coming up with your own ideas with what you find on the racks. You may even find costume pieces on the racks that aren’t labeled as holiday pieces, which means better prices for you.
Halloween Costume Rentals
For the costumed character that needs to look very realistic, you can always rent a costume from a high-end shop. These don’t really qualify as cheap Halloween costumes, but they are more affordable than buying a $1,000 Iron Man replica suit. The most popular shops sell out quickly, so do your homework and shop around in plenty of time to pick something you’ll love.
Be aware of their rental policies, including instructions for cleaning and care, and plan time to pick up and get fitted for any custom pieces with time to spare before the big night. Some will not be able to offer a replacement or alternative costume if it doesn’t work out, so it’s a good idea to have a back-up-plan, as well.
Big Box Stores for Cheap Halloween Costumes
Walmart and Target are still very reasonable places to buy, with a large selection of kids costumes for under $20 and near-complete adult looks for under $40. You’ll have to supply your own shoes and will likely need to buy additional accessories such as wigs, makeup, or weapons, however. It’s best to shop these stores early, as the night before Halloween there are usually few costumes to choose from. The most popular and cheap Halloween costumes are usually gone first.
For truly cheap Halloween costumes, look for an idea that is all-in-one and can look great without a lot of add-ons. You’ll also have to accept the fact that thousands of people will have your identical costume. There’s a good chance you can show up to a party with more than a few doppelgangers in attendance.
Party Supply Stores
If you’re throwing a big Halloween bash, you may decide to look into your chain party supply store. Costumes at these locations are usually priced higher, but they do have a better variety and go all out with offering hundreds of looks and customization options. One advantage of shopping these stores is that you can usually buy everything for Halloween at the one location.
Purchase party supplies, décor for your home, gifts, and costumes at one time. Use coupons or deals for a percentage of your total order. You might get free gifts with purchase can help sweeten the deal and save you money on your costume if you’re making a large overall buy. Look for savings offers online or in your local paper to save even more money!
From your Friends
What good are pals if you can’t borrow from them every now and again? Clothing swaps are very popular, and they are an especially good idea around the Halloween season. Simply invite all your local friends over for a night of pizza and require them to bring at least one used costume that they no longer wear. Everyone exchanges for a new costume, and guests leave happy with one of many Halloween costumes that they didn’t have to pay a penny for. If the swap party is big, you can charge a $5 admission to help cover the cost of pizzas. It will still be the best value on costumes your friends will ever see, and it is a great way to have fun in advance of Halloween!
What’s the single best advice for saving money this Halloween? Plan ahead, get a unique idea in mind, and make a list of what items you need for your preferred look. You can always get the best deal if you’re not pressured to buy only what’s available at the most in-demand time of the year. If all else fails, you can go as the poorly-made ghost from the Peanut’s series that Charlie Brown wore. A plain white sheet and black magic marker don’t cost much, at all……