Financial Advice

How to Hold a Halloween Costume Swap Party

Could a Halloween costume swap save you some money? With Halloween looming, thoughts turn to celebrating this fun night with candy, decorations, and, of course, costumes. For retailers, this holiday is fast becoming one of the biggest money-makers of the year with a staggering 7.4 billion dollars spent last year, according to theNational Retail Federation.

Another amazing fact is that 2.8 billion dollars was spent just on costumes in 2014. Of that amount, Americans spent 350 million dollars on pet costumes! All it takes is a stroll down an aisle or two of your local big box store or one of the Halloween specialty stores that spring up like mushrooms to realize that costumes have gotten more expensive. Short of spending big bucks, what’s a person to do?

People are turning to their creative side to save money this Halloween. According to the 2014 survey, 34% will go online for costume inspiration, while 33% rely on retail stores for ideas. Pinterest is earning more traffic, with 11% clicking here for costumes to copy.

How would you like to get your costume for free? No, I’m not talking about putting a mask on and stealing one. Instead, I’m talking about a costume swap! For years, when our children were younger, we got together with our neighbors who had children the same age and swapped costumes. (Two of them were born on the same day!)

This works great for adults, too. Who wants to spend $30 or $60 on a pregnant zombie costume when your good friend went as that last year? She can use your prom dress from 1986 and go as a dead 80s prom queen. Everyone saves money and might even win a prize for the best costume at a Halloween party.

Organizing a costume swap is easy. Just get everyone together who has kids around the same age. Round up as many families as possible. Bring all your gently used store-bought costumes or great accessories to make some. Make sure everything is safe, like masks that fit properly and fire-retardant fabric. Also, make sure they are warm enough for the weather. Add reflective tape to the backs of costumes for easier visibility, especially to dark or black costumes.

Your costume swap can be a pre-Halloween party with spooky snacks and fun music. You might even have a selection of scary movies for the kids to enjoy once they’ve picked out their costumes.

Another great place to scare up a great costume for mere pennies on the dollar is thrift stores. Some even cater to Halloween, like Savers, with clerks that can help you put together that great look for a lot less.

So save your green and forgo the expensive costumes you see at the store. All you need is a little imagination and a fun costume swap with friends to score spooky savings this Halloween. Happy haunting!

Shaunna Privrasky is an expert in personal finance. Between writing, reading and gardening, she is always on the lookout for bargains. Please sign up for her free newsletters at The Discount Diva. She also frequently writes for Visit today for more tricks that will treat your wallet right.

This article by Shaunna Privratsky first appeared on The Dollar Stretcher and was distributed by the Personal Finance Syndication Network.