How to Save Money on Halloween

Do you want to know how to save money on Halloween?

how to save money on Halloween

My kids talk about Halloween for months before it arrives. There have actually been years we have been trick or treating where my child would say “next year I’m going to dress up as….”

Um…can we just get through THIS year’s Halloween first??

I think it’s safe to say Halloween is something that my kids get pretty excited about.  However,  it’s amazing how fast Halloween can add up.  I’ve walked into the store, looked at the costumes for kids, and decided there is no way I wanted to pay that much.  Is it too much to ask for affordable Halloween costumes?

New Halloween costumes for kids in my neck of the woods cost an average of 20-30 dollars.  I have three kids.  At 30 dollars a piece that is 90 dollars for costumes.  Even at 20 dollars a piece that is 60 dollars for my kids to dress up.   On a tight budget, that’s a lot for one night of fun!

And then let’s not forget adding on those fancy candy buckets they have now, and new flashlights, and any accessories you may need for your costume.

Now, before you think I’m a stick in the mud, I promise you every year we have gone trick or treating, and my kids have sported full costumes.  They’ve come home with their stash of candy, happy from another successful Halloween.  I love seeing how excited they get each year.

I think it’s a fun night.  I just don’t think it should cost an arm and a leg.  I want to have a cheap Halloween.


Buy secondhand.  The thrift stores sell Halloween costumes for just a fraction of the price you would buy them new.  Many of those costumes have been worn just once, or only a handful of times.  Sometimes you might find a piece of a costume and can add to it.  For example, one year I found a Mario Bros costume for my son but needed the hat.  I just bought a red ball cap at the dollar store and painted on the M with acrylic paint.  If you can score cheap Halloween costumes, you’ve won half the battle when it comes to saving money for the night of trick-or-treating.

Buy accessories at the dollar store.  The dollar stores often sell a lot of Halloween accessories.  If you need a wig, or some face paint, or glow sticks, the dollar store is the place to buy them.

Make  your child’s costumes.  You don’t need to be a seamstress to make a costume.  Years ago my kids were a washing machine and a basket of dirty laundry.  All that was required was a box, some paint, a plastic laundry basket, some clothes, and a little creativity.  No sewing was necessary for these affordable Halloween costumes.  Another year my daughter was a minion so I was able to just buy a yellow shirt and overalls from the thrift store that she could wear as regular clothes after the fact, and we were going to make goggles but ended up finding a cheap pair of minion goggles at the thrift store.  Check out a list of 65 DIY costume ideas over at Country Living.

Here’s a picture of the homemade costumes I made one year.  It is an old picture that is not the best quality, but sometimes you gotta share a picture regardless to help get your point across. 🙂

how to save money on halloween

Use costumes from the dress up trunk at your house.  We have this notion that our kids can’t wear the same costume on more than one Halloween.  My youngest child wanted to be a ninja three years in a row!  For some strange reason I felt guilty about it at first.  Than I figured if that’s what he wanted, why should I worry?

The other thing is, I have three kids and a dress up box at our home.  Why can’t one wear a costume that the other child wore the previous year?

My kids know I have a rule when it comes to costumes.  They use a costume from the dressup box, or we make one, or we keep our eye out for a used one. So far everyone has faired just fine with this arrangement.

Do a costume swap.  Many parents have previous years worth of halloween costumes.  What if you got together with all your mom friends and traded costumes?

Don’t buy bags or buckets to hold their candy in.  Bags and buckets aren’t THAT expensive, but again, it all adds up.  Candy tastes just as good when carried in a pillow case or plastic grocery bag.


Halloween can be a great night to spend as a family, visiting neighbors and friends. It’s the one night of the year everyone is out in the neighborhood at the same time and I always love seeing people we know in the streets of our local town.  But, what makes the night even better is that it was a cheap night of fun!  If you are wondering how to save money on Halloween, apply some of these ideas to keep costs down.

Related:  Need Money for Christmas? Start Saving Early

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