Friday, October 17, 2008

Halloween Costume Rant

Have you shopped for Halloween costumes lately? I absolutely cannot believe the prices the stores charge for so little. Let's look at a couple of examples.

Last year, Logan wanted to be Jack Sparrow from Pirates of the Caribbean.

This costume comes with: Shirt, vest with sewn in fabric sash and two attached belts with buckles and boot covers. Never mind that the materials these things are made from are very, very thin, cheap fabric and plastic-vinyl. Kids see the picture on the costume bag and are totally "wowed" by the whole thing. So you look at the price: $49.99! Fifty dollars for a tiny amount of fabric and vinyl.

But wait, it gets better. Did you notice that it doesn't come with the hat, mustache, and goatee? That will set you back an additional $19.99. The sword (which is my son's favorite part of the costume) is $14.99. Which comes to a grand total of:

$84.97 (plus tax) for a Halloween costume that will be worn for part of one day.

Here's another example:

In case you aren't familiar with it...this is a Hannah Montana costume. I have actually seen this hanging on the rack at my local store. It is so thin and flimsy, it's like those really thin pajamas that pill up after one wearing? The top is completely see-through it is so thin.'s October, and I don't know what the weather is like where you live, but here in the NW it is COLD on Halloween and coats and sweatshirts are usually required.

This lovely costume: JUST the skirt, shirt, and lovely vinyl belt--is $34.99. That doesn't include the wig (in case your daughter isn't a blond) for $9.99 or the fishnet tights for $5.99. You will have to come up with your own boots, which would probably set you back about $24.99 for the cheapest I could find at Payless Shoes.

Grand total to faintly resemble Hannah Montana and freeze: $75.96.

So, if you have two kids like I do--I would be shelling out a whopping $161 plus tax for these two costumes, worn with coats so you can't really see them anyway, and worn one day.

My son wants to be Prince Caspian this year, the costume is very similarly priced to the Jack Sparrow one. We purchased the sword ($14.99) and found a knight mask (so it's not totally authentic) at Party City for $1. I'm going to make the "fake" chain mail headgear and arm bands from metalic mesh fabric from JoAnn fabric for $5. He's going to wear brown pants, a black sweatshirt, black shoes, and a couple of belts that we have around the house.

My daughter wants to be a cowgirl. We purchased a pink cowboy hat and gun belt with guns at Party City for $20. She's going to wear jeans, a white shirt, and my mother-in-law had some bandana fabric which she's fashioning into a vest. She'll just wear her furry boots...we don't have the money or inclination to buy cowboy boots.

It will save us some money, but anyone else just frustrated by the poor quality and exhorbitant prices of costumes?


Brenda said...

It is pretty ridiculous! But the sad thing is that people will keep buying them because they feel like they have no other option, so they'll keep charging those prices.

Pamela J said...

Oh, I do have to disagree that people have no other option. I hated the holiday when my kids were growing up because we couldn't afford the costumes. I was so thankful when they were old enough they didn't want to do that dress-up thing anymore.

The option is to choose not to celebrate this holiday. It takes guts because of peer pressure and a good reason. The holiday began as an evil day and now we as Christians help them celebrate? Sure it is fun for the kids but isn't that how evil lures our children into the clutches of evil?

Here in our community the local school has made the Christmas break officially the Winter break but they keep Halloween festivities and all the decorating and parties. It's time us Christians start standing up for the good instead of paying through the nose for evil.
Pam Williams

Heidi @ GGIP said...

I have only purchased a couple kid's costumes, max $20 each. ANd those are big fluffy animal costumes. There is no way I would spend what you were talking about here.

Another option is borrowing. My baby is wearing a turtle costume (if I can get him to wear it at all) that is borrowed from a neighbor. My older son is wearing his superman pj's.

I plan to shop the clearance racks after Halloween this year to try to find some costumes for next year. I figure I'll just not give an option of buying anything and hope that it keeps working!

c said...

I do not like this so called holiday for many reasons. I would like to skip it totally, but the commercialism and big hoopla has my 4 kiddos excited. I talk down this time of year every year. I refuse evil and bloody costume, period. It must be sweet and cute or nothing at all.

Kimberly and Rufus said...

Costume prices were high when I was a kid, so what we did one year was to borrow costumes from the church. They had a huge costume room full of all kinds of neat outfits.

Another year I put my costume together from stuff we had at home. I was a teen and went as a housewife, with a bathrobe, curlers in my hair, a dustrag and bottle of cleaner, and the TV remote in the robe pockets. Didn't cost my mom any money at all.

LoriM said...

And not only will they only wear them one day but then THROW them out.
That Hanna Montana costume is well....maybe i'll just leave my opinion to the imagination. :)

Martha A. said...

We do not celebrate H. but we have looked at costumes for dress up and I have to agree with you! You are better off sewing something to play with rather than spending so much on flimsy fabric that will not last anyhow!

stacia said...

I am very thankful that my kids have no desire to dress up and go trick or treating. They enjoy staying home and handing out candy. The prices of costumes is out of control and if they did want to go out we would make homemade ones before we would pay those prices!

Nathan, Sarah, Liam, Deacon said...

I thought the same thing...Liam's costume was 40 bucks, plus 12 for this, 7 for that, etc etc. Luckily, Deacon wore one that Liam had a couple years ago so that worked. It is crazy! I wish I was crafty so I could make them instead of buy them!

Anonymous said...

I had sticker shock the last time I looked too! I couldn't even believe it because you're right, there's hardly anything to the costumes and what is there is made of cheap, flimsy fabric and materials. I find it's more fun to be creative with things around the house and make our own costumes!

Stacy said...

Preach on Sister! All of the stores have us by the throat because once our kids go in there you know what happens-the begging. I try to shop consignment sales for cheap costumes.
mcginnis135 at bellsouth dot net

Carole said...

The manufacturers are certainly out to make money. I'm just glad my kids are grown!

I agree with others in that I don't like the whole Halloween thing either. Our church sometimes has a fall carnival that night and sets a dress theme for the kids - like favorite biblical character, fictional character, what you want to be when you grow up, etc. This has been very successful - and fun!

cjarvis [at] bellsouth [dot] net