When it comes to getting your kid a Halloween costume, you have a few choices. If you know what you’re doing, you can go the do-it-yourself route. If you lack the time or creativity for something that ambitious, you’re probably better off doing a bit of Halloween shopping. 

Either way, there’s probably going to be a bit of cash outlay when it comes to gearing up for Halloween. That extra money must come from somewhere, but you don’t need to break the bank. Featured below are some quick tips that can make you a savvier Halloween shopper.

The Store-Bought Halloween Costume

Costume shopping is a blast, but it’s very easy to get lost in a store’s many ensembles. Colorful masks and interesting outfits flood your kid’s eyes the moment you both enter the store, tickling the imagination and tempting you to spend beyond your budget. Make it easier by sticking to some guidelines: 

1) Find Out Your Child’s Preferences Ahead of Time

Find out what your kid wants before settling on a budget. There will always be many different types of costumes that your kid can wear; a typical ghost, a prince, a vampire, or a famous cartoon or video game character—the possibilities are practically endless. Your budget, however, is not. Some costumes will always be more expensive than others.  

Popular movie character costumes sell out faster than run-of-the-mill ghouls and ghosts, so be sure to ask what your kid wants ahead of time. This way, you’ll have ample time to pre-order or reserve any costumes before they sell out.

2) Help Your Child Choose An Affordable Costumeboy wearing deer head band near plants

Halloween preparations are an excellent opportunity to discuss safe and appropriate choices with your children. Choosing a costume gives them some independence, but as a parent, you are naturally concerned about your child’s well-being. 

When you arrive in a store, carefully check the costume selections. You will want to think first about safety. Will motorists be able to see your child trick-or-treating? Is the costume so long the wearer might trip over it? Also, consider how practical it is for the weather where you live. If the outfit is too thin, you might need to purchase clothing to go underneath it, which will cost even more. 

Talk to your kid about all of these things. Often, they have more common sense than we give them credit for. 

If you’ve given your kid a budget, you can point out how much money they could pocket by making the costume at home instead of purchasing it in the store. This can be a great way to teach kids about money by giving them a little ownership over their financial choices. And it’s surprising how creative kids can be when they are counting their pennies and dollars, too.

3) Take Paid Online Surveys To Fund Your Halloween Gear and Festivities

If there is no money left over in the family budget for extras like candy, decorations, and Halloween costumes, consider a side gig to fund your holiday. Paid survey sites offer cash and unlimited free gift cards to your favorite retailers just for sharing your opinion for rewards. And if you start early enough, you can have a tidy sum in time for the holiday. 

The best part about taking surveys for money is that you don’t need to feel guilty about the money coming from other essential areas of your budget. The same can be done for other holidays and occasions too. Joining a legit survey site can help you pay for lots of little things you might otherwise not be able to afford.

4) Always Look for Coupons and Discounts

The majority of Halloween costume shops offer discounts and coupons the closer the holiday gets. Discounted outfits are sometimes costumes from the previous season that may be overly trendy are likely to go out of style the following year. Avoid buying something that will be irrelevant by next Halloween. Instead, look for choices that will be a win every season. This way, your kid or someone else can use the costume another time.

Regardless of what is trending, the quality of discounted costumes should still be decent and meet a certain standard. Of course, like any other store, you can often combine coupons, store reward cards, sales, and other promotions to snag the best deals. 

The other option here is to take your kids to purchase their costumes a year in advance, shopping a day or two after Halloween. This type of long-range planning is not for every family but can frequently yield savings of up to 90 percent on discounted gear. 

5) Become Familiar With Store Policies

As a general rule, you should always familiarize yourself with a store’s policies before buying anything. Check out their return and refund guidelines, payment options, and sales tax. You’ll need to know all of these things on the off chance that you buy something defective or you happen to change your mind.

Be aware that some costume stores run pop-up style seasonal shops that will disappear once Halloween is over. Therefore, if you need to return an item, the time to do it is before—not after—Halloween, or you could be out of luck. 

6) Set up a Dedicated Halloween Savings Accountwhite and black fruit decors

You’ve probably heard of a Christmas club or Christmas savings account. The idea behind it is to set some cash aside each week of the year in preparation for the holidays. This way, when Christmas rolls around, the additional costs of the season are less of a financial burden.

The same can be done for Halloween, just on a smaller scale. If you set aside a small sum at regular intervals throughout the year, your wallet won’t take a hit when the spooky day is upon you. You can spend more time having fun and less time worrying about how to pay for your costume.

Other Options for Cheap Halloween Costumes

You don’t need to look far to find tons of creative ideas for Halloween costumes, and many of these can be discovered right in your own home. In fact, it wasn’t too long ago that homemade costumes were the norm, and purchasing from a store was rare.

7) Purchase Second-Handperson holding assorted clothes in wooden hanger

Don’t forget about thrift stores, either. Many second-hand shops have whole displays of gently-used costumes that cost significantly less than their full-price counterparts. Wedding gowns, prom dresses, tuxedos, and suits can be had at these stores for a song and can serve as the inspiration for many costume ideas.  

8) Make Your Own Costume

You don’t need to be an artist or expert seamstress to make your own costume. Usually, you can use items you already have around the house. It’s a cheap and fun activity that the whole family can enjoy together.

Old hats, wigs, ski-masks, and clothing can be revamped to create whimsical contest-worthy disguises. A few bits of lace, beads, ribbons, and other stuff you have laying around will enhance the overall look.

9) Borrow a Costume

If the idea of a crafty night of glue and glitter does not appeal to you, take heart. If you simply don’t have the extra money for a store-bought costume, you can always ask around. Check with friends and family to see what others have on hand. Many people have a box full of costumes in the basement or attic they would be happy to share.