In my dream home there would be a play room with a costume closet and I’d have a little stage and dress up area. For now a box full of costumes and a big dose of imagination is just as good. Our stash includes a variety of characters in each size from youngest to oldest, but it’s taken a while to get to that point.
I have gone into some of those speciality stores and found really simple kids costumes for 50 bucks! I am way too cheap to invest that kind of money into play clothes. Instead I have tried to get deals when they come up.
Here are 10 ways to stock up on costumes without breaking the bank.
1. Buy used
This one is obvious! I buy almost everything used anyway, but always keep an eye out for costumes at thrift stores, consignment shops, and yard sales. That’s where you are going to find the best deals. Some of them have hardly ever (maybe even never) been worn.
2. Shop Babies R Us
I know that is so randomly specific, but almost all of my toddler costumes came from Babies R Us either right before Halloween or right after. They are so stinkin’ cheap when they are marked down. I am talking like three dollars! Of course now that I make that announcement they won’t have any deals this year and you guys can throw tomatoes at me for leading you astray. I hope that’s not the case though.
3. Consider a cow costume
One of the costumes I got for $2.50 at Babies R Us was a baby cow costume which has gotten us several free meals on Chic-fil-A cow days. So if you know you are into that it doesn’t hurt to have a few cow costumes in your stash because kids love ’em and they pay for themselves. In our case we have gotten almost $200 worth of free meals over the past 6 years thanks to dressing like a cow.
4. Make your own
I am not that crafty in this area. My mom is the one who does all the sewing and she has made some super cute costumes. The one of SJ as a gnome will always be a favorite of mine! She also made all but one of the cow costumes above. It doesn’t have to be that elaborate though. There are so many ideas on pinterest you could just go crazy with all the cheap and easy options.
5. Christmas gift costumes
One good thing about giving costumes as Christmas gifts is that you get them on clearance the month before! You save money by killing two birds with one stone when you get a Christmas present and Halloween costume all at once.
6. The child pays for their own costume
Seriously! If you have chores or jobs for your kids (which I highly recommend) that doesn’t mean they should just blow it all on junk toys that will end up lost or broken within weeks. I often have my kids earn things that I would have otherwise paid for like a birthday present for their friend’s party, or a book from the book fair, or their HALLOWEEN COSTUME. When Z was 5 he saved up for a mario costume that he wore several years in a row. This helps kids learn the value of things rather than just having it appear via mom and dad. They feel proud and accomplished and it saves money because you get child labor out of it (I’m joking).
Costume pajamas are so popular right now. You can’t go anywhere without seeing pajamas that look like a super hero or a princess. And then there are those huge onesies that look like animals and all that. I saw several people wearing those for halloween last year and we’ve done this too. It saves money when your costume can double as pajamas.
Borrowing a costume will not help you build your private collection, but if you have an idea in mind for a special costume don’t feel like you have to go purchase all the pieces! Z’s school had a mother son costume night last October and we were able to borrow all this western wear. It worked out perfectly and we didn’t have to spend a dime. If it’s not something you think you are going to use over and over then save your dough!
Remember dressing up in stuff from the old trunk in grandma’s attic? Me neither, but it happens in the movies. Anyway, if there is an old neck tie, dress, hat, or sunglasses etc. that you are thinking about throwing out consider whether it could work for the costume box before sending off to goodwill. Same applies to old dance or sports uniforms.
10. Pass it along
When you have multiple kids then you can get multiple uses out of each costume. It’s been fun to watch Ezie wear some of the costumes that belonged to Z. We’ve had other people bless us with some of their old costumes too and I plan to pay it forward with anything that is left in decent condition once my kids are all grown up. Although, that’s really, REALLY far away and I don’t want to think about it right now!
Those are all my tips for accumulating a costume collection on the cheap. It doesn’t even have to be for Halloween, but this certainly is a great time of year to be thinking about it.