Clear the Costume Clutter

I’ve always loved Halloween, and as a kid my favorite part (next to the candy) was figuring out what I’d be. Some of my favorite costume creations were Little Bo Peep; a flapper from the 1920s using a dress from that era that was in the family; and a witch with layers and layers of black skirts which were castoffs from a local Shakespeare theater. My family tended to create costumes from things we had. Today there are many more options for purchasing ready-made costumes…but what to do with the costumes after the trick-or-treating?

First, reduce the single-use costume clutter by using what you already have to create an outfit. Recycle pretend-play clothes (fireman, princess, chef) or dance recital outfits into a costume. When Halloween is done, the costume pieces can go back to being dress up clothes.

If you have lots of old costumes taking up space (especially  valuable closet space) take the time to sort and purge. If you’ve taken pictures of your kids in the costumes as they’ve grown up (and most of us have), all the more reason to let some go.

As you sort, consider saving a few costumes that fall into these categories:

1. Costumes with special sentimental value (“her first costume”). Be sure to store these costumes in a labeled box or bin so you can find them later on. You may even want to use an archival box or tissue paper if you really want to preserve them. 

2. Costumes or accessories that your kids can still fit into or may play with. Keep these together in a special box or bin. Then take the box out on rainy/snowy days for dress up and pretend play. See what crazy combinations of costumes and accessories your children can come up with. The costumes might seem more magical after they have been out of sight for a while. Growing up, my family had a box like this in the attic and it was really fun when I could go up and and see what was in the “costume box.”   

For the costumes that you no longer want, donate them to a charity like Goodwill or The Salvation Army. You can also sell costumes to some consignment stores, or sell them yourself online.

Another idea is to hold a pre-Halloween costume swap with families who have kids of similar ages. This could become a yearly tradition…and even an excuse for a fun family party.

What ideas do you have for costumes after Halloween? Post a comment or send me an email. Happy trick-or-treating!