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How to save money on Halloween costumes

Save Money on Halloween Costumes

It’s the first week of October, and that means Halloween is coming! I love Halloween. There’s just something exciting about dressing up as someone else. Especially zombies. Zombie costumes are my favorite.

The thing about Halloween costumes is that they are often quite expensive. Have you seen the cost of these things lately? Last year I saw a little dragon costume for a toddler – it was $65. Sixty-five dollars! For a tiny little costume. Ridiculous.

7 ways to save money on Halloween costumes

This year I did some digging and researched the best ways for saving money on Halloween costumes. Here are 7 ways:

1. eBay

There is always a huge assortment of Halloween costumes on eBay, and thankfully, the prices aren’t too bad (usually).

One great benefit of shopping on eBay is that you can search for exactly what you want. If you already have a costume idea in mind, that is.

Related: How to Make Money on eBay
Selling on Ebay is just as great as selling on websites such as Kijiji or Craigslist. You can make some extra cash just by posting something on the internet. Fantastic!

2. Thrift stores

Most thrift stores have a section for Halloween costumes and it is often bursting at the seams come October. New stuff is being added every day, as more people drop off old costumes that they no longer want, so if you don’t find something on your first visit, try again another time.

There are some thrift stores (Value Village especially) that even sell brand new Halloween costumes, with prices as much as 50% off the original. The closer you get to Halloween, the higher the discount will be, but this also means your selection will be more limited.

3. Online classifieds

Websites such as Kijiji and Craigslist are great places to not only find Halloween costumes, but to sell your old costumes.

Just like eBay, this is an easy way to find a very specific costume, since you can just type what you’re looking for into the search box.

Related: How to Sell Your Stuff Online with Kijiji & Craigslist
Making money from online classifieds, such as Kijiji and Craigslist, is not as simple as posting the ad and watching the money roll in. In order to make the sale, you have to be prepared to put in a little work.

4. Costume swap or borrow

Get together with a couple of friends and/or family members and either borrow a costume (or more) from them, or swap costumes entirely.

I personally find that a clothing swap is the way to go, since then you don’t have to worry about returning anything. Less work = perfect for me.

5. Do it yourself

One very frugal way to save on Halloween costumes is to simply make them yourself.

There are many websites with easy DIY Halloween costume ideas for adults and children. If you have a bit of a crafty side, this may be the route to take if you want to save money on Halloween costumes.

6. End of season sales

We all know that shopping at the end of a season is one of the best ways to save money. Right? Knowing the sale cycles is your best bet to saving big on winter clothing, snowsuits, swimwear, sunscreen, Christmas items and… yep, costumes (and other Halloween goodies – including candy!).

If you don’t mind purchasing next year’s costume this year, you will be able to save some serious dough. Keep in mind that the longer after Halloween you wait to purchase these costumes, the more limited your selection will be.

7. Dollar stores (for accessories)

If you need to buy face paint/make-up, hair colour spray, hats, jewellery, tiaras, swords, shields, wigs, eye patches, or almost any other Halloween costume accessory, check out your local dollar store.

Most stores (good ones, anyway) have at least one row full of Halloween items. I’ve even seen actual Halloween costumes at some dollar stores (usually only for babies, though). If you’re into dressing up your pet, there’s often costumes for them, too.

Related: Why I Love Dollar Stores
Looking to save money? Head to the dollar store. They have so much stuff, and it is all inexpensive. The quality is actually very good as well, these days. Dollarama is my favourite dollar store, but there are other good ones, too.

Halloween costumes that won’t break the bank

If you’re wondering how to get awesome Halloween costumes that won’t break the bank, you’re in luck, because I have some money-saving tips for you today.

I’m shocked at the retail price of many Halloween costumes. Costumes that are usually only worn once or twice. That is nonsense! There are so many ways to save money on Halloween costumes. Here are a few tips…

Buy second hand

Sites like Kijiji, Craiglist, eBay or more local sites like Milton Moms are excellent ways to purchase costumes second hand. If your children do not particularly care which costume they get, you have free reign to find a good deal you know they would like.

If Junior is desperate to be a superhero, begin searching earlier to find that more specific costume.

Also, Gymboree has the most adorable costumes for kids and they are excellent quality. If you can find a second hand deal on a Gymboree Halloween costume, snatch it up.

Purchase off-season

Full-price costumes in September and October can be reduced by up to 90% off the day after Halloween. I have scored ladybug and flower costumes for $3 for my niece (regularly $25 at The Children’s Place).

My husband has also had great luck buying costumes after Halloween at Walmart and Real Canadian Superstore. These included Buzz Light Year and a Clone Trooper for less than $5 each.

Clone Trooper Costume

Use more than once

If you pay $20 for a costume that is worn once, that is an expensive investment. However, if you pay $20 for a costume that gets passed down from child to child, and used in the dress up box for almost a decade – not such a bad deal. We have a Hulk costume that no kid can resist when they dress up at our house!

