Fabiha Khalid's made her son's Gruffalo costume. Image Credit: Instagram/@fabulous_momster

Dust off those capes and bring on the cobwebs! It’s time to go trick or treating. As we hurtle towards Halloween, when cute kiddies will dress up as ghouls, ghosts or their favourite TV characters, it’s time to consider things like budget – after all, how much would you like to spend for a fancy dress outfit that he/she’ll soon outgrow? We asked the experts – aka mums – about how they make sure their kids look cool without a splurge.

Insta user bloggingmum101 tells Gulf News in an interview that the simplest thing to do – especially if you are running late on your plans – is to “Just get white T-shirts and put red hand prints on to decorate”.

Clementina Kongslund's daughter was a pirate last year.

She says, “Rather than having a Halloween-themed outfit, I buy fancy dress outfits that can be worn for any occasion so I can get multiple wears out of it.”

Origin story
Halloween traces its roots back to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain, when people would wear costumes to ward off ghosts. Then in the eighth century, Pope Gregory III announced that November 1 would be the day that honoured all saints. Some of the old Samhain customs became incorporated in the celebrations. The word hallow means to honour something as holy, and so October 31 became All Hallow’s Eve – the evening before the day saints are honoured.

For Dubai-based mums Megan and Rebecca, who hail from Sweden and America, it’s all about keeping things flexible. “Don’t plan too far in advance especially with small kids since they can change their minds right up until the last minute.”

As for group sibling themes, they are tough to navigate but not impossible. “Group sibling themes are fun but only when you can get everyone on board, what’s most important is everyone is happy in their costume,” the mums behind the Instagram account JustWomums add.

Clementina Kongslund is all for recycling outfits.

No after-party

This time around Halloween falls on a school night – Sunday – and that means no after-parties with major sugar rushes. “Everything is arranged for trick-or-treat and probably will be no after-party as it's a school night,” confirms mum-of-two Clementia Kongslund.

Kongslund’s trick for keeping costs low is simple: recycle. “I do my best to get the kids wear the same costumes like the previous years if they still fit, however now they dress as a team. A group of kids decide what they want to be and everyone in that group dress accordingly. They usually go for witches but let's see what they'll decide. They are older now, so it is not my decision anymore,” she explains.

For Dubai-based mums Megan and Rebecca's kids wore cute - but wallet-friendly - costumes last year.

Her other tips for keeping spends low includes buying pre-loved outfits. She says: “I try to get them as cheap as possible, most of them are second- hand items. So I get dresses for like 20-50 dirhams that in stores costs at least 100 by using our residential community Facebook group.”

Indian expat Fabiha Khalid says her children love Halloween. “I often joke that my children wait for the next Halloween from the 1st of November,” she explains.

From buying to making masks at home

She has ventured into DIY costumes but that evolution took time. “As a novice, I would go ahead and buy our costumes, easy-peasy. That was also when my son was two years old. It was one superhero one year and another, the next year.

For Dubai-based mums Megan and Rebecca, who hail from Sweden and America, it’s all about keeping things flexible

“But now, it isn’t so simple. Last year, my son wanted to dress up as the Gruffalo. At first, I tried to find the costume online. It cost a fortune. I decided I’d make it myself. Enter YouTube tutorials on 'how to make a Gruffalo costume' . I binge watched videos of that and found the easiest one and began. A papier-mâché Gruaffalo mask it was to be.

Indian expat Fabiha Khalid’s tips from years of costume buying:
1. The kids will anyway be unhappy/uncomfortable or some zip will come undone
2. If you’re buying superhero costumes online, try buying a size bigger because they run a little small.
3. If you think it’s something your children will use again, its worth spending money on it.
4. A lot of preloved stores carry costumes, it’s a good idea to buy from them and re-use
5. Repurpose what material/clothes you already have and try to make an outfit vs buying something. Involve kids in this process, my children give me the most insane and the brightest of ideas.
6. If you’re going trick-or-treating with little ones, keep it short and keep healthy snacks around.

"Now, even though I consider myself the 'creative kind' , this was a herculean task even for my standard. But I persevered, because, you know, nothing’s worse than disappointing your children. And must I say, I really enjoyed the whole process (and save a few hundred dirhams in the process).

“This year, I am wiser (meaning not ready to put in so much effort for two costumes). My seven-year-old wants to be Bigfoot and my three-year-old, a dinosaur.

"I’ve been saving shoe boxes and I’ll be turning them into “big feet” and an old Amazon box turns into a dinosaur. The pumpkins are here already and one has also been carved,” she says.

Most popular in 2021
Wondering which characters are playing most on people’s minds? According to a study conducted by design resource site Design Bundles, we’ll see a wave of ‘Squid Games’ costumes at parties. Other outfits that made the top ten searches include Catwoman, Harley Quinn, Joker, Spider-Man, Pennywise, Harry Potter and Wonder Woman.

“This year, we’ll be doing our first trick or treating in Dubai. The kids are mighty stoked about it. Though the day after Halloween is a bit of a nightmare of its own causes of lack of sleep and the sugar rush,” she adds.

These mums are ready for the night of All Hallow’s Eve – are you?

What's your Halloween costume hack? Tell us at