According to a recent survey from the National Retail Federation, Americans plan to spend about $2.6 billion on Halloween costumes this year. Though pop culture has provided plenty of inspiration, most families are sticking to classic characters like witches, vampires and zombies as their costumes of choice.
Halloween costumes are priced anywhere from $20 to over $100, making this holiday a potentially costly one. However, you don't have to kill your budget to look the part on Oct. 31. Consider these tips to impress for less on Halloween.
Swap ItHalloween purists never dress in the same costume twice, there is actually a National Costume Swap Day celebrated on Oct. 12 Check their website to find out if a swap happened in your area. Make a note of this for 2014, but this year organize your own costume swap with friends and neighbors.
Deal ItCoupons abound for costumes this time of year, but you don't need to be an extreme clipper to find the best deals. Instead, download the Coupon Sherpa mobile app for in-store access to 25-percent off one item from Spirit Halloween. If you'd prefer to avoid the crowds, hit up their website for online coupons like 25-percent off $20 orders from Costume Discounters.
Fake ItYou don't have to be a wicked seamstress in order to save money. Consider a costume that requires the purchase of one item. For example, a Superman costume can be easily achieved with a white button-up, black pants and dark-rimmed glasses. All you have to purchase is the blue Superman shirt to complete the look.
Do ItIt's easy to create popular costumes with items you already own. For example, Katniss Everdeen is easily replicated with a basic tee, khaki pants, brown boots and hooded jacket. Same goes with Mayhem, the hilarious Allstate character wreaking havoc on homeowners in a simple suit and tie. For more ideas, check out this list of over 50 DIY costumes.
Thrift ItPrepare to fight the crowds at your local thrift shop -- it's a go-to destination for cheap Halloween costumes. In addition to used costumes and clothing, you'll also find brand-new accessories and home decor at select stores. Be sure to peruse your local consignment shop for gently-used options, especially if you're looking to outfit your kiddos for less.
Rent ItFor those serious Halloween party-goers who like to impress -- and possibly win some costume contests -- you can save over 60 percent by renting. Costumes Galore has quite a selection of costumes for adults, couples and even groups. Select from hundreds of costumes inspired by animals, fairy tales and even TV and movie characters.
Score ItTo avoid this predicament next year, haunt your nearby drugstore, department store or big-box store the day after Halloween for huge deals on next year's costume. You can outfit the whole family for 50 to 75 percent off, plus score even more candy and decor at deep discounts.
Andrea Woroch is a nationally-recognized consumer and money-saving expert for Kinoli Inc. who helps consumers live on less without radically changing their lifestyles. From smart spending tips to personal finance advice, Andrea transforms everyday consumers into savvy shoppers. She has been featured among top news outlets such as Good Morning America, NBC's Today, MSNBC, New York Times, Kiplinger Personal Finance, CNNMoney and many more. You can follow her on Twitter for daily savings advice and tips.