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Halloween Costumes for Cheap/Free


This is NOT a “how to” because I am probably one of the least crafty people in the world so I am unlikely to do a pinterest-worthy make-your-own tutorial. Instead, I just wanted to give my experience and share how I’m handling the Halloween costume issue this year.

I’ve been thinking a lot about Halloween this year. And by “thinking” I mean dreading.

Don’t get me wrong. I love the holiday and, especially after having kids, it has taken on so much more meaning and become so much more fun! I have incredible memories of last year’s Halloween! We invited friends over, had the kids dress up (just at home – they were only 16 months old at the time so we didn’t go trick-or-treating since they didn’t eat candy) and spent the night handing out candy and hanging out with our buddies. A good, low-key night!

This year is different.

First, I’m on this big debt-reduction mission.

I’ve been feeling a lot of anxiety and stress over the extra money being spent this month (for my friend’s wedding) coupled with the upcoming holiday expenses and the fact that our monthly income went from nearly $10,000 way back down to only just above $6,000 (side note….not looking great to break that figure for this month either). We’re used to living on about $5500 so its not an issue in terms of survival, but its definitely changing my projected debt pay-off dates and just feels a little “meh” after coming off the “high” of those few months where we were able to put $4,000 and $5,000 toward debt. Not so much anymore.

Plus there are some other financial concerns. It looks like I’m going to need to buy a couple of business outfits for an upcoming interview so I’ll need to set money aside for that, and – I never mentioned this – but remember my friend whose getting married? Her wedding is on Halloween (nontraditional, yes, but the venue was much cheaper that way).

So, all in all, I am just feeling a bit lackluster about this year’s Halloween. I still want to celebrate to the extent that I am able (given that I’ll be at a wedding on Halloween night instead of with my kiddos), but I definitely do NOT want to spend $50 on costumes for the girls to wear for a single night (costumes are crazy over-priced!!!).

I’ve been stewing over this issue for weeks and had not come to any sort of solution that I was happy with.

Then, totally unrelated to Halloween, I started cleaning out our closets. I’ve been inspired by Hope’s recent purge and have decided that we need to get rid of a LOT of stuff. I’d done a mini-purge a few months ago (remember when I wrote about selling stuff in facebook groups?), but I had underestimated the amount of JUNK that we still have lying around.

In my efforts to purge I came across a box of old toddler clothes and I started going through it to sort into piles for resale shop and donate. Guess what I come across – their ladybug costumes from last year!

Remember, last year they were 16 months old and the costumes were size 18 months. Even though the girls are now 28 months old I’m looking at the costumes and thinking, “these are basically shapeless bags…they’ll still fit, right???” I call the girls over and zip on the outer part of the ladybug costume. They zip right up and fit like a champ. What’s better is the girls now KNOW what a ladybug is so they are all excited, running around and shrieking, “LADYBUG! LADYBUG! LADYBUG!”


It’s settled. We’ll be ladybugs again!

In the box of clothes I even found the tights that came with the costume (black tights with red built-in footies), so the only thing missing is a solid black long-sleeve undershirt.

I threw the girls in the car (took them out of the costumes first), put the rest of the old toddler clothes in the car, and headed to the thrift shop. I found 2 long sleeve black shirts there and, after buying some of my clothes, I was able to purchase the 2 shirts using trade-in credit and not spending a dime out of pocket (plus I still have a couple bucks credit).

I’d call that a win any day!

I’m still a little bummed I’ll be missing Halloween this year. It would be their first year to actually go door-to-door. But we’ll have plenty of years ahead. Plus, our neighborhood is doing a free Harvest Festival this weekend and have advertised that they’ll be doing costume prizes! I think we may dress the girls up for the festival so I have a chance to get some pictures with them and spend some time together while they’re in costume. We’ll still have fun and they’ll never know it’s not Halloween.

What are you doing this year for Halloween? How do you keep the cost down for costumes?


Texan at heart; Arizonan on paper. Lover of running, cheese, camping, and family (fur-family included!). Blogger, motivated to get out of debt YESTERDAY! Follow along with my journey!

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  • Reply debtor |


    If you hadn’t found this, I would have totally said don’t stress. Kids are easy to please – the fancy stuff is for the parents instagram/fbook accounts so their friends can say “awwwwww”.

    Some face paint, a dollar store tiara and some body glitter – tell the girls they are fairies and they will be delighted! Might not get 300 likes on facebook but I think that’s good experience breaking away from that mindset.

  • Reply Den |

    WIN! And stay away from pinterest – that site always makes me feel inferior:) Although I do get good ideas there too, but you have to be realistic!

  • Reply Theresa |

    You might want to consider heading to Target on Nov. 1 to pick up some costumes for next year on clearance.

  • Reply Juhli |

    Great costumes and they are enjoying wearing them which is the most important thing! My younger son refused to wear costumes once he was about 5 and instead would wear his soccer of baseball uniform. That made it easy but was a very funny personality quirk.

So, what do you think ?