It’s easy to save on Halloween when you’re a stay-home parent who has time to make your child’s Halloween costume. What about the working families who are juggling their home, family and kids? As much as I would like to craft my own costumes, there just isn’t enough time in the day. Rather than point you to the craft store, here are some tips for Halloween savings when you don’t have the time to make it yourself. 

Update an Old Halloween Costume

There’s nothing in the parenting rulebook that says you have to buy a new costume every year. Reusing last year’s Halloween costume can help save you time and money. Just add some accessories like a wand, shoes, tights, tiara, cape, crown or wig. Last year’s princess costume could be updated into a fairy. An army man could be changed into a zombie with a little bit of makeup. Fabric paint can also be used to breathe new life into an old costume. 

Buy a Used Halloween Costume

If the Halloween costume has only been worn once or twice, then it’s practically new. Garage sales, consignment shops, eBay and Craigslist are great places to find a gently used Halloween costume. If you’re buying the costume online, make sure that the online auction/classified clearly shows the condition of the used costume. On eBay, you can also check the rating of the seller to make sure that they have a good reputation. 

Shop for Costume Deals

Just a few minutes of online research can help save you big at the Halloween store. Research the different prices, and search for coupon codes. Start following Halloween costume companies on Twitter and Facebook. Many of them offer exclusive deals to their social media followers. 

Some discounters will offer a “lowest price” guarantee, but make sure you read the fine print before heading to the store to get your price reduction because some restrictions may apply. Also, the earlier you start shopping for deals the better, because a good deal tends to sell off fast. You’ll also want to try on the new Halloween costume once it gets in to make sure it fits. Sometimes sizing can be a little off, and you don’t want to wait till Halloween to find out the costume doesn’t fit. 

Multiple Parties, Don’t Get Multiple Costumes

Every year, my kids end up having multiple parties at multiple places, above and beyond the standard trick-or-treating on Halloween. Your kid might want to dress differently for each event. Multiple parties should be extra fun, not extra money. Rather than go out and buy multiple costumes, change out the accessories, buy a costume that’s versatile or find one that’s designed to be a 3-in-1 Halloween costume. They might be a little more expensive then the discount Halloween costume, but you’ll save more in the end because you’re only buying one costume.

Visit the Dollar Store

Once you’ve found a base costume, take your kids’ to the Dollar Store to get the accessories. Most of them stock swords, guns, princess crowns, wands and other goodies during Halloween time. It’s cheaper to buy the accessories there than at the Halloween costume store. While you’re there, also pick up your Halloween candy. 

Don’t Wear a Mask, Try Makeup Instead

Latex masks aren’t ideal for kids because they are more expensive, obscure visibility and can be hot to wear. A little bit of makeup can get the same effect without the price tag; just make sure to test out your look a few times before Halloween. Don’t be afraid to think out of the box. Last year, my son was going as an army zombie. Using toilet paper, Elmer’s glue, natural foundation, purple eye shadow and red lipstick, I was able to create a realistic bullet hole using items that I had around the house. 

Last but not least, don’t wait last minute to do your costume shopping. It’s harder to save when you’re options have been picked over. Start planning your Halloween costume now so that you’re prepared and don’t have to take a 2-hour lunch break to find your kids’ costumes. I’ve been there, and done it. Let me tell you, it wasn’t frugal or fun. 

About April Lewis-Parks:

April is the editor and writer at, a blog sponsored by Consolidated Credit is a credit counseling agency that has helped about 5 million people over nearly 20 years.

April is a consumer affairs advocate dedicated to generating awareness about personal finance issues.  She covers a broad range of topics including how to manage credit and debt, how to save money, daily freebies & bargains and ultimately how to be financially independent and successful.

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