4 Ways to Create Memorable Halloween Costumes for Less

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The only thing spookier than witches running amok is how much it can cost to dress as one. Check out a few ways to stick to an affordable costume budget. 

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Halloween can feel like the unofficial kickoff to the holiday season. It opens the floodgates to all sorts of seasonal indulgences, from sweets to parties to special outfits. And oh, the spending! It’s hard not to give your credit card a workout this time of year.

You may be looking for ways to keep your personal finances in check this season, and one place to look is your costume budget. In 2022, the average cost of a Halloween costume for adults was $50, and only a bit less for kids at $30. That’s a lot to spend for one night of spookiness, especially if your whole family is dressing up.

While it’s always fun to get creative on Oct. 31, you’ll feel a lot better about your savings account balance heading into the holidays if you cut your costume costs way down. Here are a few suggestions for doing just that.

1. Go thrifting

I’m a fan of shopping secondhand year-round, but it can also be a great way to find a Halloween costume without paying ghoulish prices. Maybe you already have an idea in mind of what you want to wear, or maybe you’re a blank slate looking for inspiration. Either way, hitting up the thrift stores in your area should provide plenty of options for Halloween night.

Some outfits I’ve worn myself or seen others rock on Halloween that came from secondhand stores include:

Straw hat, striped shirt, and red scarf for a gondolierNeon ski suit from the 80sPoodle skirt and saddle shoes

2. Look outside

Granted, this one’s potentially a little more limited, but there’s also a good chance it will be free. If you’re looking for a simpler or more tongue-in-cheek costume idea, take a walk outside and see if inspiration strikes.

You could pick a bouquet of wildflowers to braid into your hair, wear a floaty blue-green dress, and call yourself Mother Earth. Or you could collect some colorful fall foliage to adhere to a shirt and carry a rake around. Boom — pile of leaves! I even had a family member who once attached the greens from a bunch of carrots to a headband and went out as a carrot top. And, of course, there’s the classic carved pumpkin head.

What I’m saying is, nature always provides…even if it’s a silly costume.

3. Shop someone else’s closet

If you’re looking for something a little more conventional, ask around with your friends or family to see if they have any costumes from previous years that you could borrow. It’s a great way to get a little more life out of what’s often a one-use item.

This can also be a nice option for finding costumes for little ones, particularly if they’re still too young to have an opinion about what they want to wear. There may be families in your circle with older kids who would be happy to supply you with a hand-me-down costume.

4. Get crafty

If you have a little skill and an eye for design, you could probably whip up a great Halloween costume for a lot less than what you’d pay at the store. Source some ideas online, then take yourself to the fabric shop and see what you can bring home. Or buy some face paint to give yourself a whole new look.

Even better, you can use a rewards credit card to pay for your purchase to make it even more affordable. Doing so means you can earn points or cash back while you shop and keep more money in your pocket.

No matter what age you are, Halloween can be a lot of fun, but the costs can add up quickly. By saving money on your Halloween costume, you can feel more confident that your finances are in a good place as we fly toward the end of the year.

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