Halloween costumes can be frightfully expensive

September 19th, 2013 | by Amelia Hadley | Comments

kids-halloween-costumes-from-aldiSomewhere around Sept. 1, I start dreading Halloween. I love to see my kids so excited, and I can remember how much I enjoyed the holiday as a child, but it is a pain of a celebration.

There is a ridiculous amount of sugar, shenanigans in the neighborhood — there’s always that one kid who jumps out at us while trick-or-treating,  the one wearing a mask that looks like his face went through a meat grinder,  that gives my girls nightmares for a week — and somehow, even if it’s not part of their costume, they end up with make-up smeared on their faces. To top it all off, I have to come up with costumes for four kids that don’t add up to a car payment.

My annoyance with Oct. 31 means that Nov. 1 is my favorite day of the entire year. As a random side note, I feel like Halloween should be the last Saturday of October (teachers everywhere, applaud). On the first day of November you will find me happy, relaxed and stealing handfuls of Almond Joy and Butterfinger candy bars from my kids’ bags.

In all seriousness, it can be really difficult to come up with creative and inexpensive costume ideas. Kids often take costumes to school for end-of-the-day parties, so they also need to be easy to get on and off. If your kids are like mine, they’ll change their minds 105 times before deciding what they want to be. Costumes for tween girls (ages 9 to 12) can be the worst! Somehow everything from crayons to bumble bees to puppies have some component to warrant a “sexy” label on the packaging. Gross.

When my kids were little, I would buy them clothes that could double for costumes — black sweatpants and a sweatshirt, paired with a $2 mask and a handmade cape and  my 4-year-old son was Batman; a fancy Easter dress with a tiara and a plastic wand and my toddler daughter was a princess. Now that they’re older, this is becoming increasingly difficult. No matter how hard I try, I can’t get my 10-year-old to dress in a green shirt and green pants and call himself The Hulk.

There is still hope for parents trying to come up with inexpensive costumes for their kids.

Try a costume swap party. Have kids and parents over for a play date and ask everyone to bring costumes they’ve outgrown and swap them.

Check local thrift stores.

Utilize things your kids wear for sports or other extra-curricular activities — karate gi’s, leotards and tutus, football uniforms, etc.

Check Pinterest. (That’s my answer for everything).

Look around your house. Last year, I had a “nerd,” two pirates and a princess. I used items I found at home, and I didn’t spend more than $5 total. If you have jeans, a T-shirt and a bandanna, you have a cowboy/girl. If you find an apron and a whisk, you have a chef. Black tights, black shorts and a black shirt combined with whiskers drawn with a make-up pencil and your kid is actually a cat.

And when your child is adamant that he wants to be a jetliner for Halloween, don’t scream. Do the best you can, and on Nov. 1, bask in the fact that you have 364 days until you have to worry about it again.





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