One of the most important purchases during the Halloween season is a Halloween costume.
Whether you plan on dressing up or have children who need costumes, you can find tons of options at the pop-up Halloween stores throughout the country.
The problem with Halloween costumes is that they can be quite expensive.
Most Americans spend around $33.59 on a costume, according to a report by Yahoo.
Here are 10 reasons why Halloween costumes are so expensive.
Why Are Halloween Costumes So Expensive? (Top 10 Reasons)
Depending on where you shop, walking into a Halloween store can be like walking into a candy shop for those who love the holiday.
The stores feature walls filled with costumes, tons of decorations for your yard, and accessories that can complete your costume.
It’s the accessories that can make Halloween costumes quite expensive.
A lot of costumes come in bags.
They feature the main pieces that you need to look the part.
However, not every costume comes with all the accessories you need to bring your look to the next level.
For example, you could dress up in tattered clothes and be a zombie.
However, if you really want to impress the neighborhood, then you’ll also spend money on makeup, fake wounds, fake teeth, and other gory accessories.
Costume shopping doesn’t always stop at the costume.
Since some costumes purposefully leave out certain items, you have to purchase them separately.
It’s easy to go overboard with accessories, too.
Once the creative juices start flowing, you might have an entire ensemble planned that’s movie-screen worthy.
The problem is those accessories can start to add up and become pricey.
While you may have visited the store for a simple Halloween costume, you suddenly find your cart filled with a bunch of accessories, too.
This makes shopping for a costume very expensive.
Halloween costumes are expensive because you often have to buy accessories to complement your outfit.
2. Popular Characters
Halloween costumes are also expensive when you want to dress as a specific character.
For example, if you want to dress up as Iron Man, Scarlett Witch, or Harry Potter, then you can expect the price to be higher.
That’s because those characters are in high demand.
Whenever a new movie or show comes out, you can expect costumes to follow.
Fans want to dress up as their favorite characters because it demonstrates the love they have for them.
The problem with dressing up as a popular character is that a lot of other people want the same costume.
This means there’s a lot of demand for particular costumes.
The result is a higher price tag.
The reason they’re more expensive is that Halloween companies only produce so many costumes a year.
Once the costumes sell out, there aren’t any more available.
That sort of scarcity means that high demand is going to increase the price substantially.
Another reason is that Halloween stores know that certain costumes are going to sell better than others.
Since they want to make as much profit as possible, they’ll put a slightly higher markup on those characters versus less-popular characters.
That’s because they know that fans of that character are likely going to pay a higher price for the chance of dressing up as them.
They may not be happy about the higher price, but it’s not going to stop them from buying the costume.
As a result, the Halloween store earns a good amount of money by selling costumes of popular characters at higher prices.
Halloween costumes are expensive when they feature a popular character from pop culture.
3. Licensing Fees
Some of the Halloween costumes that feature popular characters come with licensing fees.
To make these costumes, the manufacturers need to acquire a license that gives them permission to use the character in their costume designs.
Without a license from the holder of the intellectual property, manufacturers could face a lawsuit.
That’s because they don’t own the rights to the character or their appearance.
That’s why you’ll sometimes see costumes that look very similar to certain popular characters but that have different names.
“Dragon Mother” instead of “Daenerys Targaryen,” for example.
“Superhero” instead of “Iron Man.”
Intellectual property holders often partner with certain manufacturers to make their costumes.
The manufacturer gets the license to make the costume, and then they split the profit with the intellectual property holder.
Another way that manufacturers can make character costumes is to pay for a license.
Some intellectual property holders will allow certain companies rights to the character for a fee.
In this case, the holder doesn’t always get a share of the profit.
Instead, they get their money from the fee that the manufacturer paid.
In both instances, the manufacturer loses some money to use the character.
To make up for that loss, they must put a higher price tag on the costume.
This ensures they cover their losses and still generate a profit.
If you want to buy a costume that is someone’s intellectual property, then you can expect it to be more expensive.
Halloween costumes are expensive when their manufacturers have to pay a licensing fee or share profits with the intellectual property holder.
Costumes weren’t always available at stores.
