According to the National Retail Federation, the average consumer spent $66.28 on last year's Halloween costume. If you have more than one child, this holiday could easily set you back more than $100, not to mention the money you'll spend on candy and decorations. If you're like most single parents on a tight budget, that's money you could have spent on groceries, medical bills, and gasoline.
A Sensible Alternative
Wouldn't it be nice if your kids could just wear last year's costumes? After all, they only wore them once. While you can't magically make last year's costume fit again, Stacey Lloyd, founder of www.PreschoolRock.com, believes a lot of parents would appreciate receiving a free costume that another child has outgrown. That's why Lloyd started an annual Halloween Costume Exchange on her Web site last year to help parents save money and access free costumes.
The Cost of Shipping
Unlike eBay and other re-sell websites, parents participating in the Halloween Costume Exchange pay for the cost of shipping only. "It's especially helpful for single parents and people on a budget," Lloyd explains. The current cost of sending a small flat-rate box via U.S. Priority Mail® is $4.95. That's a considerable savings over paying retail!
Many parents save money already by making their children's costumes. However, that can be time-consuming and, as Lloyd explains, not every child wants a homemade costume. "When I was a kid, I didn't want to wear a costume my mom made. I wanted what everyone else had." With the costume exchange, parents who are looking for costumes can get in touch with parents who are hoping to pass last year's favorite on to someone else who can use it.
Last Minute Shoppers
The costume exchange can also accommodate last-minute shoppers. As Lloyd explains, "It just takes a click or an email to contact someone and say 'I'm interested in getting the costume from you.' After making arrangements to pay the shipping, you can receive it the costume the mail in as little as a just a few days."
Helping One Another
Even if you're not looking for a costume online, consider listing those costumes your children have outgrown for someone else to use this year. Simply visit the Halloween Costume Exchange at PreschoolRock.com to post costumes and search the database of treasures available. "We're looking for costumes of any size. We're a preschool website, but the costume exchange isn't limited to preschoolers."
"After Spooky 2009, Halloween Spending Bounces Back To ’08 Levels, According To NRF." The National Retail Federation News Release. 23 Sept. 2010. National Retail Federation. 23 Sept. 2010 http://www.nrf.com/modules.php?name=News&op=viewlive&sp_id=1003.