Where to Find Halloween Costumes on a Budget in Fairfield County

9/19/17 - By Elizabeth Howard

Not to panic you, but if you don't start planning your kids' Halloween costumes pretty soon, you know they are going to spend this Halloween as a hobo, like I did most years. My kids always seem to know exactly what they want to be for Halloween -- IN JUNE. But then they completely forget by the time I ask them again in September. And I know better than to wander the aisles of expensive seasonal costume stores with them, trying to explain to an 8-year-old what a "Sexy Trash Monster Costume" is.

After years of experience in costume building, conjuring, finagling, trading, repairing, and trussing, below is my shopping guide for kids Halloween costumes on a budget. Once you get the kids decked out, be sure to make good use of the costumes by pouring over our awesome Connecticut Guide to Halloween


Top Halloween Costume Tip: The best time to shop for Halloween costumes is NOVEMBER 1st, but get there quick as items go fast! We always make a trip to Target to catch deep discounts on next year's accessories, decor, and costumes -- not to mention, dress up fun (and holiday gifts!) for the whole year.

Savers - Brookfield & Orange​
Oh you've never heard of Savers? Well, that is probably because your "friends" don't want you to know about this high-quality thrift store that only sells the best donated and recycled goods. You can hit up Savers for complete costumes donated intact, or shop the aisles for a DIY costume inspiration.

So many gently used and resale costumes! --photo courtesy of Once Upon a Child, Milford.

Once Upon a Child - Danbury, Milford, Meriden & Trumbull (opening soon)
The best part about visiting resale shop Once Upon a Child is while you are there to pick a gently used costume, you'll undoubtedly find about a dozen other items you forgot you needed. Bonus? Halloween time at Once Upon a Child also kicks off winter weather wear season, which means you will actually find snowpants, boots, sweaters and such on sale, at the right time of the year!

Gumdrop Swap - Fairfield
In the super-cool Stratfield neighborhood, Gumdrop Swap consignment store may be one of the cutest consignment stores around. Bring freshly-laundered, "excellent used condition" clothing to the Swap for a deep discount on their selection. 

Marshall's - Stratford, Fairfield, Danbury and other locations
A friend mentioned that my daughters would soon outgrow princesses. So a few years back I splurged and bought three gorgeous full-length costumes at Marshall's in Stratford. When I say "splurge" I should say that I spent about $30 each on them. The quality of these costumes was amazing, including velveteen capes, thick, satiny bows and hooped skirts. These costumes have held up to multiple Halloweens and hundreds of days of dress up, making them the bargain of a lifetime! 

Goodwill  - Stamford, Norwalk, Westport, Bridgeport, Brookfield, Danbury, and Milford
It wouldn't be Halloween season (yes, it's a full on season!) at our house without a trip to the Goodwill. We make no lists or plan before we go. For me, shopping at Goodwill is all about the hunt. Like Savers, they sell a few (not too many) costumes that are donated. What we go to Goodwill for is inexpensive accessories and DIY inspiration. Last year, I found the perfect curtain rod and plain white sheet to construct my "Brick House" costume.

My son in a tag sale mask and Goodwill shirt. Customized with hairy fabric from Joann Fabrics. Witch fingers from The Dollar Store. 

Joann Fabrics - Milford and Danbury
If you are already the sort of person who shops at Joann, you probably don't need to read this. However, if you are considering sewing or crafting parts (or all) of your costumes (like I started to do a few years ago), then Joann is the place to shop for felt, ribbons, thread, Velcro, buttons and more. Heed this advice, however: don't enter Joann without a coupon. No, really. A list is a really good idea too.

Connecticut Kids' Closet (event) - Danbury & Ansonia
September is book-ended by two huge indoor consignment events called "Connecticut Kids' Closet." This massive indoor clothing tag sale is the perfect opportunity to get really great deals on costumes for all sizes while also filling out the kiddos winter wardrobes. The Ansonia event usually takes place during the last weekend in September.

Five Below - Trumbull, Milford, & Danbury
You can honestly try to hit any dollar-type store to get bits and things to trick out Halloween, but you really aren't going to get much in that price range. Enter the FIVE dollar store! Five Below's price range hits the sweet spot for accessorizing on the cheap at Halloween. Masks, fake nails, zombie makeup, even wigs. You may not want to take the kids with you!

Happy Daze Costumes - Norwalk
Ok, Happy Daze is a genuine, for real, costume shop, selling and renting theatrical and cosplay-level costumes. They also are fully stocked with knowledgeable, friendly staff. So, they may not be your definition of "budget," but that depends on what you value! If your kid has her heart set on being Deadpool or Aveline Vallen this Halloween, this will be the place to go. At Halloween, they ramp up their stock of accessories as well. 

Tag sales are always a great place to grab costumes, but tag salers tend to nab most of the good stuff in early summer. But if you are a social media parent, you can be savvy and host your own costume swap for this weekend on Facebook!


main image by the author

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