For a long time, if people wanted to dress up for Halloween, they had to make their own costumes.
Making costumes dates back to the origins of Halloween.
It began as a Celtic ritual during Samhain which marked the end of summer.
The Celts recognized only two seasons.
There was summer and winter, which they called the season of the dying.
On Samhain, they believed that old spirits would visit the earth.
To protect themselves from evil spirits, they’d dress up in animal hides and feathers to disguise themselves as animals.
The belief was that if the evil spirits couldn’t recognize them as humans, then they’d leave them alone.
As the centuries passed, the celebration of Samhain also changed.
It became more commercialized once candy manufacturers got involved.
People started making costumes at home to go trick-or-treating.
The problem with making your own costume is that it often requires you to have some experience with sewing.
If you want to make a costume from scratch, for example, you’d have to cut fabric and then sew it all together.
Not everyone has the time to learn how to sew just for one night of fun.
Costume companies saw an opportunity and started making and sewing together costumes for people to buy instead.
People no longer had to make witches or ghosts or skeletons on their own.
They could simply buy the costume and spend the time that they would have spent sewing doing something else.
Of course, when it comes to convenience, it often means you pay a more expensive price.
You’re basically paying for something that you don’t necessarily need but that makes your life easier.
Since it’s a bit more of an indulgent purchase, the supplier can sell it at a higher price.
Halloween costumes are expensive because they’re convenient.
5. High-Quality Materials
There’s no doubt that there are low-quality costumes and high-quality costumes.
While even low-quality Halloween costumes can be quite expensive, it’s the high-quality costumes that really reach high prices.
There are several reasons why high-quality costumes are more expensive.
The primary reason has to do with using high-quality materials.
A basic, cheap, costume will use cheap materials.
These materials tend to be easy to rip and damage.
Certain parts can even fall off.
That isn’t the case with high-quality costumes.
These use better materials that are stretchier and more durable.
Costumes made this way are ideal if you’re out trick-or-treating and doing a lot of walking.
Even if you’re at a party, having a durable costume is important if you plan on dancing or playing games.
High-quality materials cost more to use since manufacturers price them higher.
Manufacturers put more effort into their higher-quality raw materials to ensure they’re the best.
Since the costume maker must take on more expenses to use higher-quality materials, they sell the costumes at higher prices to cover their costs.
Another reason high-quality costumes are more expensive is that they come in more sizes.
Cheaper costumes tend to come in basic small, medium, and large sizes.
High-quality costumes have more variety which allows people to get a costume that fits them better.
When the costume fits better, it’s more comfortable to wear and looks better.
Making more sizes available costs the manufacturer more time and more materials.
They have higher prices as a result.
Halloween costumes are expensive when they’re high-quality because of the cost of materials and manufacturing.
Some Halloween fans will go above and beyond when it comes to their costumes.
They may order a custom-made costume from a seamstress or someone who makes a living making costumes and cosplays.
By working with an independent costume maker, you’re going to have a very expensive costume.
That’s because the independent costume maker is working specifically for you.
They don’t rely on mass-produced costumes to make their profit.
You’re also getting a costume made specifically for your measurements.
When they’re finished with the costume, it should fit you perfectly.
This costs them more time and often, more materials since they may need to buy more to ensure the costume fits you.
Finally, you can add a number of different accessories and details to your costume.
If you want something that’s a replica of something on TV, for example, then that’s going to take a lot of time and effort.
It’s also going to take skill.
You’re paying for all these elements when you order a costume from an independent costume maker.
They’re using their skills and their equipment to make you the costume of your dreams.
It also takes a good amount of time for the costume maker to finish a costume.
Since some of these independent makers also work a standard 9-5 job, they have to work on your costume in their free time.
That means less time with their own families and friends.
While you’re going to end up with a costume that knocks everyone’s store-bought costume out of the park, you’re also going to pay a high price to do so.
Halloween costumes are expensive when you order a custom one from an independent costume maker.
7. Supply Chain Problems
One of the problems plaguing Halloween stores and causing their prices to rise is supply chain problems.
