Halloween Costumes on the Thrift

Everything in this picture was done on the cheap. My husband’s tin man costume was $6 from a thrift store and kids’ costumes were off swap.

Halloween season is almost here! Between the pounds of candy and elaborate costumes, this holiday can take a toll on your bank account. Don’t let yourself be fooled into thinking you have to pay retail prices for your kids’ costumes — candy is expensive enough and buying used is frowned upon for some reason, so save your cash and buy your costumes on the thrift!

Try out some of these tips this Halloween season to save yourself some money!  I recommend starting to look for your costume as soon as possible so you aren’t down to the wire. Thrifting costumes can take a little extra time, so don’t wait until the last minute.

1. Use what you (or someone else!) has: I recently attended an event where I had to dress as a princess. I was not about to go buy a princess costume full price for two hours of wear. I remembered seeing a friend of mine wearing one in a picture on Facebook, so after messaging her, she graciously loaned it to me, and I was good to go! Money spent? Zero.

If your child wants to be a witch, ask around or post in a local mom’s group to see if anyone has one they would either loan or sell to you. If you have no luck there, start by looking through Pinterest or Google images at DIY witch costumes and rummage up what you can from things already in your house. Pinterest has so many great ideas and resources to create easy at-home ensembles for your kids (and you!)

2. Swap/Facebook Marketplace: Oh, how I love Facebook marketplace and local swap groups. So many gems to be found at great prices. Marketplace gives you the option to search by zipcode and keyword for what you’re looking for. Don’t find it today? Check back later. People list things all the time and you have to move quickly — good deals don’t last long. Local swap/buy sell trade groups are great, as well. Post an “ISO” (in search of) to see if anyone has what you’re looking for. When you go to meet the seller, keep in mind safe practices of meeting in a public place or bring your friend or spouse along.

3. Consignment Sales: These are going on like crazy right now in our area. You will find racks and racks of costumes looking for new homes at great prices. Try to shop as early as you can to get the best selection. If you are open to any costume, check out the half price days on the last day of the sale to score some serious deals. If there isn’t a sale going on at the time, check out Once Upon a Child or my personal favorite, Children’s Orchard in Olathe.  These are consignment stores open year round, but they carry Halloween costumes this time of the year.

4. Thrifting: Thrift stores are a blast, but you have to be in the mood to hunt. Get your caffeine, your list of what you are looking for, and go. I shop on half-price days that I find out about through following various stores on Facebook or through their e-mail lists. Thrift stores are an option to look for DIY costumes especially to find those specific pieces (i.e. a solid blue shirt). 

5. Dollar Store: People tend to forget about this diamond in the rough. A friend of mine did her boys’ costumes entirely from the Dollar Tree one year, and I was thoroughly impressed. I have seen wands, fairy wings, swords, marks, and more there. Go check it out, and see what dollar goodies you can find!

Halloween costumes do not have to be expensive. Sit down with your kids, hear them out on what they want to be (then start praying they don’t change their minds on October 30th), and come up with a plan of putting it together. Let them be creative and help you shop. Consider the money saved as a down payment on that good quality candy for you to share with trick or treaters (or to consume before Halloween night). No judgment. Happy thrifting!


Megan Coffey
Hi! I'm Megan, former teacher turned stay-at-home-but-never-home mom to Peyton, 7, and Gage, 4. I host the Kansas City MomCast podcast! I'm married to the most patient person on this earth, Chris, and we live in Overland Park with our kids, an insane lab, and two guinea pigs. You can find me over committing to everything, reading informational and self-help texts, listening to podcasts, organizing, spending time with friends over margaritas, thrifting, and staying up way too late to have peace and serenity. I love people and hearing their stories and look forward to connecting with KCMC readers!