Halloween is a little less than two months away, but right now is a perfect time for you and your child to decide on a costume and start searching it out.  If you start early, you will avoid the mad scramble that occurs in late October, and you may be able to save yourself some money too.  Consider these strategies:

-Put out the call.  Ask friends or family members if they have any outgrown costumes your child could borrow.  My son was able to borrow an adorable, homemade Peter Pan costume from my mom’s friend when he was two.  He got many compliments, and we didn’t have to pay a penny.

-Look at what you already have on hand.  Is your child in dance?  If so, could she use one of her recital costumes as a costume?  My son takes tap dance, and he had to get a pirate costume for the recital, which would work perfectly for a Halloween costume.

If your child plays sports, consider having him wear his uniform as his costume.  A child who plays football could go as a football player; a student who takes karate could wear his karate uniform.

-Buy clothing with a Halloween costume in mind.  If you are planning to buy your child a raincoat, for instance, try to find one beyond the traditional yellow slicker.  Maybe your little boy wants a black fireman raincoat.  Not only can he use this as a rain coat on rainy days, but perhaps he could also wear it as his Halloween costume.  My son did this when he was three.  We saved the $20 to $30 it would have cost to buy a costume, and my son had an adorable rain coat.

In late September and October, you will also find children’s pajamas decorated with bones to look like a skeleton for Halloween.  Have the pajamas do double duty by dressing your child in them as a skeleton Halloween costume.

-Check Craigslist.  There are already a slew of costumes up for sale on Craigslist.  Start looking now for the best selection, and don’t forget, you can negotiate the price with the seller.  You are more likely to have a successful negotiation by looking now, before there are many people looking for costumes.

-Give your child a choice of costumes.  Rather than asking your child the wide open question, “What would you like to be for Halloween?”, instead, give them a choice based on what you have on hand.  “Would you rather be a pirate or a fireman for Halloween?”

Use these strategies to save on Halloween costumes for this year.  After Halloween this year, check around for leftover costumes on sale at places like the Disney Store and Gymboree.  Then, buy your kids’ costumes for next year and pay only 25% to 50% of the retail price.

What are your favorite ways to save on Halloween costumes?  What was your favorite Halloween costume as a kid?

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