With prices of everything going up and belts needing to be tightened, the interest in bargain Halloween costumes is greater than ever. For most parties or events, an expensive, elaborate costume isn't necessary - you just want to look the part and fit in. Sometimes, with a bit of creativity, you can even pull a great costume together without spending a dime!
Shopping for Bargain Halloween Costumes
If it's a specific kids' costume you're looking for, such as a Disney princess or a comic book hero, your best bet for a bargain is searching for a secondhand pre-owned costume. Thanks to Internet sites like Craig's List and eBay, this is easier than ever. Chances are you can score a gently worn costume for half the retail price, if not less. Since your child is probably only going to wear the costume once or twice, it might still be in good enough condition that you can resell it yourself, making it even more of a deal.
You can also use the Internet to try to land a ready made costume for free. The community site Freecycle is an excellent source. Dedicated to keeping anything and everything out of landfills if it can possibly have a second life, users give away all kinds of goods. You can post a specific request on your list, and you might be surprised at what is out there.
The more traditional method of landing a bargain Halloween costume is to plan a year in advance. Both brick-and-mortar and online shops will sell leftover stock in November at rock-bottom prices. This method only works well if there's a costume you know you have to have and don't mind waiting a year to get to wear it. You can also try buying kids' costumes in larger sizes, on the assumption they'll grow into them, but you do run the risk of them being uninterested in the costume by the time Halloween rolls around.
Outside the Box Bargain Halloween Costumes
When the costume you have in mind is a bit more unique or inventive, you have to make or contrive it yourself. Of course, this can be a lot of fun. And you don't have to be able to sew. There are two time-honored traditions for hunting down bargain costume elements. One is to hit your local thrift shop. Here, with an open mind and a lot of patience, you should be able to find items to make up almost any costume - or give you a new idea altogether.
You can also keep an eye on your local theater company or community college. Many times they will need to unload costumes used for a show and will do so at rock-bottom prices. If you live in a major city where costumes are made for films, chances are there are some local shops where they sell the costumes at low prices. In this case, the bargain will sometimes be relative. If you have your heart set on a historically accurate Elizabethan costume in a rich fabric, you might be able to find one at half the price you'd pay if you went to a historic costume source, but it will still be comparatively expensive. However, if you are looking for a costume you will wear on many other occasions besides Halloween, this may work out in your favor.
The Ultimate Bargain
Since free is everyone's favorite price to pay, it's great when your bargain costume costs nothing but some thought. Many times, a great costume can be pulled together just by using what's already in your closet - or that of your friend, spouse or other family member. A gypsy or hippie costume can be easily contrived this way. Even fairy costumes can be made just with your own clothes and homemade wands or headpieces. Something you haven't worn in ages but can't bear to part with might lend itself to a whole new life - the ultimate in reuse!