Save money on Halloween costumes

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Halloween is the third most expensive holiday behind Christmas and Valentine's Day. Average spending is about $70, and for families watching their budgets, that can be a frightening thought.

There are many stores that have jumped on the Halloween costume bandwagon, and some of the prices are enough to make me scream. Looking off the beaten path can create the perfect look for a fraction of the cost.

My first stop is Goodwill. They have dozens of pre made costumes that are half off the original price, but I like to exercise my creative flair when it comes to dressing up.

Frankenstein was my son's choice, so the first thing I did was find a picture online and print it out so we could fine tune the details.

We found the jacket and pants at Goodwill for $1 each. Walmart's face paint was also $1. We got black and green, plus a few bucks for the black hair spray. His neck bolts are a headband covered in pantyhose with a sliced cork glued to each side. Total cost: $6.

I've also created Count Dracula. I tried to build on clothes he already has. The cape was 50 cents at a yard sale. The only other purchase was the face paint, vampire teeth and fake blood. Out of pocket total: $6.50.

I found a Batman costume for $2 at a yard sale years ago and held onto it until it fit my son. Hand-me-downs come in handy. My daughter looks adorable in the same goat outfit her big brother wore five years ago.

Dollar stores have inexpensive accessories that can complete your look for less. Craigslist has dozens of costumes for sale for kids and adults, with new ones added every day.

Stores will start discounting the costumes the closer we get to Halloween, so if you're brave enough to wait until closer to the day, you could get a better deal.

Other places you can look -- thrift stores, consignment shops and the "Cool Cheap Stuff" section of the newspaper.

The day after Halloween will be the big clearance day. You can purchase next year's costumes and accessories discounted up to 75 percent.

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