I love Halloween. From childhood on, I spent hours (sometimes weeks) each year planning and assembling the perfect costume. In college, I was in Halloween heaven when I majored in Television and Theater—I had access to an entire costume warehouse of handmade creations of every genre and category.
When I became a mother, I channeled that creative interest into my son’s costume. Then I had an incident that forever changed my view of Halloween costumes. I spent $125 to make my then five-year-old son a horse costume complete with faux fur, a tiny leather saddle. He wore it for about 30 seconds before announcing “it’s too hot.” Worse, he insisted on trick-or-treating in street clothes with only a pair of wolf fangs. I promised myself I would never again spend any “serious” money on a costume. That doesn’t mean I’ve settled for those flimsy painted-on costumes.
With a little ingenuity, very little money and time made for a fun family scavenger hunt, Halloween costumes can be quite glorious. In fact, after spending the past weekend perusing local retailers and thrift stores, I realized that a great costume for any member of the family, even the pets, could be created for about $10 or less.
After browsing about 20 stores, there were five that offered creative costumes at minimal cost (Ross, Big Lots, Dollar Tree, America's Thrift Stores and Goodwill Stores) beginning at $2.99 for a “Little Diplomat” costume to $10 for Big Lot’s wide selection of wigs (Hippy, Zombie, Goddess, Witch, etc).
1355 Upper Roswell Rd., Marietta 30060, (770) 321-3402; 2667 Powder Springs Rd., SW, Marietta 30064, (770) 439-0255; 2500 Cobb Pkwy, Kennesaw 30144, (770) 420-9499; goodwill.org
This store offers cheap prices and a great selection of both traditional costumes and those you are assembling from scratch. Each week there is a half-price discount for all items tagged in a certain color. If you are lucky, you can buy an awesome, expensive, flowing Queen/Princess gown for $5.50! Check out these prices:
Kids’ Costumes: $6.96 for most.
- Jester Girl: Detailed, mint condition, colorful. Cobb Parkway location.
- Pumpkin: Infant 12 Months: This bright, colorful costume is black/orange striped and has a huge pumpkin appliquéd overlay. Cobb Parkway location.
- Dresses - $5.96
- Formals - $10.91
- Men’s Suits - $12.91
- Men’s Shirts - $4.94
Note: Specialty clothing is available at special pricing. I saw a lined, faux fur full-length coat (mint condition) that was striking and at $50.
3344 Canton Rd., Marietta 30066 (new location is next to Old Time Pottery) www.americasthrift.com
This store offers a wide selection of traditional and “creatively inspired” costumes from $2.99 and up. Choose from a huge selection of clothing from infants through adults. This store is brand new and offers a mind-boggling selection of easy to navigate clothing categories.
Kids’ Costumes: $2.99 - $3.99. These were the best bargains I saw for “traditional” Halloween costumes. Some of the costumes are high quality and/or hand-made.
- Little Diplomat: $2.99. Boys Small. White tux shirt with gold vest and red ribbon award/pendant sewn on.
- Superman: $3.99. Boys Medium-Large, two-piece costume.
- Witch Girl: $3.99. Girl 4-6x. A purple and black lace-up creation.
- Puppy: $2.99. Infant zip up warmer. Soft white heavy fleece faux fur and black puppy paw print. Cute!
Note: For those who are willing to pay the bucks, real, beaded wedding dresses (some with trains) are offered for $50 and up.
Ross Dress For Less
Town Center Prado, 50 Barrett Pkwy., Marietta 30066, (770) 419-1203 www.rossstores.com
If your child wants a “new” costume, this is the place to buy. They are nicer than the ones you see at the large, local discount stores—and cheaper. Among the costumes I saw, these were the best deals:
- Iron Man 2: $6.99
- Flapper Girl: $7.99: Includes Dress, Headpiece and Glovelets
- Electric Witch: $10.99: This costume is so cute; it has several multi-color layers and a sparkly black spider web material overlay.
For Mom: A glamorous Witch’s Hat, complete with feathers and silk flower is $4.99.
680 Powder Springs Rd., Marietta 30064. (770) 422-7565. biglots.com
Surprisingly, “people” costumes here are pricier here than they are for the same costume at competitors. There are great deals on two items:
- Wigs: $10 for most. Includes Greek Goddess, Zombie, Witch and Hippy Girl. Note: They also offer an auburn wig named “Desperate Diva” that looks exactly like a Stepford Wife’s or what a Prom Queen would wear. Reminiscent of the 1960’s, it is bouffant and flips up at the shoulders.
- Jersey Shore Dog Costumes: $5. Your precious pet can be Snooky, Pauly D or just a cute little guido/guidette. Flashy, trashy, adorable and lots of styles to choose from.
180 Cobb Pkwy., SE Marietta, GA 30060 (770) 422-0823. dollartree.com
Many retailers carry the exact same Halloween costume accessories at three times the cost of the same items sold here. For only $1 each, here are just some of the great bargains that complete a fabulous costume:
- Butterfly Wings, $1
- Cheerleader Pom Poms, $1
- Boas, $1
- Hair Extensions, $1
- Tiaras/Wands, $1 each.
- TuTus, $1
- Cowboy Hats, Handcuffs, Pop Guns, Knives, Badges & related accessories. $1 each.
- Pirate Hats, Swords and related accessories. $1 each.
- Roman Soldier Helmets, Shields, Chestpieces, Swords. $1 each.
- Scary Masks. $1