We have had a few theme parties that gave our kids and their guests a chance to dress up. We had a jungle party in October and our son got to wear his giraffe costume again. We offered to lend out a few extra animal costumes we had on hand so other moms didn’t have to scramble, too.

Jungle Party Costumes

Swap with a friend

Finished with a costume? Pass it along to a friend with a younger child. Or, shop for costumes with a friend so you each buy one costume and then trade after one Halloween, for the next year.

Create homemade Halloween costumes

This is probably my favorite way to “find” Halloween costumes that won’t break the bank. My childhood memories around Halloween center on the thrill of creating our own costume from items on hand.

Pinterest has now revolutionized internet searches for costume ideas. If you’re an all-out kind of person, start planning now!

Sell your costumes

You can make most of your money back on costumes if you’ve purchased them at a reasonable price and kept them in good condition. Market them as dress-up clothes, or sell them in September/October to get top dollar.

With October 31st fast approaching, there is no better time to start getting costume ideas. If we start early, we can avoid last-minute scrambling (my specialty). I hope these ideas help you find cheap Halloween costumes your kids will love.

There is absolutely no need to spend a ton of money on a costume that you are likely only going to wear once.

If you’re buying a costume for your child that you plan to use as a hand-me-down for future children, then you might want to spend a bit more for quality, but a Halloween costume should never cost you more than $30 (even less for young children).

How do you save money on Halloween costumes & accessories?


  1. SeriousSally

    Thrift stores are great for any accessories/costume parts as well if you’re making your own costume. You’ll always find cool retro stuff on the clothing racks and lots of sparkly shirts, jackets and pants for the tweens. Last year my son needed a white dress shirt which he was going to trash anyway with (fake) blood stains and he was able to find one at Value Village for $3.

    • Linda S

      I went to the thrift store last year and found a stripe shirt and black pants that I wore to be a pirate 🙂

  2. Linda S

    This year is not going to cost me a lot. Both girls wants to be princesses haha. We will just pick something from the dress up chess 😉 I will however figure out what I will wear. My oldest wants me to be a princess too lol I will look if some of those Maid of Honour dress still fits me and will add some bling to it. We usually dress up in the same theme. My husband will be a prince (again my oldest idea). He will wear a suit that he already have.

  3. Laura

    Homesense also has some AMAZING costumes for reasonable prices. The costumes were comparable to the really high end ones that my mom bought for my little ones that I’m sure cost her $50+ each. The ones in Homesense were $10-$25. Not cheap by any means, but they were stellar quality and design.

  4. Linda

    When I was a kid (I don’t have kids, so can’t talk of that) our mom told us we had to make our own costumes every year. One time, an acquaintance of my mom’s gave her these (really awful) curtains. My mom was going to throw them out, but I said I wanted them. I made my own princess costume and even had a tiara made up. I remember another time we were ‘hobos’ or such. Dad’s old clothes and a cork that has been burned with a flame to put ‘5 o’clock shadow’ on our faces. I am glad my mom made us make our own costumes. We were always more original than our friends and the memories can’t be beat.

    • Cassie Howard

      I agree, handmade costumes are the best!

  5. Christine Weadick

    When my kids were small I would make the costumes out of blanket fleece using a jogging suit pattern. I would go one size larger than they were wearing at that time so I could fit jackets and what ever was needed underneath to keep them warm while out. After we went out collecting I would wash the costumes and the kids wore them as jammies for the winter……They loved it!!!!! One year I had 3 dalmations out and about the streets. I made separate hoods and mittens too. Most of those costumes went to work with my daughter as she works at a daycare for the kids dress-up chest. Big hit!!!! And everything was/is washable!!!!!!

  6. Christa

    my sister just went to Value Village and pickedup some costumes, hats and accessories then we went to the dollar store and picked up some more hats and accessories. Her daughter and my granddaughter had a riot all day yesterday playing dressup.

  7. Shelly

    I get mine at thrift shops also cheaper 🙂

  8. Angela

    I like the clever ones you can make from things around the house.

  9. Linda

    When we were kids, we had to make our own. One time, as an adult, a friend and I rented a costume.

  10. Kris

    A few years ago, my husband snagged costumes for our then-toddler twins at Giant Tiger the day before Halloween…they were already marked down to like $5 each.
    This year, my 8 year old son spotted a really cool Marines Dress Blues uniform at Winners…it was only $7.99!!

    If we pay full price for a costume because one of our kids absolutely *has* to be a certain character or whatever, we put it in the dress up bin after Halloween is over too.

  11. SC

    Another important tip: talk to your kids about what THEY want to wear. No bigger waste of money than buying costumes without their input and they then refuse to wear.

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