Shopping for Halloween costumes doesn’t have to be scary. This year, shoppers can find more ways to save time and money. Americans are expected to spend $9 billion on Halloween this year, according to the National Retail Federation. Here are five tips to make the most of what you plan to spend.

Shop discounters

Last year, Target launched a Halloween destination called Hyde & Eek where customers can find Halloween decor and costumes all in one place. Online, the bulk of the prices for Halloween costumes range from $15 to $50. Walmart is also pulling together more Halloween items into one destination. It used to only have costumes, decor and makeup in one section; now, it’s adding Halloween candy.

Take advantage of new apps

Stores are revamping their apps or adding new ones to make it easier to shop for Halloween costumes — and to share. Jo-Ann’s revamped app allows shoppers to share their Halloween costumes with friends on social media. And Party City launched a new app called Spookify that lets customers virtually try on their costumes and makeup.

 

Shop late or shop early

If you don’t need to get the hottest costume of the season, it’s best to shop right before Halloween to get the best deals of the season. Discounts can be up to 50 percent. But as the marketing firm NPD Group’s Marshal Cohen said, “Truly the best time is right after Halloween and store it for next year.” That’s when costume prices are slashed by 75 percent.

 

Use what you have or buy used

Go to your closet and you will most likely find leftovers from past Halloweens such as a witch’s hat or a feather from a flapper’s costume. Or turn your regular clothes into costumes. Shoppers should also turn to thrift stores like Goodwill, which offers both used and new Halloween costumes. Goodwill’s website has a special page that shows how shoppers can create a costume with up to three items from the thrift chain.

Do it yourself

Get ideas from Pinterest or Etsy, or go to the online sites of Jo-Ann’s and Michael’s for ideas. Jo-Ann’s has broadened its assortment to include more ready-made accessories like tutus. On Jo-Ann’s online site, customers can find costumes that can be made in an hour or take three weeks and it separates the project by age and skill level.