How To Create Inexpensive Halloween Costumes for Kids

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With the recent economic downturn in the economy, many families are tightening their belts and budgets.  Although you may need to spend less on your holiday budget this Halloween, there is no reason why you still can’t have fun!  It is possible to create inexpensive Halloween costumes for your children even if you can’t sew!


In our neighborhood, children 12 and under are allowed to trick-or-treat.  In years past, I had allowed all of my children to dress up for the holiday whether they were trick-or-treating or not.  This year, I told my older two that we wouldn’t be purchasing costumes for them.  However, they could still escort the rest of the family around in festive attire.

We found holiday socks for them at The Dollar Store for $1 a pair.  Also available were Halloween headbands and makeup kits also for $1.  I purchased Halloween ear rings for them-on sale-at the mall.  Walmart had inexpensive holiday t-shirts which I purchased as well.  All together, the entire ensemble cost me around $15 for both of them.  They are most happy and so am I!

My youngest daughter wanted to dress up as a rock star.  I’ll let you guess which Disney rock star she wanted to be!  When we went shopping, I found that the “Hannah Montana” costume looked incredibly tacky.  The cloth was thin and it was basically just a short dress with “Hannah Montana” written on it.  The price tag was $30.

I went to the clothing department and found that “Hannah Montana” shirts were on sale for $9.  One shirt actually had a sparkly fabric boa with the shirt.  I also bought her a pair of pink leopard pants.  All we need to add is the blonde wig, a little makeup, and we have that rock star look!  Not only was the whole outfit inexpensive, but my daughter can re-use the shirt and the pants after the holiday.

My third daughter wants to be a cheerleader.  She wanted to be a “High School Musical Cheerleader” no less.  The costume cost?  Almost $40!  I negotiated with her until I got her to admit that she would really be willing to accept the generic cheerleader costume.  She already has a white turtleneck shirt.  We purchased pom poms from The Dollar Store during my last trip.  My older daughter participated in a cheering squad for handicapped children several summers ago, and we’ll be reusing her skirt.  Even though I don’t sew, I am sure that I can alter the skirt to fit my younger child for a few hours on Halloween.  Safety pins are to a woman what duct tape is to a man I suppose.

My son is dressing up as a knight.  I bought him a black sweat shirt and sweat pants which will create the base of the outfit.  At The Dollar Store, I found swords, shields, and helmets which will compliment his outfit perfectly!  Again, I can use the sweat outfit after the holiday which makes it and even better bargain.

Using a sweatshirt and sweatpants as a starting point, you can create lots of costumes for little kids!  By adding black dots to a white sweat outfit, you can make your child a Dalmation!  Use your imagination and see what other inexpensive costumes you can create.

It is less stressful to be able to go shopping and buy the costume you want at the store.  But sometimes, we have to “make do” with what we have.  Doing this with a cheerful attitude is one of the best lessons that any parent can teach their children.  Although my children really wanted to be able to buy the expensive Halloween costumes that were their first choices, they have eventually come to accept the reality of what economizing will mean. As we began to brainstorm and shop for their costume pieces, they actually began to enjoy the whole process much more than they ever enjoyed going to a party store to pick out the store bought outfits we had purchased in years past.

It is with a great sigh of relief that I can finally announce-we are ready for Halloween! Yes!


My family has always made our own costumes. It’s one of the things the kids always look forward to. My oldest, who is 18 and in college now told me she’s going to miss going through my costume bins this year. It’s amazing what things we do with our children that ends up being most important to them.

Michelle says:

Thanks for the comment! I agree, it’s amazing what the kids end up remembering most fondly, and it’s usually the “small” things.

I wish your daughter well in college!

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