By GalTime.com Sr Editor Jessica Ashley
How much did you spend on costumes this year?In the eight years I've been outfitting my son as a Star Wars character, furry animal or superhero, this is the first Halloween I've had to put a cap on spending for the costume.
Crazy enough, the cap was placed on the wig he decided was THE MOST IMPORTANT PART of the costume. I'd already spent $40 on the bodysuit strangess/hilarity, which is not far off from the $30 Batman suit with sculpted muscles from a few years ago, the $35 Clone Trooper after that and the $27 construction worker in late toddlerhood. It is slightly less than the $60 Jack Sparrow spree of last Halloween -- damn you, makers of pre-fab costumes with enticing, awesome accessories not included.
With the wig, my kid's second-grade costume tallied $56. If he wants any other accessories, he's going to have to dig them out of the thousand-dollar costume box in his closet.
That's how my brother and I put together our costumes in what my son calls the "olden days," actually from the late '70's to the mid-'80's. My mom did some basic sewing, beading and face-painting to turn an old costume or whatever we could snag out of my dad's wardrobe into a creative costume. But the basics were upcycled, before that was a frugal-chic Pinterest term, and costumes went from Princess Leah to alien queen to Bride of Frankenstein in a matter of seasons.
Since most kids I spy on the playground today have store-bought costumes, I am surprised I spend double what the average American does on a Halloween get-up. According to the National Retail Federation, the average citizen in this country will spend $28.65 on a costume this year, up two bucks from last year.
Add in candy and decorations, and the average tab is upped to $79.82, about $6.50 more than the 2011 pricetag. Total Halloween spending in the U.S. is projected at $8 billion.
Related: DIY Halloween Costume Ideas
Let's be honest: It's a trick to say no to an adorable child who is absolutely set on being some character that costs a crazy amount of cash to create. And costume retailers are savvy enough to know that we will dole out the money in the end because this time of life is short, time is shorter, the pictures are priceless and whining is irritating.
I'm not interested in contributing any more than I already do to the national Halloween shopping indulgence. It might be time to participate in a costume swap (cracked construction hat or dinged-up light sabre anyone?) or go old-school and insist my kid become adept at dress-upcycling.
If that fails, who is up for starting an underground parent revolution to make Anakin Giraffe Hybrid Bodysuits the NEXT HOT KID'S COSTUME for 2013?
Fess up! How much did you spend on kid costumes this year?
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