In addition to your wedding dress, there is one other day that can have you spending an arm and a leg for just a few hours of outfit fun: Halloween. Your kiddos will all want new, original costumes, and your first instinct will probably be to swing by the big box store to pick up a pre-packaged dress for a small fortune (don’t forget all the accessories!). Not only can you save money by picking a costume from one of these Halloween alternatives, but you can get your kids’ creative cogs turning, too.


For cheap thrills and chills: Goodwill
Not only will you find great used costumes, vintage dresses, and other creative threads on the racks, but they’ll only cost you a few bucks! Check out a Goodwill near you and see what you and your kids can dig up in the $1 bin, or on the shelves of castoffs in great condition. Plus, around Halloween many of them sell cheap decorations, so you can pick up a glowing pumpkin or singing skeleton, too.


For last minute looks: Unique Thrift Shop
Unique is a great place to look for Halloween costumes because they sell both new and used get-ups for all ages, and all for great prices. Plus, they have locations all around the DMV area. Where else can you get new life-lke fairy wings for only $7.99? Bonus: The store’s employees go ALL OUT in their Halloween costumes, which they wear throughout the month of October. Locations in Adelphi, Md, Silver Spring, Md, Wheaton, Md, and Falls Church, Va.

703-992-6569 (Falls Church, Va)
301-422-2406 (Adelphi, Md)
301-431-7450 (Silver Spring, Md)
301-962-0600 (Wheaton, Md)

For period pieces: The American Backstage Company
Try The American Backstage Company if you’re looking to rent a costume. They also sell packaged costumes, including not just the typical Halloween costumes but their selection of theater costumes, too. If none of their options work for your kids, The American Backstage Company also makes custom ensembles.

5380 Eisenhower Ave. (Alexandria, Va)

For the costume du jour: 529 Kids Consign
If the words “thrift shops” scare you, try this local consignment gem, instead. Consignment shops tend to only sell the best of the best, and the people who give their used clothes get a cut of the sales. However, around Halloween, this popular spot (with two locations in Northern Virginia) collects used Halloween costumes in great condition and resells them.

122A. South Royal St. (Alexandria, Va)

7918 Fort Hunt Rd. (Alexandria, Va)

For the one-of-a-kind creation: Michael’s
If you (or your kids) are crafty, take a trip to your nearest arts hub to pick up cardboard, paint, foam, felt, and many other cool glue-gun friendly decorations. Think of how you could turn a foam ball and cone into a studded microphone for a “rock star,” or a vest into a leather jacket for a “motorcyclist.” This way you save money by making costumes at home, and you also have a great activity for your kids on the next rainy day! Plus, since the focus in craft shops is home décor and therefore their Halloween items are often bought way before the holiday, their Halloween items are already on sale! Snatch.


For the cool costume-in-a-bag: Total Fright
Total Fright is a more traditional Halloween costume shop so prices will be a bit higher, but it’s awesome because of its convenient Ballston Mall location. If your kiddo has a special costume in mind, the variety at Total Fright will make the search simple. Plus, they also have party supplies–not just for Halloween but year-round.

Ballston Commons Mall
4238 Wilson Blvd. (Arlington, Va)

Where do you shop for kids’ Halloween costumes? Tell us in the comments section below. 

–Kelly Ann Jacobson

Photo courtesy of opencontent via Facebook