Monday, October 27, 2008

It’s nearly Halloween – do you have your kids’ costumes ready?

In this week’s baby bargainista column, Jenny talks about Halloween costumes for little ones.

I have a confession. I find it almost painful spending a lot of money on Halloween costumes, especially for kids. Perhaps it’s a result of my upbringing; my mom sewed my costumes herself by adapting old clothes from her “scrap bag”, then after my brother was born and her time was shorter, she invited me to raid her closet and dress up as either a gypsy or a hippie. This was just fine with me and I would have been happy bringing up my little girl in the same low-key tradition.

But, I married into a family for whom Halloween is a major holiday, one of the tentpole events of the year. No expense is spared on décor, costumes, elaborate parties… They even buy different costumes every year for their cats as well as their kids. (I wish I were making this up.) When I suggested the hippie/gypsy option to my husband he recoiled in horror as if I’d just suggested we forgo gifts at Christmas.

So, I’ve learned to seek out inexpensive, yet impressive kids’ costumes. Happily, there are lots of sources, and the more last-minute your shopping, the better the bargains!

If your little ones aren’t too fussy about what they want to dress up as, and will be happy choosing from an assortment rather than seeking out a specific superhero or TV character, then I highly recommend a last-minute visit to Pottery Barn Kids. They offer a wide assortment of high-quality costumes, and the week before Halloween the prices are often slashed by half. Last year we picked up an elaborate dragon costume for our girl for $40, half the original price.

Another good option is Winners; the selection is a bit limited but the costumes available are generally very good quality (especially the adult ones, which come with their own zip-up garment bags) and you can’t beat the low prices. However, they only allow returns up until the 31st .

For a wider selection I recommend Wal-Mart – they have rows upon rows of costumes for adults and kids, plus accessories for DIYers. Be aware of sizes though – some of the costumes labeled size 2-4 are actually meant to fit a 1 or 2-year-old, and the adult costumes labeled “fits up to size 12” are snug on my size-4 sister-in-law. Also be aware that if anything doesn’t fit or suit, they also only allow returns up until the 31st.

As for me, I’ll be making my usual last-minute dash to Value Village. They have tons of Halloween costumes, both ready-made and ready to be built from what’s on offer. It’s amazing what you can cobble together from what’s on offer with no sewing required!

What about you -- any tips on where last-minute bargain-hunters can find Halloween inspiration?

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  1. Many stores all ready have their costumes 25% off! If you are not choosing on what to's a good time for shopping.

  2. Very true parentclub! This week I've seen a lot of promos for costumes at 25-50% off. May be a good strategy to stock up for next year... Hmmm... :)


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