Halloween Shouldn't Make Parents Go Broke

Jessie the cowgirlI used to think Christmas was an expensive holiday if you were a parent. But now that my kid is old enough to choose her own Halloween costume, I'm ready to wring my hands and cry like a baby.

I kid you not. I almost cried when my daughter informed me she wanted to be a cupcake for Halloween this year. Crazy, right? It's a cupcake. Compared to something out of Jersey Shore or True Blood, a Halloween costume can't get more kid-appropriate. But we have a perfectly good Princess Tiana costume upstairs and a new brake job on my car to pay for.

Halloween is just too darn spendy. But it doesn't have to be. Listen and learn.


money saving tricks halloween1. Take Part in a Costume Swap. OK, I'm calling this as total genius. A whole bunch of great green folks are trying to turn today, October 8, into an official Costume Swap Day nationwide, and I couldn't be more jazzed. You know how your kid wore that Iron Man costume once and then never again? That means it's in good enough shape to be used by someone else this year. And YOUR kid can now take their Incredible Hulk outfit. Who needs to spend money? Not you!

2. Raid the Dress Up Bin. The stuff they wear around the house when they're playing cops and robbers or princesses and pirates works perfectly well outside of the house. No extra money spent.

3. Recycle Into the Dress Up Bin. OK, so you have to shell out this year for a costume? Don't let it be a one-time use item. Put it INTO the dress-up bin, and each time Thomas the Tank Engine comes toot-tooting into the living room you can revel in what a smart spender you are.

4. Reuse the Old One. Ever noticed how parents think their kid needs a new costume every year? Now talk to the kids and ask them if they really care. You'd be surprised how many kids would be perfectly happy going as Spiderman for the next four years. I'm not saying you should force them into it, but all it takes is rephrasing the old "What do you want to be for Halloween this year" as "Hey, do you want to be X again this year?" Their answer might surprise you.

5. Craft It. Folks, this means a lot of different things. There are the Martha-types out there who will whip up the entire costume from scratch, and I doff my cap to them. I am not one of them. And yet, I have no problem pulling from last year's costume -- which I already spent money on -- to go toward another year's outfit. So she was Jessie the cowgirl last year? How about pretending she's in the rodeo this year so you can reuse the hat and chaps? "Crafty" can mean savvy, not just "good with glue and felt."

What do you do to save? Is Halloween a "spendy" holiday for you?


Image by Jeanne Sager

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