Halloween strikes a fearful chord in a frugal mom’s heart. Yet another holiday is here, where mothers can spend lots of money, buying their children costumes that they will wear only once for just a few hours. Isn’t it sad how much money we all waste for such occasions?
Even though you think you have to run out and buy that pricey costume, there are many great and inexpensive alternatives that you can do in lieu of an expensive costume. Here are a few tips for saving cash on all of your Halloween finery, while still looking like you spent a scary amount of cash:
If you plan to have more than one child, try picking gender-neutral costumes that all of your children can wear. This will save your family a lot of money, and you can guarantee that the costume will be used more than once.
- Trading costumes with other families can save you a lot of money. Get a group of friends together and have everyone bring their costumes from the past years, and then allow the trading to begin! Make sure to place your name somewhere on the inside so it can be returned to you when the holiday is over. I have had many great exchanges with moms and this has helped save us a lot of money. Not only that, but we get a cool “new” costume every year.
- If you are crafty, try sewing a costume this year. I was not blessed with a crafty gene, but there are many patterns out there that require minimal or no sewing skills at all. Check out the Family Fun website or the Martha Stewart website to come up with some unique costume ideas that are frugal and creative.
- If you have a crafty family member, ask if they can help you make a costume this year or see if they would be willing to just sew one for you. I might not have the sewing gene, but my mother-in-law does and she has supplied some of our son’s best costumes utilizing her amazing sewing skills. Make sure to take lots of pictures of your little one in their costume and send it along with a sweet thank you note from your child. It will make their day and yours too!
- Think back to your childhood and what costumes used to look like when we were children. Children were often ghosts (made out of sheets), cowboys (wearing a cowboy hat & bandana), and ballerinas (a tutu & leotard). I bet we never thought of our mothers as thrifty, but our moms had a knack for using the resources that they already had. Think of that when coming up with your child’s costume this year. Take a look around at what you already have and make that the costume. Does your daughter love to play dress-up? Use one of her dress-up dresses and add a tiara. Ta-da! Instant princess! Does your son run around with a firefighter hat on? Add a rain jacket and some boots and tell him he is a firefighter this year. There are probably many items in your home that you can use in creative ways, without spending a dime.
- Buy your costumes used at thrift stores or on online auction sites. These costumes can cost half the price or less. Make sure that you start looking sooner rather than later. The good costumes tend to go quickly so call around to the local thrift stores and find out when they will begin putting out their Halloween costumes. Try to make it over to these stores the week that these come out so that you can have the most selection to choose from.
- If you do buy your costume at regular price, make sure to hang it and keep it in good condition. Next year you can sell the costume to one of the consignment shops or list the items on an auction site like eBay.
- If you are buying a costume, try to incorporate items that can be used again. The leotard and tights for a ballerina, for example, could later be used for the child’s dance class. Likewise, you could reuse a black turtleneck and pants throughout the year, when creating your son’s ninja costume. Do your best to reuse the items and you will find that your costume dollars will go a lot further.
- Don’t forget to check your own wardrobe and items in your home as possible costumes. Maybe your daughter would love to be a chef? Offer to let her borrow a mixing bowl, a spoon and an apron. Younger children love to raid their parent’s closets so this is a perfect opportunity to use that to your advantage.
- Finally, realize that whatever you have planned for your child to wear, always have a backup plan. Preschoolers, in particular, change their minds frequently and they love to be in charge. Have a couple of choices, made from things around your house, and give them the choice when they day arrives. The day will go much smoother for you both if you are ready to meet their challenge creatively.
Whatever your child does decides to be this year, you can always incorporate some fun face paints into the mix. Here are a few recipes to create the spooky look that they have been dreaming of:
Halloween Face Paint
- 1 tsp. corn starch
- 1/2 tsp. cold cream
- 1/2 tsp. water
- Food coloring
- Small makeup brush
Stir starch and cold cream together until they are well blended. Add the water in and stir. Add food coloring and stir. Using the small brush, paint designs on your face, or get someone to help do the painting. Store in an airtight container. To remove, use soap and water.
Halloween Grease Paint
- 2 tsp. white shortening
- 5 tsp. cornstarch
- 1 tsp. white flour
- 2 or 3 drops glycerin
- Food coloring or cocoa for brown
Mix the ingredients in the given order and apply to the body.