Look Studio/ShutterstockSee what you have on hand. Last years' Harry Potter cape can be re-purposed into a vampire cape with minimal effort. You have black clothes to wear underneath, so all you need are some fangs and face makeup. If you need inspiration, check out our best DIY Halloween costumes for kids. Many work for adults, too!
STUDIO GRAND OUEST/ShutterstockSwing by the local second-hand shop or Salvation Army to check out their selection of cheap Halloween costumes. Given that most Halloween costumes are worn once, you can often find options that are in decent shape. The formal wear section may have gowns, suits, and tuxedos, which can be used for a whole host of cheap Halloween costumes. If you prefer online, search "Halloween costumes" at an online consignment shop, like Swap.com or Facebook Marketplace. Amp up the spooky fun with these creepy, crawly Halloween crafts for kids.
Word of caution on buying used
Alexandra Tyukavina/ShutterstockNote that if you purchase something used, run it through a hot dryer to ward off any unwanted passengers, i.e. bedbugs. If there is faux fur on the costume, freeze the garment instead. The fur could melt in the dryer. Find out the secrets bed bugs don't want you to know.
Creative Lab/ShutterstockIf, after you've exhausted your DIY and previously-owned options and a few family members still need costumes, set some spending limits before heading to the store so everyone is aware of the parameters (and know to steer clear of the high-end section). And if they land on a costume that is well below their spending cap, they can "give" those extra funds to someone else whose costume may be more expensive, thereby teaching the lesson of generosity—a stretch for us all. Here's how to decorate a pumpkin without carving.
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Wait…if you can stand it
Marjan Apostolovic/ShutterstockThe prices for costumes and candy will decrease as the holiday approaches, but as the prices fall, the selection will thin. If a certain someone has their heart set on a specific character, i.e. Elsa from Frozen, you might want to snag that costume on the early side, as in, NOW. If you wait until a day or two before Halloween, the options could be limited to the less popular princesses. Same goes for candy. You may not be able to find that big bag of pumpkin-shaped Reese's Peanut Butter Cups so close to Halloween, but the Smarties will be 50 to 75 percent off. (Just be sure to steer clear of these six worst Halloween candies on the market.) FYI, the very best time to buy Halloween costumes is the day or two after Halloween. If you're a planner, buy next years' costume at a rock bottom price and store it away for 2018.
Champiofoto/ShutterstockBefore you decide where to shop, look for where the sales are. Currently, Spirit Halloween is offering 20 percent off $50 or more in-store, and Party City and Halloween Express already have select costumes on clearance.
Save on sweets
Dan Kosmayer/ShutterstockAmazon is offering discounts on candy in the 25 to 30 percent off range when you order with Alexa. If you own an Alexa-enabled device, say, "Alexa, what are your Halloween deals?" to get the scoop on savings. If you expect to give out–or eat–a lot of candy, bulk Halloween candy can be a big money saver. We found Halloween favorites, like M&M's Fun Size and Twizzlers, on Boxed.com, a fee-free online wholesale club, priced between 10 to 50 percent off. Or, use your Sams Club, BJ's, or Costco memberships to save a bundle on Halloween candy. Find out the most popular Halloween candies by state.
Rena Schild/ShutterstockIf you plan to deck out your home in gory glory, décor is discounted up to 60 percent off at Oriental Trading and up to 80 percent off plus an extra 10 percent off at Rose Wholesale.
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Save even more
Ollyy/ShutterstockTo maximize your savings, check coupon sites, like Slickdeals.net, for Halloween-related deals, earn cash back while you shop online by installing a browser extension, like the Swagbucks Swagbutton, and shop with discounted gift cards from a site like GiftCardGranny.com. Happy Haunting!