Halloween Costumes:
Get Creative to Save Money!

Halloween costumes are still the largest part of Halloween spending. But they don't have to break your Halloween budget.

Halloween costumes

But what if your kids just have to have that Hannah Montana outfit? Or the sword that lights up and talks? Besides just saying no (and feeling like the grinch that stole Halloween), offer some unusual suggestions or more realistic options.

The traditional costumes
It seems that clowns, vampires and ghosts have gone the way of the dinosaur in the Halloween costume business. Time to bring them back! Here are some classic costume ideas:

  • Vampires: Black cape (as simple as black muslin), black sweats or other black clothes, fake teeth and face paint.
  • Angels: White clothing, cardboard wings (which can be dressed up with inexpensive cotton batting or feather boa) and a foil halo.
  • Devils: Red clothing, homemade tail, horns (which you can usually find on a headband), a decorated cardboard pitchfork and face paint.
  • Fairy or ballerina: Most appropriate for girls that have dress-up clothes or recital outfits hanging in the closet. Add a wand, some glittery make-up and a fairy crown.
  • Superheroes: Pick your favorite hero (or make up a new one on your own!) and find clothes that match the color of that hero's outfit. Add some logos made out of paper or cloth decorated with markers and an inexpensive mask or face paint.
  • Witch: Black cape (as simple as black muslin), black dress or skirt, black wig, fake warts, pointed hat and broom.
  • Hobo: Borrow older sibling or Dad's clothes. Add a beaten hat, some "dirty" make-up and a handkerchief tied to a stick.
  • Clown: Almost anything will work for this. Modify the hobo costume above by adding a wig and red nose. Make your own from mismatched clothes and oversized shoes. Or buy a pattern and fabric and make your own.

Halloween costume variations
But what if you can't get the kids into the traditional Halloween costume spirit? Try to keep costs down where you can. Don't just buy the $30 prepackaged outfits.

Here are some suggestions:

  • Pick the most important part of the outfit and buy it. But use stuff you already have for the other pieces. For example, Hannah Montana is about the hair. Buy the wig (which is usually separate from the outfit anyhow) and use outfits already on hand for the rest of it.
  • Get the kids involved in the magic of creativity. Taking them to the local retailer and asking what they want to be makes them look at the Halloween costumes on hand. Make a list at home - and limit the options before you even start shopping.
  • If they are old enough, have them pitch in on the costs. As with other things, it's amazing how their tastes change when they have to foot part of the bill!
  • Buy reusable stuff. Black capes and wigs can be used over and over. So can clown noses, swords and pom poms.
  • Go the unusual route. They may not sound that odd, but you don't see these costumes every Halloween:
    • Toothpaste tubes: a white sheet, magic markers, wire hangers and a coffee filter.
    • Robots: Spray painted cardboard boxes, face paint and gray sweats
    • Caveman: Heavy duty fur (from the local material store), a paper mache club and wig.
    • Family costumes: Get everyone in the spirit! Be train cars (with an engine and caboose) or M&Ms (everyone in different colored clothes with m's on the front plus face paint).

Above all, have fun with your Halloween costumes! Halloween is the chance to be a little goofy - let your creativity shine!

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