Don’t Let Expensive Halloween Costumes Spook You

October 31 is a day where scary things, such as ghosts, vampires and mummies come to life. Those monsters can seem like nothing, however, next to the most frightening of all… the prices of Halloween costumes.

Just because you don’t want to spend a fortune to dress up your kids (or yourself!) doesn’t mean you need to settle for a white bed sheet with two cutout eyeholes.  There are many ways to don unique and creative costumes this holiday without overspending.

The best place to start is by looking in your own closet. Then look in your spouse’s closet. Then in your kids’ closets. Is there an old box of clothes nobody wears anymore? That’s the El Dorado of Halloween costumes. Keep an open mind and a sharp eye as you scour the house. It’s not “What is this piece of clothing?” but “What could it become?” that is important.

An old tweed jacket is no longer just an old tweed jacket. Pop the lenses out of some glasses, hike up some slacks, buy a can of cheap, white hair dye and it’s the foundation of an “old man” costume. A flannel shirt, paired with the right hat and some loose straw, could easily become a scarecrow. Another example hangs in the depths of a closet in nearly every house: the painfully bright Hawaiian floral shirt. Dad was channeling his inner Jimmy Buffet one vacation, bought the shirt, and never wore it again. Give it a second life by combining it with khaki shorts, high socks with sandals, a goofy hat and a fanny pack. Have some maps sticking out, hang a cheap disposable camera around your neck, and glob some sunscreen on your nose and you have an unmistakable tourist.

If you don’t have a fanny pack to complete your “tacky tourist” attire, somebody you know does. Ask!  You have suspenders and cheap glasses but you want a clip-on bow tie to finalize your transformation to Halloween nerd? There’s a good chance your neighbor has one. Don’t be afraid to call someone. Chances are, you can return the favor.

Conversation-starting and attention-grabbing costumes don’t require money. They only need creativity and time.  Borrow a suit, spend a few crafty hours of paper-mache work and your child will surely be the only “Jack” from Jack in the Box at school. Spray paint, markers, scissors and one afternoon could turn a cardboard box into a Wall-E costume. The puzzle pieces are probably spread throughout your house. Put them together and see what they make.

The most important tool in saving money on Halloween costumes is to look at what’s in front of you through a different lens. Whether it’s an idea that’s never been done before or you’re putting a twist on a classic, make the outfit original and unique. It takes imagination, not money. Not only will you save your wallet by making your own outfit, you are sure to avoid the awkward moment of running into your Halloween twin. If you have some creative and cheap costume ideas, share them below!

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