Halloween is right around the corner, and if you aren’t carefully, costume expenses can add up quickly.  While it is fun to dress up for Halloween, it is not fun to have to pay a fortune for an outfit your kids will only wear once or a few times while playing dress up.  Here are some strategies that can save you money when buying costumes:

1.  Make your own costumes with things around the house.

This is the best way to get a costume frugally, and your kid will probably be the only one in that particular costume.  We have not done this yet, but I anticipate we will next year as we work on conserving money and paying down debt.  I am a contributing writer at Bargaineering, and I shared these posts about creative costumes to make at home that you might want to explore for costume ideas:

5 Homemade Low Cost Toddler Halloween Costumes

5 Homemade Low Cost Baby Halloween Costumes

2.  Reuse a costume

My son was a doctor last year, and since the costume still fits, he is going to go as a doctor again this year.  Of course, not every kid will want to go as the same thing twice, but if yours is agreeable, why not?  My daughter is already eyeing her brother’s doctor costume, so rather than sell it, I will save it for her to wear in another year or two.

3.  Buy a used Halloween costume

There are plenty of places you can look for used Halloween costumes.  My favorite sites are Craigslist and eBay.  You are likely to find them cheaper on Craigslist.  For instance, I have my daughter’s Gymboree leopard tutu Halloween costume on Craigslist for $5 right now.  Then, next Halloween you can turn around and sell it for the same price.  Ebay is also a good source, but you will have to buy this week to have it shipped to your home on time.  Another good place to look is children’s consignment stores such as Once Upon a Child.  There you will likely find used and new costumes at a reasonable price.

4.  Buy new at Goodwill stores.

I don’t know if all Goodwill stores do this, but at our local Goodwill store, they offer new costumes for the whole family from baby to adult.  Most can be had for less than $20.

5.  Buy new using a discount

If your child is older and has his or her heart set on a particular costume that you will need to buy new, try to take advantage of any discounts you can get.  Ebates offers cash back for particular stores, and right now, they are offering 10% cash back when you shop at Any Time Costumes or Costume Discounters and 7.5% cash back if you shop Costume Express.  Shop Wholesale Halloween Costumes, and you can get 8% cash back.  You must create an Ebates account and get to the online store through Ebates’ web page.  Then, you will get your cash back at the end of the quarter, assuming you have a cashback amount of more than $5.  (Actually, it is great to sign up with Ebates now in anticipation of the upcoming holiday season and Christmas shopping.)

6.  Shop the clearance racks.

This won’t help you this Halloween, but it will next Halloween.  I always go to Gymboree the day after Halloween and buy my kids’ Halloween costumes for next year.  Last year I was able to buy both of my daughters a bee tutu Halloween costume along with matching tights and hair pieces for $15 a piece.  After they wear them this year, I hope to resell them next year for the same price.  I know other stores like Disney also do this, so head out November 1st to snag next year’s costume.

For those who celebrate it, Halloween can be a fun time.  Kids get to dress up in different clothes, which is always fun.  However, there is no reason to spend a lot of money on costumes.

What is your favorite way to save on Halloween costumes?

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