Well folks, it is time to outfit your little trick-or-treaters and yourself if you are still into Halloween like I am. Here are a few ideas for looking your spookiest without scaring your bank account.
Repurpose old costumes. Take your black witch skirt from years past and repurpose it into a gypsy costume. The shirt you “Hulked” out of last Halloween can be your zombie rags this year. Were you a doctor last year? Rip your white coat in strips and turn it into a mummy costume. With a little creativity, the possibilities are endless.
Thrift store finds make way better costumes than the cheap plastic store ones so spend some time sorting through the bins. Chances are that the costumes you find there will be cheaper, better made, and a lot more fun.
Use your own creativity. Nontoxic face paints come a lot cheaper than masks, safer too. Have you ever tried to look both ways before crossing the street in a werewolf mask? With those slits for eyes you may end up road kill. Also, one pack of paints is usually enough to do the whole family instead of having to buy several individual masks. Besides, face paint is not something you want to save from year to year and you hate throwing out a bunch of it because you only used it for one little kitty’s whiskers, so use it up. Spend some time thinking of other ways to make certain items stretch.
Beg, steal, or borrow what you can and then spend your limited budget on a few special items that really make the costume. Dad’s grey sweats work better as an elephant costume than the plastic “real” elephant costume at the store. Plus, they are warmer and more comfortable too. Then you can spend your money on the jumbo can of peanuts to empty and use as a candy bucket. As a personal example, I wanted to be the white rabbit from Alice in Wonderland a few years ago and I saw a lot of cute costumes I couldn’t afford. But, looking at the picture of him on the back of the DVD I realized I already owned most of his outfit. I just stopped by the Halloween store and got some $3 white rabbit ears and a giant $4 golden clock meant for a Flavor Flav rapper ensemble and voila! I was set as the White Rabbit.
Have a costume swap party the first week of October and have people bring all the outfits and accessories they are done with and pick up some new (to them) spooky stuff.
Buy costume items that can transition into everyday life. There are tons of cute superhero shirts or ruffled princess style skirts that can be dressed up for the holiday and back down afterward for school or church.
Don’t over think it. Sometimes the best, most memorable costumes are the unique, subtle, or creative ones. Not the flashy expensive ones. One of my favorite costumes as a kid was being a television set. I walked around inside a (free) cardboard box, that an older sibling helped me draw knobs and a spooky scene on (for free). I think we used some of mom’s tin foil for an antenna hat. Done. Loved it. One of my favorite costumes as an adult was for a day at work as a bank teller. We had a dress code even for Halloween, slacks and button up shirt. So, I wore my thick-rimmed glasses that day, combed my hair all slick with a deep side part, a white shirt tucked in with a smart belt and the top few buttons unbuttoned revealing– a Superman T-shirt with the big S! I was a hit as Clark Kent, and I didn’t have to buy a thing.
Check the back of Grandma’s closets. Kids love to dress up in the styles from other decades (and now other centuries—yikes, but true). You’ll find totally rad child size clothes from the 80s, that yes, you used to actually wear. Or Grandma may still have one of her old poodle skirts or leather fringe vests and tie-dye.
I want to hear your Halloween costume money saving ideas. Give a howl or shriek in the comments below.
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