Skip to Content
Girls in trick or treat costumes leaving house

October is not just about getting that pumpkin spice fix, but also finding the perfect Halloween costumes.

According to the 2018 National Retail Federation Halloween survey, Americans are expected to spend $9 billion on the holiday. Because both adults and children celebrate Halloween, 8% of shoppers plan to buy costumes for a projected total of $3.2 billion.

NRF experts say it’s a huge money-maker for retailers because demand is high and consumers are willing to pay mark-ups to get the costume they want. That demand means you may need to get a little creative if you want to save.

Here are 5 ways you can avoid feeling haunted by sticker shock this Halloween season:

Expand your store options: Don’t just limit yourself to your standard go-tos like Walmart, Target or Spirit Halloween. Check out Walgreens, the Dollar Store, Party City, TJ Maxx, Marshalls, Kohl’s, warehouse stores like Costco or Sam’s Club, thrift shops and consignment stores. You may be surprised by the finds and discounts available.

Take a detour from the Halloween aisle: Sometimes finding a deal on kids’ costumes means exploring other areas of the store. You really do pay more for seasonal “costumes” set aside for Halloween. Try checking the toy aisle for “dress up” outfits or the kids sleepwear section for action hero or princess options with a cheaper price tag. If your kids are into sports, raid the athletic/active section of the store.

Explore online deals: Check online coupon offerings found on deal sites like  or

Get creative: Why not get crafty this year and make your own costumes? Or, build an outfit around a staple piece like a wizard’s cloak (dust off that graduation cap and gown), a cape or a mask. Let your imagination run wild. Maybe you could put your own twist on a popular character, superhero or villain. Just make sure your ambition doesn’t lead to spending more money (or time) to bring your vision to life.

Timing is everything: Either buy your costumes early this month or just before Halloween to find the best bargains. If you don’t mind having your options limited to whatever is left, then wait until the last minute for deals on the Halloween stuff retailers want to move. The BEST time to buy costumes and decorations is AFTER Halloween. Hitting the stores November 1st will land you savings of anywhere from 50% to 75% off.

Article provided by Myriam DiGiovanni, for