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Toddler Halloween Costumes

Toddler Halloween Costumes

Help! I am stuck about what to do for my toddler’s Halloween costume. Those of you who have followed my posts in the past know that I am craft-challenged. So I had been looking to buy something simple. But tell me this…when did kids’ Halloween costumes get so freakin’ expensive??? And why are there twice as many costumes for girls than for boys? I think my criteria are pretty simple:

1. Costume must be under $35.

2. Child must be able to walk, talk, sit and see in the costume. Keep in mind, my son will barely put on a jacket without a fuss.

3. I’d prefer no commercial products or characters. He’s not into any yet, so why make him into a walking billboard?

4. It’s got to resonate with me or him in some small way shape or form.

Here are my usual go-to sources and how they’ve failed me this year:

  • Monster Halloween Costume for KidsI’ve had awesome luck in the past with This year I went looking for a toddler firefighter costume because my son is in LOVE with fire trucks. I found an awesome one… for $50! Yikes!
  • Old Navy is usually a great choice. Kids costumes are very wearable (especially in colder climates) and extremely affordable. This year though the selection is just very limited – 6 options: a hamburger, a monster, or one of 4 animals. The Old Navy Tiger may have to be my fall-back position.
  • Hand-me downs. AH. The ideal solution. The problem is between my daughter and my son’s first Halloween, we’ve just about exhausted our supply of hand-me down costumes. I do have a green M&M costume my sister sent with the last round of clothes. On the one hand that violates criteria #3 above, and on the other it does represent the whole idea of Halloween after all.


Even despite my personal limitations, I did try Pinterest, but a search for toddler Halloween costumes just turned up all the same stuff I was finding in online store searches. One promising pin for 35 homemade Halloween costumes just led to a bum link.

Am I too picky? Too frugal? Should I just cut two holes in a pillow case, call him a ghost and call it a day? Any thoughts are appreciated.



  1. Profile photo of Kate

    Kate October 1, 2012 at 6:19 pm

    Maybe a cowboy or a farmer? Both pretty easy and probably include articles of clothing he already has/could wear again.

    I feel your pain in terms of costumes though. I’m attempting to DIY a monkey costume for Liam (since I call him my little monkey) out of a hooded sweatshirt and sweatpants so he’ll be comfortable and I won’t spend $60 on some ridiculous toddler costume.

  2. Jamie Philips October 1, 2012 at 7:44 pm

    I recently purchased a costume at Saversand if I remember correctly I did see a firetruck costume. I hope this helps

  3. Brenda October 1, 2012 at 11:29 pm

    Our church has a costume trading event. For every costume you bring, you get a ticket, to trade for another costume…..FREE!

  4. Heather October 2, 2012 at 1:54 am

    My cousin dressed her toddler up as a marathon runner last year. Sweat pants, a number on the shirt (or sweatshirt depending on weather), and a sweat band on his head. It was really cute.

  5. Jenny @ Creatively Blooming October 2, 2012 at 3:34 am

    My little brother was a hobo as a todder. He wore old clothes that my mom tattered up, some black makeup on his face that looked like soot smudges, a little black plastic hat, and he carried a silk flower. It was so cute! And easy!

    I have a linky party going, and I’d love you to link up some of your costume posts:

  6. Amanda October 2, 2012 at 3:35 pm

    We are having the same problem with our 2 year old. He told us he wanted to be a coat, HA!! Pretty simple right, but we aren’t’ going to have him be a coat. I think we might have him be a motorcycle rider, with a harley shirt cut off, jeans and a bandana. We have everything we need so we aren’t spending any money. My husbands idea, I am not that creative and can’t think of ideas unless it jumps out at me while searching online. Good luck!

  7. ProgressiveMom October 2, 2012 at 4:02 pm

    Lots of firehouses have those red plastic hats they give out when you visit. Get one of those, his rain boots and coat and voila! a fireman. I’ve seen lots of consignment shops advertising costumes so they may be less expensive. When Max was that age, we cut the bottom off a men’s black sweatshirt and put white felt on the front making him a penguin. We made the penguin face w/felt out of a black ski cap…all with glue. No sewing required.

  8. Alexis @ Sassy Quest October 2, 2012 at 10:17 pm

    Since he loves fire trucks what about a firefighter. You can either use a hoodie or a rain jacket for the torso. Use Duct tape in silver or yellow to spell Fire Dept on the back. Use black sweatpants or something similar. Run two strips of duct tape at the hem and then another a few inches above that. If you use silver that would also provide a reflective surface for evening trick or treating. It doesn’t sound like he’d go for the helmet on the head but you could use it as the halloween candy bucket. Usually there are firefighter helmets at the dollar store. The cool thing is you can take the duct tape off the rain jacket and pants after Halloween and use them as “normal” clothes.
    Hope this helps!

  9. MediaMom October 2, 2012 at 11:38 pm

    Great ideas! I especially love the idea of the costume swap. I wonder if I can get our center to do it — or even just for the parents to organize it ourselves as a social event.

  10. Brenda October 3, 2012 at 11:41 am

    We ended up getting our kids (ages 2 and 4) matching pumpkin costumes at the thrift store last night for $3 each. I’m amazed they agreed, and the costumes are nice and roomy in case winter coats are needed underneath.

  11. Suzanne October 7, 2012 at 4:34 am

    I spend hours and hours figuring out my daughter’s halloween costume b/c I like to DIY for less and so it’s cute. This year I’m doing pebbles which is fairly easy b/c I already had a light green tang and blue shorts (just like pebbles) and just need to add felt and buy a bone hair clip. However I’ve again spent hours shopping for what she can wear under it so she’ll be warm! Finally found a nude leotard for 17$ (yikes!) but she should be able to use that again throughout the winter.

    But in the end I think it is totally worth it. Like you said, your searches turn up the same stuff on every site – that means every kid is wearing that. I suggest DIY and be creative 🙂 Use items that can be reused later and then even if you spend more than $35 it won’t be a big deal. Last year my daughter was a jane fonda inspired workout baby. The zebra onesie she wore is still in her wardrobe and the legwarmers worked all winter long.

    Think about things you like and things he likes. The reason my toddler will be pebbles is b/c the first time I put her hair in a pony, everyone said she looked like pebbles and I just thought what a great idea! It’s so easy too.

    • Suzanne October 7, 2012 at 4:36 am

      Oh, and I also bought a Dino off ebay for 10$ b/c having accessories is fun and she can keep that too in the long run 🙂

      Here’s a pic of her costume from last year, including the toy dumbell (doggy toy) which she still loves to play with 🙂

  12. Caty October 10, 2012 at 8:16 pm

    There’s a great “Halloween Costume Idea Exchange” thread taking shape on the Bright Horizons Online Community. Definitely check it out if you’re looking for ideas…or consider contributing your own!

  13. jussy cruthird October 21, 2012 at 8:54 pm

    When we were out shopping for our Winter Coats, my four year old decided he wanted to be a skier for Halloween this year. We go him a great new winter coat, for $60 less than it was on sale for in the department stores, which if he gets his way will also serve as his Halloween costume.

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