It’s not quite that November is the best time to buy a Halloween costume, but it is close. For some reason, fall is the peak season for buying costumes for both kids and adults, and the reason for this peak is that this is the time of year when stores start springing inventory, buying stuff to fill their shelves in anticipation of the summer’s business.
People often ask me what are the best time of year to buy a costume. Well, I think it changes from person to person, and from country to country, but if you’re looking at things from the American perspective (I am), here’s my best guess:
Fall 2011 – Fall 2012 – Winter 2013 – Summer 2014
This list obviously doesn’t cover all possible times of year. And there may be other times that would be good as well. But I think that fall is your best bet right now.
More people are willing to buy a costume in the fall than any other season. The best times are at the beginning and end of the year: fall for the start and spring for the finish.
The main reason we like buying costumes in the fall is because it’s not too hot, which makes it easier for us to consider buying a costume. If it was still summer, our bodies would be craving water but not be able to concentrate on whether or not something is good for us.
But what about spring? The weather is nicer then, so it feels more like we’re being good to ourselves when we buy a costume, even though technically we are only being good to ourselves by saving money.
I read the mania for Halloween costumes about five years ago, and was appalled. Like most people I take a certain amount of glee in wearing a costume to work on Halloween. I am not unusual in this regard. We are an imaginative race, and I would argue that it is one of our most admirable qualities as a species.
To me, the idea that anyone would deliberately ruin their own fun by thinking ahead to what they might wear on Halloween is downright creepy.
There are some extremely well-informed people who claim that Halloween is the worst time to buy a costume. Apparently there are fewer people to choose from then at other times of the year, and so you will have been able to get your hands on only one or two costumes, which may not be very good ones. These people advocate buying a costume in September or October instead, even though the other months are also better choices than November or December.
I have decided to take up this issue once again because there is no sign that those who advocate this strategy have actually tried it out and found out whether it works as advertised.
We buy costumes in the fall because it’s the last time we can get them. After Halloween, they’re gone. Many people have their costume ideas ready long before Halloween is even on the calendar. In March, April, and May we have fun looking at costumes. But by June and July we know that if we wait much longer, what we want will be too expensive to justify the expense of buying it.
If you want a costume for October 31 to November 1, or December 24 to December 26, you are out of luck until Thanksgiving or Christmas. The lead-time is too long to make a good investment.
Costumes are mostly made of fabric and plastic. Unless you’re going to wear it all the time, you probably shouldn’t buy a costume you can wear only once.
The exception is halloween, when costumes can be worn every year. But that’s because halloween is a practical problem, not simply one of taste. It’s hard for anyone to go out trick-or-treating on Halloween night without getting a costume. A costume that doesn’t get worn at least once a year is likely to be destined for the trash, because who wants to wear a costume in the first place?
So if you really want that dress or that tuxedo, buy it after halloween, when your chances of wearing it are best
Costumes are a popular way to change your look. But they can be stressful. The costume you like best may not be in style next year. Or it may not be in style at all, and with no returns, you have wasted money.
Of the popular costumes of many years, we have seen: football player-football player (especially for men), girl-girl (women), clown, and cowboys and Indians. These are dated; some of the things people wear now are neither sexy nor scary, but wacky or outrageous.
It is hard to find a good costume that will last more than one Halloween: there is always something new to sell, so it’s never out of style.