retail me not: a thrifty Halloween


I’m having a hard time with how fast time is flying these days.  My oldest is in school all day, but my youngest son and I are keeping busy – there’s always playing at the park and coffee at my house or a friend’s place to keep us entertained.  I must say there is a lot of relief in being able to invite people over at the last minute without any thought of “is the house clean enough for company?”  When you go minimalist, there’s a lot less stuff lying around to make your home messy.  While we’ve been having fun with friends and keeping busy enjoying the gorgeous Fall weather, the Halloween season has crept up on us!

Finding a costume for my youngest was a bit of a stroke of luck a few weeks back.  I had made plans to go grocery shopping with a friend, but the universe had other plans – when we pulled up to the store and it was closed!  We circled around to their other store and found it was closed too.  Boo.  As we started to make our way back home, we passed a Value Village and as we noticed Halloween costumes hanging outside, my friend suggested we pull over and have a look.   Before I even got out of her car, I had spotted an adorable Halloween costume for my three year old.  We went inside and were thrilled with what we discovered – an awesome store filled with a ton of second-hand stuff in great condition.  I ended up buying a pair of jeans (that makes two pair in my closet!), a couple of fleece hoodies for my kids, two board games and the aforementioned Halloween costume.  Amazing.

Halloween costumes can get pretty pricey, and since they’re only worn for such a short period of time it seems a shame to make a big investment in them.  Here’s some strategies I’ve developed for honouring a more minimalist Halloween experience:

  • Buy Halloween costumes second-hand.  Whether you’re buying Halloween costumes for yourself or your kids, second-hand is the way to go.  Thrift stores and craigslist are great places to find gently used Halloween costumes.  Most costumes are only worn for a few short hours, so it is not too hard to find costumes that are in good condition that are second-hand.
  • Re-use Halloween costumes from previous years.  My oldest son will be wearing the same costume he wore last year, and he’s happy about that.  When I bought the costume, I bought it a size or two too big, so it still fits this year.
  • Re-sell or donate costumes you are finished with, or pass them on to friends who have younger children.  Craigslist is very popular in Vancouver and there are a ton of listings for Halloween costumes on there right now.  If re-selling isn’t your gig, thrift stores will always accept costumes that they will then re-sell to another lucky person who will enjoy wearing your old costume.  Another thing I like to do is pass things on to friends, and Halloween costumes would definitely be something that you could pass on.  However, I’m always sure to check with them in advance, as I don’t want to be burdening my friends if they don’t actually want hand-me-downs.
  • Consider making a dress-up chest for your kids to enjoy their pre-loved costume beyond October 31.  This is a great way to enjoy costumes beyond the actual day of Halloween.  Kids love dressing up, it is great imaginative play and will keep them busy for hours (literally).  Don’t be afraid to let them wear their old costumes again and again – before you know it, they will have outgrown them!
We have plans to attend a Halloween party with friends following some trick-or-treating in our neighbourhood.  Since we’re all sorted out in the costume department, I’m now looking forward to spending the evening making fun memories with my kids and hanging out with friends.

If you celebrate Halloween, have you found costumes for your family yet this year?  Will you be dressing up for Halloween?  How do you handle outgrown costumes?


2 responses »

  1. Erin, this is so relevant to my days! My 3 year old just changed his mind last minute and wants to be Spiderman instead of a construction guy. Probably half of his daycare group going to be Spiderman. Last year and this year I spent about $5-10 at a second hand store for my team costume at work, where it is a big deal with prizes and we have so much fun. So 2 days ago when I went hunting for my peices I also found a simple Spiderman costume that was $1.99 and it was 50% off. Now we only have to paint my son’s face and it is set.
    From past years I have kept some costumes and we have given away the baby sized stuff to friends.
    I would also suggest use what you have or make/create some of the accessories.

    • I totally agree about repurposing things you already have to accessorize costumes or reusing what you already have – a great idea for simplifying costumes, especially for the kids! What a great deal on the Spiderman costume, too!

      Good luck today, maybe you will win a prize for best costume? 🙂 Happy Halloween!

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