Last year, zombie-esque dolls wearing outlandish make up were a big thing in our house (all right, I confess, my girls were into Monster High). And when Halloween started to close in on me, I took a shortcut. I grabbed a ready-made costume-in-a-bag, while I was out running errands. It meant one costume checked off my to-do list and only three more to put together.
I left it on my 10-year-old daughter’s bed and assumed she’d be thrilled that I’d caved and was going to let her dress up as a character I’ve repeatedly told her is over-the-top and ridiculous — but that’s not what happened. She didn’t say anything about the costume. And when I asked her about it, she said, “You didn’t have to spend so much, Mom. I like to make my own costume and trying to find all the right pieces. I want to do what we usually do.”
And by that, she meant wandering the aisles of our favourite thrift store and creating our own unique costumes. Traditionally, we go to Value Village with a plan and we hunt down the perfect pieces and accessories. I thought I was saving us time by buying a ready-made costume, but I was really just taking the fun and creativity out of the process. So I returned the (expensive) zombie costume and we started from scratch by following the four tips I use each year.
The Halloween section in Value Village is chock full of items, so have a plan or an idea for a costume sorted out before you head into the store.
There are so many amazing accessories in the aisles and it can be overwhelming. It’s a good idea to make use of the costume consultants (you’ll find them easily, they’re dressed up!) to help you find the items to complete your costume.
3. Don’t be afraid to wander away from the Halloween area. The children’s clothing section in the store is the perfect place to find the right colour of sweater and leggings to go under costumes for added warmth while trick-or-treating. Make sure to check out the aisles of jewellery and bags and shoes, as well.
If you do have a kid who loves a ready-to-go costume, go ahead and grab one (Value Village carries plenty of them). It’s your kid’s night to be whoever she wants to be, after all.
My daughter ended up finding a black tutu-style skirt and leopard-print fuzzy vest in the children’s clothing section. They were the perfect jumping off point for her homemade cat costume. She added a mask, ears and tail from the Halloween section and it all came to less than $25 — she was so proud of herself.
Her younger sister added a dramatic cape to her princess costume and her older sister found the perfect headpiece and red tights to go with her Seuss-inspired costume.
Special occasions often add stress for parents, making time-saving, pre-packaged options tempting. But Halloween is a time when self-expression has an opportunity to shine. I’m glad my daughter reminded me to enjoy the process. On this year's very successful trip to Value Village, she’s come up with a really creative idea. You’ll have to wait and see though; I promised I wouldn’t give it away just yet!