All Hallow's Eve is nearly upon us once again, and it's time to pick up cheap bags of candy to hand out to kids (and maybe a few Godiva chocolates for yourself). You also need to come up with a costume that's sure to impress your peers. If you're looking to get your trick-or-treat on in an inexpensive and a big way this year, you could find yourself staring down the barrel of a pretty scary price tag.

A pirate coat and hat or a ghoulish monster mask could set you back a pretty penny, even if you go for the cheap, discount versions. You don't really want those bargain bin, polyester costumes anyway - you want something that's sure to wow at every party you attend.

How can you save money and still win the costume contest at work? Here are a few tips to get the great outfit you're seeking for less, without resorting to cutting a couple of holes in an old sheet and going as a ghost...again.

Use What You've Got

It's not always easy to look at your wardrobe with a fresh eye, but you might be surprised to find that the clothing you already own could make for some truly choice costumes.

The first thing you need to do is decide what you want to be for Halloween and then work out which pieces in your wardrobe could prove useful. With a few foundational pieces to work from, you might only need to purchase a single key garment, a few accessories, or a basic Halloween makeup kit to pull your costume together.

Creativity can go a long way toward making this money-saving strategy work. Why not shred some old duds and add a little face paint to become a zombie? Want to add more interest? Throw on a sports jersey to become an undead hockey, football, or basketball player. You could shove some giant shoulder pads into your office attire, curl and tease your hair, and apply shocking shades of neon lipstick and eyeshadow to emulate your fave '80s look. Or you could take that convertible dress from your last stint as a bridesmaid and fashion it into a Daenerys Targaryen look. Add a cheap, blond wig and your best withering glance, and you're pretty much good to go.


kids in witch halloween costumes

Hit Up Consignment Stores

You never know what you can find at consignment stores, and this time of year, some will even feature costume sections. One man's trash is another's treasure, and plenty of people are looking to make a few bucks back on old duds that are still in good condition. You can capitalize by paying a portion of what you might spend on a brand-new costume. You might even want to think about taking your old costumes to a consignment shop to sell. Making money is even better than saving it!

Get Thrifty

Thrift stores are a great place to find the pieces you need to complete your costume without spending a ton of dough. Best of all, you'll still have some change for your morning cuppa Joe at your local Dunkin' Donuts Shop. 

Tap Social Sources

You can use social platforms to your advantage when it comes to saving money on a Halloween costume. For one thing, you could search Craigslist for specific items like coats, hats, boots, or even masks and more exotic items if you have a particular costume in mind. You might also reach out to friends to see if they're willing to loan you needed items, or even set up a costume swap. This is a fast and easy way to find the pieces you need to make a killer costume, and all you probably have to pay for is dry cleaning.

Wait Until the Witching Hour

To be honest, your best bet to save money on Halloween costumes is to shop blowout sales the day after the holiday in questions. You can still get a leg up for next year with this strategy, but for this year, you'll have to find another option.

If you've got your eye on a pricey costume, consider waiting until the last minute to buy. Often, retailers looking to move inventory before Halloween has come and gone will mark down prices the day of. This is risky - you could end up not getting the costume you want, but there's also a chance you could get a steal on a truly stellar outfit.

halloween arts and crafts

Scratch that DIY Itch

Okay, so you need to save your ducats to hire an Uber to drive you to and from parties on Halloween. It's time to roll up your sleeves and go to town with a needle and thread, your trusty glue gun, and a whole lotta creativity. There is no end to the amazing tutorials you can find online to teach you how to craft simple costumes from garments and everyday items in your home.

A tablecloth toga secured with Granny's brooch? Why not? How about masks made from paper plates, paint, and glitter? What about a Batman costume consisting of a black umbrella cut in half, with each half sewed between the arm and torso of a black hoodie for wings? Perhaps that appliance box could be made to look like a smartphone when you cut it to size, paint it, and decorate it with icons printed out from your computer.

Creativity is the name of the game when you don't have a lot of cash on hand for costumes, so go to town with your DIY ideas and you might be amazed by the truly inspired costume concepts you come up with for free.