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Written by:  Odile Fredericks
Date: October 12, 2011

Here's an all-too familiar dilemma facing parents: Halloween is approaching and your child wants a great costume, but money is tight at your house. You could make a costume, except you don't sew. Here are three cost-saving solutions:

* Costume Swaps
Take part in a Halloween costume swap, an inexpensive and easy way to get what your kids need this year and get rid of items you don't want from years' past.  Through Oct. 22, thredUP—an online site where families swap kids' clothes, toys, books and more—is offering lots of "Halloween-themed" boxes that include Halloween costumes, décor and more on its site, www.thredup.com. To take part, browse the Halloween boxes on thredUP(www.thredup.com) listed by moms across the country.  Pick a box for $5 plus shipping.  Next, list a box with your child's outgrown Halloween costume, gently used Halloween-themed clothing and items online.  When another mom picks your Halloween box, send it for free. For more info: http://www.thredup.com/halloween_costume_swap

* Go Local, Unique, Historical
Not sure you want to go online for a swap? If you're looking for a costume that's more realistic than monstrous, think historic. Dressing as real people is a fun way to teach kids history as you research a real-life character. And you won't see your child's on every street corner. The N.C. Museum of History in downtown Raleigh is offering interesting costume ideas for kids to dress up as characters from North Carolina history. Their suggestions include:

Ava Gardner: movie star from Smithfield
Caleb Bradham: inventor of Pepsi-Cola
Charlotte Hawkins Brown: educator and founder of Palmer Memorial Institute
Conrad Reed: a 12-year-old boy who discovered a 17-pound gold nugget in Cabarrus County in 1799
Edward Teach aka Blackbeard: North Carolina's most notorious pirate
Georgia Ann Thompson "Tiny" Broadwick: the first lady of parachuting
Manteo: Croatan Indian who aided the early colonists
Max Roach: American jazz percussionist, drummer and composer
Orville and Wilbur Wright: inventors of first successful powered airplane that flew on Dec. 17, 1903
Penelope Barker: Organizer and hostess of the Edenton Tea Party
Sequoyah: a Cherokee Indian who created a written language for his people

If you don't see a match for you there, museum staff suggests you try these resources:
Famous North Carolinians: http://www.secretary.state.nc.us/kidspg/famous.htm
History Highlights: http://ncmuseumofhistory.org/nchh/index.html
NCpedia: http://ncpedia.org/biography

The N.C. History Museum is inviting kids to dress like their favorite N.C. historical characters and attend a Children's Costume Contest and Parade at 1 p.m. on Nov. 5 at the museum's Celebrate NC History Festival. The festival will run from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and marks the opening of the museum's largest exhibit The Story of North Carolina, which covers 14,000 years of the state's history Admission to the festival and the exhibit is free, and weekend parking is free. Three winners will receive a prize. You'll find details here.

* Save on New Costumes
Two great ideas for finding and saving on Halloween costumes come from Andrea Woroch, a money-saving expert for Kinoli Inc. If you'd prefer not to exchange costumes with stranger, ask your co-workers if they have costumes they're interested in trading with yours.

But if all else fails, and you decide to buy a new costume, Woroch suggests you check sites like FreeShipping.org for money-saving coupons and free shipping offers for such popular costume shops as Spirit Halloween and Costume Kingdom.

See how you can win a great Halloween getaway, get free Scary Face Pancakes and find more costume ideas in our Fall Fun Guide





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