Making Halloween fun for children doesn't have to cost a fortune. Here's some inexpensive options for great Halloween costumes.
Freecycle – If you aren't already part of a local Freecycle group (see my related article below on how to join and use Freecycle), there are generally dozens of offers and requests for Halloween costumes as the holiday approaches. If you are looking for a specific costume, just ask, and you may get lucky. Or an offer may come along that gives you a great idea you hadn't considered.
Thrift Stores – Local thrift stores put out racks of Halloween costumes and accessories starting anywhere from mid-September onward. Call around and find out where the thrift stores are in your area and when they will begin to display items, as the best costumes and costume pieces go quickly.
Organize a Costume Exchange – If your child attends school, is part of a homeschooling group, or if you are a part of any local organization with other parents, suggest a costume swap. Arrange a time and place (for a school, maybe a particular morning before or afterschool, or at a regular or special meeting or a group) where everyone brings old costumes. Swaps can be completely unstructured (the free-for-all method), can involve complex schemes for organizing selections, or anything in between.
Alter Regular Clothing – There are lots of costumes that can be made completely or largely from everyday clothing. If there are clothing items that you don't already have, those might be even more easy to find than costume items through Freecycle or at thrift stores. To jazz things up, add-on accessories like wings or headpieces can also be found in this way, or at local dollar or discount stores. For ideas on easy do-it-yourself costume ideas, see my article "Do-It-Yourself Children's Halloween Costumes" in related links below.
Wear a Uniform or Special Attire – For kids who are willing, Halloween is a great chance to highlight an activity they love and save the trouble and expense of finding or making a costume altogether. Soccer or other sport uniforms, ballet clothing (or past recital costumes), referee shirts, school uniforms (possibly from friend's schools), or suits or tuxedos or fancy dresses from weddings or other special occasions are just some examples of things that might already be in children's closets.
Be Creative – Remember Charlie Brown's classic ghost costume? There are lots of fun costumes that can be made from household items, big boxes or other inexpensive materials. There's some of these ideas too in my Do-It-Yourself article, linked below.
Halloween doesn't have to expensive to be fun. In fact, hunting down or creating your own costume can be much more satisfying for you and your child than simply picking out a costume and plunking down money at a register.
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