Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Halloween? Yes, Halloween!

We carved our 2011 pumpkin in the dark by candlelight!
Big Girl designs; hubby is the holder of the carving knife...
Halloween is less than two months away, and now is the time to start planning costumes for the kids. We all know that this holiday can break the bank when it comes to shopping for those costumes. New costumes can range from $20 to $50, on average, so it pays to try to find a way to save on this special "outfit" which is worn only once!

We've run the gamut of homemade to store-bought costumes in this house, so I decided to put my expertise into a new article for Yahoo Voices! contribute network, which was recently published. You can read all about saving money on Halloween costumes at this link.

Last year, our Halloween celebrations were squashed by the October ice storm here in the Northeast. We lost power and Halloween trick-or-treating was actually canceled by the local authorities. I was glad that I did not spend much on the twins' costumes because we didn't even know if they would wear them at one point during that long week. Big Girl luckily had her school party the week before the holiday, but Halloween week was basically a crisis point in our community; school was canceled and many people were living in emergency shelters. Our Halloween was celebrated in the dark, covered in blankets, because we had no heat and no electricity.

My kids during the one time they wore their costumes in 2011 --
at a campaign event in November for my father (he's involved in local politics).
The lady is Linda McMahon, who is running for the U.S. Senate in CT.
The event gave local kids a chance to "trick-or-treat" in their costumes.
Saving money on Halloween is a priority now, especially with three kids to dress. Last year, Big Girl wanted to be Hermione from "Harry Potter." I bought the Hogwarts robe, but not all the other gear. (She did wear a white shirt and black pants under it for her school party, unlike the photo above.) By not buying the entire Potter get-up, I saved some money. And ordered online, early, with a coupon to save some dollars on her robe. (It might get reused or repurposed by one of the little ones.)

Since the twins are too young to care about what they are wearing, I have put my selfish feelings of wanting to dress them in expensive, adorable costumes aside for the sake of saving money. It's only one night, right? Last year, Bunny Twin was a ladybug, wearing Big Girl's hand-me-down costume. Buddy Twin was a dragon, wearing a special Carter's pant-and-hoodie set my mom found at Costco pretty affordably. And he wore the pants from that outfit (which were a warm fleece) all winter long, stretching our dollars. (And although this above picture doesn't do justice, they still looked really cute!)

Twins on their first Halloween, 2010.
Simple coordinating monster shirt/pant sets from Target 

(and they wore them again later a few times)
with little hats -- Buddy Twin's is the "top" 

of Big Girl's pumpkin sleeper from her infant days;
Bunny Twin's witch hat is a headband she can still wear now! 
Once Big Girl is back in school (yesterday was her first day! sniff!) I know it's time to really start thinking about Halloween. I know the twins likely won't keep an elaborate costume and accessories on their bodies, so it has to be practical. I have put the seed in Big Girl's head to start deciding what she will be, so we can shop early again or create something.

Do you plan Halloween costumes early? 
Do you shop secondhand, make your own costumes, 
buy brand-new or use hand-me-downs? 
Share your knowledge in the comments.


  1. I am lucky when it comes to costumes Ben usually wears one of his already owned uniforms (he's been a boy schout, baseball player and now football player)and for Sam we hit the thrift stores and see what we can find. This year we get a little milage out of her her way over priced cheer unifor since she wants to be a cheerleader for Halloween. I totally agree that it is never too early to start planning. Nothing worse (or more expensive) than trying to pull something together last minute :0)

  2. Laurie Anne, so true re: last minute -- spend too much when you are under the gun! Great idea about repurposing uniforms!