If you're on a tight budget and want to save money on Halloween costumes or if you just like being creative and making things yourself, it's important to start early in your search. The following helpful hints on how and where to find potential costumes and materials should help save you some money and make your kids happy to participate in this creative process.

Things You Will Need

Time to search for costume pieces--start at least 2 weeks before Halloween.


Step 1

First, ask your children to make a list of 3 potential characters or costumes they would like to be or wear this year. Try to get them to agree to accept any of the 3 they've chosen as it might be easier to find one over the others.

Step 2

French Chef made with Apron,Chef's Hat,White Dress Shirt,Black Pants,Eyebrows + Moustache Applied with Eyeliner Pencil, Large Pot Holds Candy

Analyze their list and start by searching your family's closets for pieces of clothing that would work with the chosen costumes. We found all of the pieces to make this fun French Chef costume in our kitchen and closets. Don't forget about props like the spaghetti pot my son used to hold the candy he collected from the neighbors. Remember you can always safety pin or stitch something to make it fit better so don't let the size hinder you in your search for clothing pieces to wear.

Step 3

Black Vampiress Dress $3 in Thrift Store

If you've exhausted your own closets and still haven't found the perfect pieces, next on your list would be thrift stores. Some thrift stores sell costumes very cheap and they also have tons of everyday clothing that can be turned into costumes for just a few dollars. This black vampire dress was only $3 at a local thrift store. Visit some local thrift stores and see what fits your costume request.

Step 4

Ebay is also a great resource for finding new and used costumes at a discounted price. Search the auctions for the name of the costume your child wants or search for individual pieces of clothing that will work for your costume...like black cape, or pirate boots, etc.

Step 5

Don't forget your neighborhood yardsales. There should be plenty of local sales this time of year so check your newspapers and watch for sale signs springing up on street corners and front lawns. Focus on neighborhoods that have a younger population of families with kids.

Step 6

Consignment shops and sales are also a great place to find kids costumes at a deep discount so be on the lookout for resale stores and seasonal kids consignment sales that are held at local churches, flea markets, auditoriums etc. Use this ‚‚ list of nationwide consignment sales to search for sales near you.

Step 7

Try FreeCycle and Ecycle groups for totally free costumes. Search Yahoo groups for your local Freecycle/Ecycle group list and post a "Wanted" request. If someone has the item you are looking for they will contact you to make arrangements for picking up. These sites bring together people who need items with those that want to de-clutter. The concept here is to keep things out of the landfill by passing on to others in need.

Step 8

If all else fails and you feel that purchasing something new is your only option, shop around online and watch the local sale papers. Party stores often run coupons in their flyers that could save you money and online merchants may offer specials as well. If you started your search early enough and still have at least 1-2 weeks before Halloween you should be able to order something and get it shipped in time. Ebates lists 8 merchants that sell costumes and gives back from 3%-8% rebates on your purchases. Another great Costume Site that offers a "lowest price guarantee" is Costume Discounters.

Step 9

Looks Yummy!

Don't forget about those after Halloween sales! You can find costumes, makeup, wigs and accessories for at least 50-75% off online and in stores like Wal-mart, CVS, Walgreens etc. Pick up some fun things at rock bottom prices and store away for future dress up opportunities. Surprise your kids the following Halloween with a great inventory of costume items to choose from.

Use all these options for putting together some fun and fabulous costumes that your kids will remember for years to come. Take lots of pictures and enjoy the day!

Tips & Warnings

Use your imagination! That puffy white blouse you never wear would be perfect for a pirate costume. Or the black drapes you have packed away in storage and will never hang again could easily be turned into a vampire cape.

Let the kids help with ideas and hands on projects when making the costumes. They will feel great pride when it's time to wear their creations.