First up: Costumes. When I was child, my Mom made most of my costumes. She was very creative that way. One time, when we were at a restaurant that had menus that looked like giant playing cards, she asked if she could have two of the menus to take home. She tied them together with ribbons over my shoulders and I went out as a deck of cards. I wish I were that creative, but I'm not. My kids have mostly worn store-bought Halloween costumes, or sports uniforms. But as I've worked on "Saving with 6abc," I've learned that creative costumes don't have to be complicated, or as expensive as though store-bought costumes. Thrift shops are great places to find inexpensive inspiration for Halloween. Old bridesmaids' dresses and wedding gowns can be bought for just a couple of dollars and make great princess costumes. You can often find old work shirts and overalls if your son wants to be Bob the Builder or coveralls if he wants to be a mechanic. Just peruse the racks and for a few dollars, you're bound to find something, including store-bought Halloween costumes that were worn for one night and then outgrown.
If you are going to buy pre-made costumes, check the online retailers. On our Codes and Coupons page, I've posted discount codes for sites including BuyCostumes.com and Party City. Google the name of the costume you're looking for and comparison shop. Once you've found the best price, Google the retailer's name and the words "coupon code" to see if you find a discount code. Or go to sites like PromotionalCodes.com or CouponWinner.com for savings including 10-percent off orders over $40 at Costume SuperCenter , $30 off orders over $150 at BuyCostumes.com, $20 off orders over $100 at CostumeExpress.com, 20-percent off New "R" Halloween Costumes at Babies R Us, or $10 off orders over $50 at Costume Kingdom.
Another option is to organize a costume swap. The Wardrobe Boutique, a thrift shop that benefits The Career Wardrobe here in Philadelphia, is holding a swap this Saturday, Oct. 9, 2010, from 12:00 noon until 2:00 p.m. You can watch my preview on Action News on Friday morning at 4:30 a.m. or click here for the details. You can also organize a swap at your kids' school or in your neighborhood.
Next: Decorations. Check out this free downloadable Halloween Craft book. Creating decorations with your kids can be fun - and you'll treasure the memories of making them when you pull them out year after year.
Finally: Candy. It pays to procrastinate. Halloween candy has been in the stores for a couple of weeks already. By the time Halloween comes around, the stores are itching to get it off their shelves to make way for Christmas items. So, if you wait until the final few days before the holiday, you'll like find deep discounts. Combine those sales with coupons that are in the Sunday circulars now, but don't expires until after Halloween, and you'll get some great deals.