Written by Theresa Waldrop
When you’re in the market for a Halloween costume, you want to spend just enough so that your kid is happy and the fabric lasts through a night of trick-or-treating. You don’t want to spend so much that you’re bummed when Tinkerbell ends up a crumpled ball at the bottom of the dress-up trunk.
So what’s the standard practice here in town? Will you spend weeks on a DIY number or will you hit the stores last minute and grab whatever is left on the racks? Or do you fall somewhere in between — repurposing the same Halloween costume for several years?
Americans planned to spend an average of almost $29 for a costume last year, up just about $2 from 2011, according to a survey by the National Retail Foundation. (In total, Americans were willing to spend about $80 total on the October celebration, including decorations and candy. Not to mention the $330 million that people are planning to spend this month on pet costumes.)
That $29 costume average looks pretty much the norm for this year, too. It’s hard to find anything for less than $15, but lots of pirates and princesses can be outfitted for less than $30 at big box retailers. For example, a pink Supergirl can be yours for $29.99. My Little Pony — which looks to be pretty popular this year – is priced at $22.49 in blue and $34.99 in pink.
One mom had this to say on a message board about Halloween costumes: "I think that the costumes my 8 yr old daughter is marking in the catalogs are pretty expensive ( the cheapest is $ 35 and many are $50+). We can afford it, but they seem like a waste for something she will only wear once. It seems to be the norm in her circle of friends. Am I being too frugal/rigid about this?"
Another mom suggested going to thrift stores or second-hand shops, where you can find costumes at steeply discounted prices.
Need to keep a tight budget string around the Halloween bag this year? Then follow these helpful tips to make your own costume.
TELL US: What’s the going rate for Halloween costumes here in town? Will you go DIY or big box store? And how much is too much when it comes to paying for a costume?About this series: As part of our Smart Spending reporting, Patch is profiling people across the country who have found creative ways to save money. If you're a smart spender, we want to hear from you! Share your story here.