Halloween is a great opportunity to start a family tradition. Many families enjoy making memories like spooky themed menus, trick-or-treating, or yard décor. But if you are still searching for a tradition to involve the entire family, costumes are the place to start. Here are a few ideas to help you make this Halloween one to remember.

Costumes on a Budget

Some of the best Halloween costumes utilize what you already have. Look in your closet, garage, or the thrift store to find something that can be turned into a memorable costume. Hit up the after-Halloween sales to buy future costumes for the best prices of the year.

IMG_3792 - CopyPlan for the Future

Want a costume you can reuse? Halloween costumes can make great dress-ups for children. Add some boots and gloves to super-hero pajamas, and you have a costume plus usable pajamas they will love to wear! One year I found a $5 fleece zip-up jacket, appliqued some felt in the shape of a lightning bolt, and created my son’s Flash costume. The jacket became a favorite piece of clothing to wear year-round.

Choose a Theme

Choose a favorite story, historical event, or movie and make it happen! It can be fun for each member of the family to become a character and think about similarities and differences. Make a family night to prepare by reading or watching a show to get it just right. And children will have even more fun if adults join in the fun with dressing up.

Photograph, Photograph, Photograph

Pictures can make the memory last. Although the costumes will only be worn once or twice, pictures will live on. Keep an album to compare growth and costume ideas from over the years. It is bound to be a favorite for years to come. Your children can be proud of the costumes that were a success, and laugh at the ones that were not. There is no shortage of great backdrops for the season either. An old barn, a decorated yard, or even a pumpkin will help to give your photos a polished look.

Here are a few of my favorites:

Kristin Nilles created a lasting memory with a homemade pregnancy costume. This would be a great idea for a “baby’s first” photo series.


While our son’s birth mom was visiting in October, we decided to head to a family costume party. We found a cowboy hat in the closet and paired it with braids. David loves to see pictures with his birth mom.


The Bennetts did a themed family costume. The father was the beekeeper, the mother was the queen bee, and their little one the bumble bee.


The Hutchinsons found this lobster costume at a second-hand shop and decided they’d both eat her up! They bought the chef hats in a two-pack from Amazon.com.

Our son joined in the fun (although living in different states), by dressing up as a chef, just like his birth dad!


The Broadbent family takes it to the next level. Every member of the family contributes to the costume for the year. And somehow the kids even appear in character for the photos!




This dragon costume was a garage sale find for $3. Although Mikey didn’t tolerate wearing the costume for long, we managed to get a great smile from him that definitely screams “Happy Halloween!”


Neve chose her costume based on her name. Her middle name is Portuguese for “snow,” so she has always felt a kinship with Snow White. Look for ways that you can personalize a costume for your child.  

Lobster and Butter

Another take on the lobster/chef theme. Add in a little butter.


Are you a last minute kind of family? No costume needed for this Halloween memory!