Costumes can cost you, but have no fear

09/24/2013 8:00 AM

09/24/2013 8:55 AM

If I had it to do over again, maybe I would go into the Halloween costume business. I look at costumes with price tags of $30, $50 or more and think to myself, I could make that for less than 5 bucks.

Every year it seems kids’ costumes get more expensive, but also more creative. This year, instead of visiting the overpriced seasonal stores, I am going to “DI-myself” for Jack’s costume. There’s no reason you can’t do the same. If you have more than one kid, the savings will multiply.

My mom would certainly be proud. I remember her dressing me in a Little Miss Muffett outfit pieced together from a thrift store. One year my brother was an X-ray machine she created from a cardboard box. There were so many others, and some literally won awards. But Mom was probably more proud of the money she saved.

And the ideas are infinite. I’m still trying to decide for sure, but the leading idea is “Fix-It-Felix” from Wreck it Ralph. But you can probably guess where the inspiration came from. Yes, ladies, Pinterest

can blow your mind with clever costume ideas.

But it’s not the only source. Here is one of the gazillion others I found online.

Whether they’re “Real Simple” or not may depend on your sewing skills!

I’m sure a costume catalog or two has found its way to your mailbox. These can be good idea starters, too. Maybe an up-close look at the costume store is in order. Take pictures and bring your tape measure. There’s no shame in borrowing a stellar idea – especially if it means more dollars toward your emergency fund or your little ones college fund!

Once you nail down an idea, hit the thrift stores or somewhere like Savers

for all the components. Fabric and craft stores are great, too.

If DIY is not your thing, there is still hope! Children’s Orchard

has a pretty good selection of used/new costumes at great prices. Last year we bought Jack a bumblebee costume for $6. A new one would have been over $30.

If you must have a new costume, check out the sale inventories at a place like Spirit Halloween.

The prices are often a third of what you’ll pay at normal retail. Of course, there is always the hand-me-down option. Ask friends and relatives with older kids, and offer yours to those with younger ones.

Whatever you do, a great costume starts with a great idea. Start right now. Too many of us wait until the last minute, when it’s all too convenient to rush out and buy something off the rack. Our wallets and creativity pay the price.

Kat's Money Corner is posted on Dollars Sense every Tuesday. Kat Hnatyshyn, when not blogging or caring for her little one, is a manager with CommunityAmerica Credit Union. For more financial chatter, click


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