In 2021, WCNC news reported that Halloween stores were having problems filling their shelves with new products.
They cited supply chain issues as the primary reason.
Costumes, decorations, and even candy were waiting at various ports across the country with no one to deliver them.
That’s because there’s been a massive problem with truck driver shortages.
CBS News looked into some of the reasons behind the truck driver shortage.
One of the biggest reasons was the bottleneck that occurred during COVID-19.
When it hit, it caused many of the training facilities to close or limit the number of students that they could take on.
As a result, there weren’t enough truck drivers graduating to start working.
The industry also has a high turnover rate.
Without the new drivers to take over for the drivers quitting, it created a shortage.
This causes a problem with the supply chain because it means there are fewer products crossing borders to their respective stores.
Since it slows the process, it can take some stores longer to get new products on the shelves.
Regarding Halloween costumes, it means that there are fewer costumes to go around.
Since there’s a shortage, stores often increase prices on the costumes that they do have.
This helps mitigate demand since not everyone is going to want to spend a lot of money on a costume that they’re going to wear once.
Until more truck drivers get on the road, another shortage will likely occur and impact future Halloween sales.
Halloween costumes are expensive because of problems with the supply chain.
8. Marketing Costs
Halloween stores usually act like pop-up stores.
They’re only around for a month or two, and then they’re gone.
This helps them save on costs since they don’t have to worry about constantly supplying their store with inventory throughout the year.
Most people buy Halloween decorations and costumes around the holiday, then they don’t buy anything Halloween-related afterward.
To keep a Halloween store open all year long would be a waste of money.
However, the problem with being a pop-up store is that people forget about you.
They also don’t always know where to find you since you might switch buildings depending on who offers the lowest rent prices.
As a Halloween store, you need to let people know about you quickly and efficiently.
The best way to do that is with a lot of marketing.
It’s common for Halloween stores to spend a lot of money on marketing.
Whether it’s ads in the newspaper or on the TV, they have to work fast to bring attention to their stores.
That’s because they’re only open for a short amount of time.
During that time, they need to sell as many costumes and other products as possible.
Since Halloween stores spend a good amount of money on ads and marketing, they have high operational costs.
To cover those costs, they need to ensure that they’re selling their products at high prices.
Since costumes tend to be the item that consumers buy the most of, they know that they can rely on their costumes to support their marketing budget.
Halloween costumes are expensive because of marketing costs associated with running a Halloween pop-up store.
9. Last-Minute Shopping
If you find yourself shopping for a Halloween costume last-minute, then you’re going to find expensive prices.
That’s because most Halloween stores are going to have a very low stock of costumes by that point.
The mad rush earlier in the season usually clears them out well.
Since pop-up Halloween stores have been operational for some time now, they’ve gotten better at knowing how much product to stock their stores with.
Since you’re shopping at the last minute for your costume, you have to choose from the costumes that remain.
Some of those costumes may be in stock because they were already expensive to begin with.
Other costumes may have higher prices now because the supply is so low.
When demand for costumes remains relatively high, but supply is low, then the price for costumes increases.
If you’re one of the customers doing last-minute shopping, then you’ll see the effect of supply and demand in real-time.
Halloween costumes are expensive when you shop at the last minute for one because supply is low, but demand is still high.
10. Seasonal Products
The final reason why Halloween costumes are expensive is that they’re seasonal products.
Unless you attend comic conventions, then there’s a good chance that you only wear a costume once a year.
That also means that you only spend money on a costume once a year.
Halloween stores need to make as much money as possible during the Halloween season.
The profit they earn needs to allow the business to survive through the rest of the year while also saving enough to invest in more products the following year.
Since they make their money during just a couple of months of the year, they have to ensure that their products are going to earn them enough of a profit.
That means higher prices.
Halloween costumes are expensive because there’s only one part of the year in which Halloween stores can make a big profit on them.
Halloween costumes can become pretty expensive.
Whether you’re going for a standard costume-in-a-bag or paying a costume maker to make a custom costume for you, you usually end up paying a fairly high price.
The cost of materials, licensing fees, and other operational costs are some of the reasons why Halloween costumes are expensive.