Halloween and Christmas go hand in hand in my house. Each year I put those Halloween goods to work for me. Hey, those costumes are not just for trick-or-treating anymore and neither is that candy. But don't hit those shelves just yet; you have to wait for the word of the day: CLEARANCE. What a treat that is! Now here are my tricks.

1. Who wants to play dress up?

Well, every little kid really, and let me be honest, me too! That’s what makes Halloween so fun, and why my kids (and I) look forward to it all year round. Now, how can I make that fun, "be whatever you want to be” feeling last all year?

Keep an open mind.

I get my kids some cool new dress-up clothes for Christmas, that’s how. I have to make sure to keep an open mind and look out for the more generic costumes. I never go expecting to see that year’s top costumes available after the holiday. I watch out for cowboys and princesses and ninjas—oh my! Though I have to admit I’m hoping I may be lucky enough to stumble upon an Elsa or Anna costume (a mom can dream, right?).

Buy 2-3 sizes too big.

I always look for costumes that are 2-3 sizes too big. Not only will they fit over my kids’ regular clothes while they play, but they should last a few extra seasons too.
Also, if I see packages that are open or missing pieces, I ask a manager to see if I can get an even steeper discount. Hey, it never hurts to ask, right?

2. Every kid knows, it's all about the accessories.

I keep an eye out for those ninja swords, wigs, princess crowns, and all the other add-on items. You know, those things your kids just can't live without—the items that would have made their costume just right. Well, now those prices don't scare me, and they will work as fantastic accessories to pad their dress-up chest as well as replace items that may have been damaged to the point of no return. If I see anything that looks out of place, I ask a manager. Who knows, maybe that wandering wand was somehow taken from another costume and they are willing to give me an even bigger deal!

3. Future makeup artists, unite.

I keep on the lookout for all of the cool makeup, hair-coloring spray, hair accessories, fake eyelashes and more. After Halloween I can find everything my kids need to give me (and sometimes my husband–he's a good sport) the most hideous makeovers ever, and I love every moment of it. Just find it, get a cute little case from the dollar store, and you have a cool gift for any girl.

4. Stockings need candy.

At least that's what my kids think. I keep an eye out for those crazy candy deals—no, not the candy corn or pumpkin shaped chocolates (though I wouldn’t mind–I have a special place in my heart for candy corn.) Who says my kids’ stockings have to be stuffed with Christmas-themed goodies anyway? Those massive bags of mixed mini candy bars, lollipops and other candies will do the trick!

5. What else is there to say? Ding-dong, the jewelry is on and then some.

For my last trick, or treat, I will show you how it’s done. There’s a lot more to Halloween clearance and special after-holiday deals. Leading up to the holiday, they try to get us, the fans of Halloween, to spend our money on those witchy necklaces, skeleton socks, pumpkin tees and other adorable Halloween goods—but not this lady. I wait until they are ready to throw in the towel after the Halloween rush, then ransack the village or store.

Look for stocking stuffers.

When I'm on my way to my costume, accessory and candy expedition, I also keep a lookout for deals on anything that is not too festive. By keeping an eye out, I can score some extra stocking stuffers and pad those gifts with some more useful items. Of course, with the Halloween-themed costume jewelry, you can pad the dress-up chest a bit more too! And hey, if you don’t see a clearance sign, and it looks like it should be a Halloween item, ask a manager or check the price scanner—you never know!


This is a guest post by Nichole from Dracut, MA.

How to Make Halloween Work for You This Christmas