September 21, 2013

Halloween: Costume Shopping Tips

Here we are already in the middle of September! The weather is beginning to cool off (in many areas of the country, some of us are still experiencing high 90s and triple digit temps) and the leaves are going to be changing colors and falling off the trees before we know it. School is back in session and the kids are beginning to talk about what they are going to be for Halloween.

While you may be thinking that you have plenty of time to get your child’s Halloween costume put together, it’s important that you get a jump start now or you risk the possibility that the costume your child wants won’t be available…or the materials to make it may be scarce.
As some of you may know, this November, my family is taking our first Disney cruise together. On the fourth night of the cruise, Disney puts on a big pirate party for the passengers to attend. I’m told that guests are encouraged to dress in character. As a result, my 5 year old (a BIG Jake and the Neverland Pirates fan) has decided that he is going to be a pirate for Halloween so he can also use the costume for the big pirate party on our cruise.
My youngest son, who will be 14 months come Halloween, really doesn’t care too much about Halloween, but I know that now is the time for me to dress him up because when he gets opinions of his own, I won’t have much of a say in what he wears for the holiday. He is going to be a baby shark…I couldn’t resist the Pottery Barn infant shark outfit.
I’ve already gotten both of the Halloween costumes purchased for my kiddos, which has naturally taken a little bit of stress off my shoulders because it’s one less thing that I have to worry about. I know that most of you have children and are going to be rushing around trying to get costumes put together, so below I’ve compiled some helpful Halloween costume shopping tips that should help you with the process.
1.      Listen to what your kids want. While our kids need our help in creating the perfect Halloween costume, they most likely have a few costume ideas of what they want to be for Halloween. The hard part for parents is letting the kids choose. After all, there are just so many cute costumes out there, right? I learned a few years ago (when the oldest child was 3) that it’s useless trying to get my son to wear something he doesn’t like. I’m guessing your kids are probably the same way. Therefore, ask your kids what they want to be for Halloween and then help them create the vision. They will have a lot more fun if they are able to choose their own outfit. (This is why I’m taking advantage of my infant’s age and dressing him up in what I want…I can’t do that in another two years or so.) 

2.      Take the time to shop around. While I found my infant son’s costume in the Pottery Barn booklet that I received in the mail, I didn’t rush out and order it from the store immediately. That particular outfit at the store was $39 and I wanted to make sure I couldn’t find it for cheaper elsewhere. Therefore, I went online and browsed a variety of sites. Ebay is one of my favorites for stuff liked this and would you believe that people were listing the EXACT same costume for $49 and $59! That’s more than Pottery Barn! I ended up buying it at Pottery Barn because I couldn’t find it cheaper anywhere else, which made the purchase a guilt-free purchase.  

The flip side of the story is that Pottery Barn also had a really great pirate costume for my oldest son, but it was listed for $69…which I think is a little nuts. So, again…I shopped online to make sure I couldn’t find one cheaper. Although it wasn’t the same costume, I was able to find another great-looking pirate costume for only $16 on eBay! I ended up purchasing a wooden sword for him to complete the look, but I still saved over $30 by shopping around on these two costumes. Therefore, take the time to shop around before you purchase the first costume you come across.

3.      Take inventory first. Another thing you should do before you buy a Halloween costume is to look through your home inventory first. For instance, if your child wants to be a zombie for Halloween, you may be able to create a pretty realistic costume with some leftover face paint, an old ratty wig and some old clothing (think holey/stained shirts, ripped pants, etc.).  

On a brighter side, maybe you have a little girl who has her heart set on being Princess Sofia this year. You could go a purchase a cheap looking (not priced) Princess Sofia costume from your local Wal-Mart or Target, or you could go through her “old” formal dresses she has in the closet and purchase a tiara, some sparkly shoes and a faux amulet to finish off the costume.


4.      Purchase 2-in-1 outfits. What? Depending on what your child wants to be, you may be able to create a costume using regular clothing. For instance, if your little girl wants to be a princess and you still haven’t found a holiday dress for her, buy a dress like this one and use it for her princess costume as well as formal events this holiday season! 

5.      Order early. Finally, start shopping early for the items your little ones need for their costumes and not just the costumes themselves. For example, I need to go and find my baby boy some grey pants for his costume and my 5 year old some black pants and pirate boots. I need to get that done now before the stores are out of these items. Likewise, if you know you are going to order your child’s Halloween costume, order it early because stores (both local and online) do sell out.