Some love Halloween, and then some are more like me. I dread this day of the year and leave things until the last minute. I don’t dread the concept or even the loads of candy that come along with October 31st. What scares me most about Halloween is trying to settle on a costume with my daughter. Can anyone else relate to this? If so, here are few ideas on how to come up with a perfect outfit for your child that won’t haunt your bank account.

Start with What You Have

If your house looks anything like mine, you likely have some pretend play outfits. Shop this rack first for Halloween costume ideas. Perhaps there is a costume just waiting for your little one at home already. Pull a few things off of the shelf and hide them away in the days leading up to Halloween. Have them magically reappear a day or two before the big day to see how your child reacts. Suddenly, something old can feel brand new again.

Is there a storybook or movie character in the dress-up bin that is popular at the moment? I can see another round of Elsa, Anna, and Olaf coming this year. If you have your kids at home doing school virtually, you can tie Halloween into a Career Day or Community Helpers lesson. Encourage a costume utilizing one of these themes along with items and clothes you already have at home. What could be better than knocking out a school assignment and a Halloween costume at the same time?

A quick online search can lead to many costume ideas that require nothing more than what currently exists in your craft drawer, junk bin, or any cabinet. Get crafty and creative utilizing what is at your fingertips to make costume design a fun activity for your child.

Consider an Exchange

Have you ever been invited to a clothing swap? What a great concept we can also apply to Halloween. Has your child begged recently for a particular costume or outfit because they played with one at a friend’s house? What a perfect time to ask to borrow or trade a costume with another family or child.

Is anyone in your neighborhood getting ready to PCS? The PCS purge of one family might contain some great costumes and dress-up clothes for another. Are there teachers in your area working from home who have pretend play items sitting around the house? Consider asking to borrow an item for Halloween, promise to keep it in good condition, and return it promptly.

Utilize Military Discounts

Are you aware of how many great military discounts exist at several retailers who sell Halloween costumes? Old Navy, Pottery Barn Kids, Michaels, and Party City all offer military discounts. See our list of Halloween additional military discounts here. Whether you hope to buy directly off the rack or make a do-it-yourself costume, utilize a military-friendly deal to make it more budget-friendly. This year, especially, we can all use the extra savings.

If you like to think ahead, utilize a military discount plus the after Halloween sales to buy a costume for next year. Better to buy too big than too small and then alter the costume later as needed. A little extra planning and budgeting this year can help put you in a great position to face Halloween next year.

We all have more stress than we need right now in our lives. Let’s remove some of the upcoming holiday stress by making Halloween easy on ourselves and our budgets. Halloween can be spooky, scary, and dreadful in all the fun ways for our children, without having to be frightening for your wallet. Wishing you and your little ones a safe and happy Halloween no matter what form it takes in your community this year.



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Sarah Ortiz Benson is a seasoned military spouse and freelance writer with a background in sales, marketing, and nursing. Her passion is writing about current events and issues affecting military spouses and their families.

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