Spook-tacular Ideas for DIY Halloween Costumes that aren’t frightfully expensive

With three kids under the age of 10 at our house, there is a lot of anticipation for Halloween every year, and let’s face it, a little dread about the potential cost of costumes.

Thankfully, there are ways we get the kids on board the DIY Halloween costumes bandwagon, saving a little money and having fun:

  • Dollar and thrift stores. As Halloween approaches, a thrift store like Value Village or a Dollar Store is where we head for last-minute deals. For my 8-year-old’s Monster High costume, she found everything in her own closet but a pink wig and legwarmers. Both items, new, cost less than $6.00 total at my local thrift store, and will be saved for other costumes down the road.
  • Look in the Tickle Trunk. Speaking of saving, our favourite way to stretch every dollar spent on costumes is to use them all year long. My kids play-time costume bin now rivals Mr. Dress Up’s and is filled with old and hand-me-down costumes, random garage sale finds and accessories that would have otherwise been donated. This is where my 3-year-old found her butterfly costume of hand-painted wings (saved from a school play) and antennae we made together from an old headband and pipe cleaners: for a cost of … nothing!
  • Yard and garage sales. On summer weekends, we take coffees to go and give our kids a twoonie each to hunt and bargain for costumes on their own. Our garage sale find of the year: a $2.00 Transformer’s Helmet for my 6-year-old son. Adding a rolled up camping-mat-turned-laser-gun from our basement, and we are ready to trick-or-treat.

For a grant total of $8.00 and the little time we invested, Halloween is a whole lot happier at our house now that the price tag for costumes is far from scary.

Butterfly 1Draculaura (2)Transformer (2)









Images Left to Right:  Butterfly costume for my 3 year old $0, Monster High costume for my 8 year old $6.00, and Bumblebee Transformer costumer for my 6 year old $2.00


Carmen Kinniburgh

Carmen Kinniburgh is a freelance writer and editor exploring topics and ideas about parenting and families, Canadian science and research, health and medicine, as well as travel and lifestyle. Born and raised in Alberta, Carmen has also lived in Southern Ontario and Manitoba, where she worked in professional communications for a university and a national health charity. Currently living in Thunder Bay, Ontario, she gets all her best ideas and insights for Parentwise from her own three delightfully precocious children.

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