Halloween can be a fun family time. But, with all the costumes, decorations, parties,
and candy giving, the costs add up, even if you are having an old fashioned Halloween.
My advice for Halloween is the same for any annual holiday – think ahead. Look for costumes and accessories all year long. Anything that you have to buy in a hurry will cost more. That being said, here are the 10 best places to go looking for Halloween items NOW.
- Yard sales – search on Craigslist for sales that include “costumes.” At this time of year, people advertise if they will be selling costumes. During the rest of the year, you can pick up outfits for a fraction of original cost. In October, you will most likely pay more, but you can still get great deals in people’s driveways. I know that some local theatre companies have costume sales during the year to raise money for their next production. Keep your eyes open for these listings.
- Freecycle – if you know the exact costume or size that you are looking for – ask. Freecycle is the very best free swap on the planet. Utilize it.
- Your friends and neighbors – similar to freecycle, you have to ask. You never know what people have stored. Even though most people only wear a Halloween costume once, they don’t immediately give it away. They just stay in the closet until a move or major clean out.
- People whose children are in dance recitals – these folks have tons of costumes that they paid a small fortune for. They may be willing to let you borrow or rent them. My mom lent out our old dance costumes to many of her friends. Those sequined outfits had long and happy lives.
- Thrift stores – right now, all of the second hand stores have racks of costumes in the front of their stores. All sorts of outfits at a very reasonable cost. I have found amazing handmade outfits at the Goodwill. Someone spent a lot of time and money making a Minnie Mouse outfit. I was glad that my daughter was able to wear it and I didn’t have to make it.
- Drug stores – CVS, Rite Aid, and Walgreens have extensive holiday merchandise that they put on deep discount as you approach the end of the season. If you catch it just right you will get up to 90% off. This is a good place to stock up for next year.
- Dollar stores – good place to get candy, glo sticks, decorations and flashlights.
- Prop house estate sales – just learned about this one. When a TV show gets cancelled, all of the set dressing get sold off. For those of you in the Los Angeles area, check out the weekend sales at 2911 Winona (near the airport) in Burbank.
- Your grandparent’s closet – hate to say it, but deep in the recesses of your relatives closets are antiques. I know that I still have one or two items from my 60’s hippy days.
- Seasonal Halloween stores – OK, if you MUST shop at one of the retail stores, then for goodness sakes use one of the zillion coupons that are in every newspaper and mailbox. Don’t you dare pay retail!
What did I miss? Is there another great place to get deeply discounted costumes?