How to Store Halloween Costumes

Krista Diamond | Nov 02, 2016 @ 10:43 AM

If you’ve ever dropped more than 50 bucks on a polyester vampire costume, you know the dilemma. Halloween costumes are often too pricey to toss, yet too cheaply made to hang onto forever. Every year come early November, you’re faced with the same problem. In the throes of your candy corn hangover (or actual hangover), you relegate that bumblebee costume to the back of your closet. This year, why not give the rest of your clothes some breathing room and put those Halloween costumes in storage? Here’s how to store them so that the next time you feel like dressing up, you’ll have plenty of choices:

Clean Them

All of that Halloween revelry can lead to stains. Inspect costumes for smudges of chocolate, wine spills or anything else that leaves a mark. This includes fake blood, which is often corn syrup based and can usually be removed with a little TLC. Many store bought costumes need to be hand washed. Check the tags, but if you’re not sure (or if your costume is homemade), err on the side of caution. It’s important to make sure your costumes retain their original shape if they’ve got wire or boning in them, so always lay them flat after washing rather than popping them in the dryer.

Prepare for Storage

There are several routes you can go when it comes to preparing Halloween costumes for storage. What’s best for you will depend on what type of costume you’re storing. If your costume is made of materials that won’t lose their shape if crushed, consider vacuum sealing. This is a real space saver, plus it prevents outside contaminants from getting in. If you’re storing something that can literally get bent out of shape, use a garment bag or some other breathable bag that won’t retain moisture. Avoid garbage bags for this reason. Use acid free tissue paper to line in between costumes that will be folded. In a pinch, old rags or towels can do the trick too.

Putting Costumes in Storage

If you’re able to hang items like masks, accessories or even the costumes themselves in your storage unit, this is ideal. If this isn’t an option, you should still take care to ensure that they won’t be sitting directly on the floor of your unit. Place them on top of something else or use a wood pallet to raise them (and everything else in your storage unit) off of the ground. If in the unlikely event that moisture or pests enter your storage unit, this will safeguard your costumes. And if you’re storing somewhere humid, consider climate control. This is especially important if your costume is made of lace, paper or some other delicate material.

Deciding What to Store

One of the reasons it’s so tempting to throw away a Halloween costume is the simple fact that almost no one wears the same thing several years in a row. That being said, you can always trade costumes with a friend, save your baby’s first Halloween costume for your next bundle of joy or use those angel wings as fairy wings next year. If, however, you’ve got some costumes that you or your little trick or treaters would never be caught dead in the second time around, consider selling them on Craigslist or eBay or donating them to Goodwill or a charity like 'Ween Dream.

Remember, Halloween isn’t just a day. As far as we’re concerned, it’s an entire month where you can watch scary movies, carve a pumpkin and eat as much candy as you want. It’ll be time to trick-or-treat again before you know it, so take inventory of your costumes before you put them in storage, and when you find yourself invited to a whole slew of costume parties next October, be glad that you’ve got options.