When I was a girl, I loved Star Wars. I mean, I really loved Star Wars. For several Halloweens in a row, I dressed up as Princess Leia (the classic Leia wearing the long white dress with the two side buns). If you’re not so lucky to have a child who wants to repeat his or her costume year after year, you can use these costume savings to plan a festive Halloween without going over budget.

The cost of the average Halloween costume for kids

For 66% of kids, Halloween is their hands-down favorite annual holiday. As well, 7 out of 10 adults also plan to celebrate—and continue to do so year after year. Statistics state that most parents spend around $28 for a child's Halloween costume. If you can come in under this amount, you can pat yourself on the back as a super Halloween saver!

The 15 most popular kids Halloween costumes

It seems the National Retail Federation has a survey for just about everything, and kids Halloween costumes are no exception.

  • Princess
  • Animal
  • Spider-Man
  • “Frozen” character
  • Action superhero
  • Batman character
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle
  • Witch
  • Pirate
  • Superman

5 Ways to save on Halloween costumes

1. Buy multi-purpose separates instead of a "costume."

Depending on your child's choice of costume, you can save by purchasing separates (such as a skirt or pants and a top) that can be added to your child's daily wardrobe when Halloween ends. You can do a lot with makeup and accessories—check dollar stores and online to get masks and accessories for a dollar or less.

Example: Race car driver. Purchase a red hoodie, red ball cap (worn backwards) and red slacks. Add affiliations (downloaded and printed) and a handheld race flag.

2. "Shop" in your closet—and your child's closet.

Here again, if you opt to go the separates route, see what your child already owns before purchasing something new. You can also shop in your friends' closets—and return the favor—to help your circle of parents save on costumes.

3. Shop the online sales.

Once upon a time, I worked as a temporary. One short-term assignment I will never forget was as a greeter at a Halloween costume convention…in February. Halloween costumes are big, BIG business for many merchants. As such, you can shop at high-end, mid-market, discount, or constant clearance retailers—just like for clothing, accessories, or anything else you might want to buy.

Here are some examples of discount and constant clearance retailers:

  • Halloweenmart: This site has lots of pirate and superhero costumes, and shipping is free.
  • WholesaleHalloweenCostumes: Get an extra $10 off coupon for joining the email list. This site has lots of “Frozen” and Disney costumes.
  • CostumeCraze: Costumes are discounted 30-60% (some are just $3-$4!)
  • BuyCostumes: Get everything 15% off and $25 off your first order for joining the email list, plus "orange tag special" costumes are $10 or less.

4. Create a DIY costume.

I am not crafty. But my best friend is. The year she gave me instructions for how to dress up as "bubble gum under a shoe" (a costume she has successfully worn to rave reviews several times), everyone guessed I was the "Pink Fairy." Ah well. A DIY costume is not for everyone, but if you’re crafty and your child picks a manageable costume, you can save bundles!

Example: Great white shark. Scavenge (or borrow or purchase) a grey sweatsuit—make sure the jacket is a hoodie. Get a piece of white fabric (felt is ideal). Cut out a row of "teeth," leaving a thick margin at the base of the teeth. Use two-sided hemming tape to affix the teeth around the rim of the hood itself. Use the rest of the white fabric to cut out a round piece for the shark's white "belly." For the fin, use stiff cardboard colored grey and cut into a fin shape. Affix to the back of the hoodie with safety pins. Voila—a great white on the cheap! 

5. Sell last year's costumes to pay for this year's costumes.

This simple, sensible strategy helps you pay for each year's costumes. Plus, you clear out space in your closets and—often—help others who are not able to afford pricey Halloween costumes.

Here are some great places to sell back your costumes (adults, kids, both):


5 Halloween Costume Savings You Can Cash In On