The Halloween Costume Shopping Secret Retailers Don’t Want You to Know [Updated]

Screen Shot 2014-09-08 at 3.49.47 PMIf you’re like me, you’ve already received a few Halloween costume catalogs in the mail from retailers like BuyCostumes.com or Party City. Take a look at them, and you might notice something weird.

The costumes are the same. The photos are the same. In fact, a handful of costume manufacturers are behind 80% of the costumes you see out there. Knowing that will allow you to save big, because although the costumes are the same, the prices are not.

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Take the toddler Captain America costume shown here. It’s distributed by a company called Buy Seasons. The photo top left is from OrientalTrading.com, where it’s $20.77 right now. The image at right (hauntingly familiar, eh?) is from Target.com, where the same costume is on sale for a low $15.97. As of this writing, it’s $19.99 at BuyCostumes.com, $22.09 at Kmart.com, $24.28 at Amazon and $21.24 at Kohls.com. Walk into other retailers and you’ll see the same costumes on the racks.

The lesson? When you see the costumes you (or your kids) want, don’t buy them then. Find the brand name (look for something capitalized), Google it, and do some bargain shopping. Many stores are offering discounts of up to 30% right now on costumes and free shipping to boot.

Some stores, like Disney Store and Pottery Barn Kids have more unique costumes that aren’t carried everywhere, so keep that in mind, too.

(Of course for the best bargains, there’s still time to shop your favorite second hand sources–kiddie consignment stores, Craigslist, ebay, thrift stores, and even Freecycle.)

The Early Shopper’s Guide to Halloween Costume Savings

The Early Shopper's Guide to Halloween Costume SavingsIt’s early September, and you’ve probably noticed that the Halloween costumes are already out at many stores. Should you buy now? Wait until later? When can you expect the best deals?

Here’s an early shopper’s guide to Halloween costume savings. Enjoy!

  • If you like the idea of a handmade costume but don’t think you can do it yourself, check Etsy.com for handmade costumes for less. Etsy also offers lots of accessories to spice up costumes that you may be making or buying. Search for “Halloween Costumes” to find thousands of offerings. Order early.
  • Start watching your local Freecycle.org board now for costume freebies.
  • Try ebay.com for good deals on second-hand costumes.
  • Start shopping consignment stores and thrift stores now for the best selection. Checking in at your local Craigslist board’s not a bad idea either. Used costumes are a great savings. After all, most kids only wear them once or twice.
  • Want a new costume? Do your research now, but wait until you can save at least 30% to buy (25% off if you’re shopping at DisneyStore). Start by making a list of possibilities and scout out a few retailers that carry your top picks. Write down the prices, and make your target price about 70% of full price (or less). Then keep an eye out for sales
  • If you like shopping flash sale sites like Zulily, keep an eye out there for costumes there. I’ve already started seeing them. Be sure to take shipping charges and shipping dates into consideration.
  • When should you buy? We should start seeing deeper discounts on costumes soon. Look for 25% to 40% off online. Retailers will also offer shipping deals and extra savings via coupon codes to help move their wares.
  • Procrastination means better prices, but less selection. Wait until mid-October to buy a costume and you’ll find prices of around 40% off.

Readers, Share your advice below! Do you make your own costumes? If so, what are some easy ones to make? Do you buy your child’s costume? How much do you pay? Where do you find the best deals?

Free Shipping at Gymboree Today [Plus 40% Off]

Screen Shot 2014-09-01 at 9.44.38 AMShipping is free today only at Gymboree.com. Use coupon code DAYOFF at checkout. Add that savings to their Labor Day Sale–40% off site-wide with clearance items up to 70% off.

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40% Off and Free Shipping at The Children’s Place [Labor Day Sale]

Screen Shot 2014-09-01 at 9.35.06 AMTake 40% off your order at The Children’s Place online with coupon code SAVEFORTY3 today only.

Basic denim is just $7.20 after coupon. The clearance section’s still chock full of tees, shorts and more, as well.

Shipping is free on all orders today, too.

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28% off Britax B-Ready this Weekend [Other Britax Strollers On Sale, Too]

Screen Shot 2014-08-30 at 9.32.18 AMHere’s your chance to get the Britax B-Ready stroller at 28% off. It’s $359.99 at Amazon and other retailers (AlbeeBaby.com, for instance).

Other Britax strollers are also on sale.

Related:

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27% to 29% Off BOB Revolution this Weekend

Screen Shot 2014-08-30 at 9.16.23 AMBOB Revolution strollers are on sale this weekend at Amazon and other retailers.

I’m seeing this sale at other retailers, too. AlbeeBaby.com has the same prices, for example.

Related: 30% Off Britax Marathon G4, 28% Off Boulevard, More

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30% Off Britax Marathon G4, 28% Off Boulevard, More

Screen Shot 2014-08-30 at 9.03.23 AMAwesome! I wasn’t expecting to see a big discount on Britax seats so soon after the last sale.

I’m seeing this sale at other retailers, too. AlbeeBaby.com has the same prices, for example.

I haven’t seen any expiration dates on this sale, but I’m guessing it’s this weekend only.

Related: 27% to 29% Off BOB Revolution this Weekend

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$10 Off Skip Hop Diaper Bags at Diapers.com [$3 Wet/Dry Bags, More]

Screen Shot 2014-08-30 at 8.47.58 AMRight now at Diapers.com, take $10 off the purchase of a Skip Hop diaper bag with coupon code SKIPDIAPER10.

While this is not the deepest discount ever, it does let you save on the bag YOU want  rather than making you stick with the one pattern that’s on sale.

Some of the bags are already on sale, so they’re extra good deals with coupon. The Skip Hop Dash Deluxe bag in black, for example, is $40.79 after discount.

There are some GREAT deals on Skip Hop wet/dry bags. They’e only $2.99 after discount.

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.99 Cards at Cartstore.com [Labor Day Sale]

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All cards are 99 cents today at Cardstore.com. Use coupon code DDCCK4830 at checkout.

Choose from note cards, birthday cards, baby announcement cards, and more.

Ends 9/1.

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Up to 60% Off during Pottery Barn Kids Labor Day Sale

Screen Shot 2014-08-29 at 1.07.15 PMSave up to 60% during the Labor Day Sale at Pottery Barn Kids.

  • Now’s your chance to save up to 40% on popular backpacks, lunch kits and more. Many ship free, too.
  • You’ll also find discounts on outdoor toys (up to 50% off)
  • You won’t want to miss PBK’s furniture clearance event, either.
  • I’m even seeing a few Anywhere chairs on sale.

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