Still no costume? Pay your kid to wear last year’s!

Brook is one practical woman.

When my daughter was in Kindergarten I made her an elaborate, time-intensive, and expensive Sailor Moon costume. Facing the prospect of sewing or shelling out for another costume, I offered to pay her $10 if she wore the same costume the next year. In second grade she chose to be a cowgirl, and in 3rd grade, she made another $10.

I got off lucky this year. My daughter wanted to wear the same costume she wore last year. Fortunately it's a too-big dress from Goodwill I "altered" with safety pins, so she won't outgrow it for at least 10 years.

More: Easy Halloween tips


  1. Ross says

    Bribing early has set a pretty strong expectation that money shall be exchanged if things aren’t going to my kid’s advantage. We try ti re-use the same costume, but put in a little twist to make it new to him. Last year- Batman. This year – Batman with some battle damage and a little fake blood.

  2. Brian says

    I’m sorry, but this is one of the stupidest “parenting” ideas that I’ve ever heard.

    I can’t get behind the idea of financially bribing my own kid because I’m afraid of a tantrum. “I got off lucky this year?” Seriously? Who’s in charge, anyway?

  3. Brian says

    I’d like to retract my comment about “getting off lucky this year” – I’d misunderstood that as part of the financial bribe post and didn’t realize that it was separate commentary. Sorry, Asha!

  4. Sarah says

    I totally agree – I couldn’t believe it when I saw the title. How about just make them wear it? No money involved.

  5. mes says

    Not my favorite hack. My son would have happily worn his old costume this year if it had still fit him. When I was little, there were no options of what to “be” for Halloween. We wore what was available, be it last year’s costume, older brother’s costume from last year, older cousin’s hand-me down costume, or whatever mother put together for us. And we were happy about it…No payouts necessary.

  6. Regifter says

    How about paying another parent for their kid’s last year’s costume? I paid $8 (total, including shipping) on eBay for two used costumes for my girls. Granted, that was a great deal, but even the week before Halloween, I saw that Rite-Aid had all its costumes marked half off, which meant they started as low as $6.

  7. none says

    Who says kids even need to wear a costume and go trick-or-treating? I guess I’m a killjoy, but trick-or-treating does not do my kids any good — going around door to door, pretty much begging for candy that is just empty, nutritionless calories anyway. If they have a costume for them to wear, fine, they’ll wear it and go if they want. If they don’t, there’s no law that says they must “wear a costume that evening and go trick-or-treating.”

  8. Frank says

    Wow. talk about lazy parenting. How about, “This is your costume. Wear it or don’t go out”?

    One of the worst things you can do is constantly bribe your kids. They’ll never learn to do things on their own or because it’s the right hting to do, or that it’s just something they need to do.

    I hope in your case, it’s a once a year thing.

    And $10? Hello… We give our kindergartner nickles and dimes for teeth. They don’t need money, they just need to learn what it is and what each one is worth.

  9. Frank says

    And to the poster right above mine.. guess what? No costume: no candy.

    I hope you aren’t depriving your kids the chance to have some plain-and-simple fun.

  10. Jennifer says

    We’re having a hard time coming up with games/activities this year too. My son is 6 and very much wants a ‘fire and ice/exploding things’ party. He’s been very into volcanoes and geysers lately. Trouble is, loud noises hurt his ears. Balloon-popping relay races, for example, would terrify him. Can anyone suggest some good group activities or games that involve explosions without hte noise? Thanks!