1. Read the fine print.
Know exactly what costume pieces and accessories you're getting before buying. "We're really careful to list and detail everything that is included so there are no surprises," says McConahay, who is vice president and co-owner of AnniesCostumes.com. As with any consumer goods, read the return and exchange policy before making a purchase.
2. Predict the weather.
Before you buy, think about what the weather may be like on October 31. Leotards and tights help little girls stay warm underneath a skirted costume, McConahay says. For boys or girls, long sleeve T-shirts under their costumes add a layer of warmth.
3. Know the right size.
"Keep in mind that a children's size 4-6 is the clothing size, not an age range," McConahay says. For any costume on AnniesCostumes.com, the sizes of women's costumes are based on dress sizes, while the sizes for men's costumes are based on jacket sizes.
4. Buy early.
Don't wait until the last minute to purchase a Halloween costume, especially if you're ordering online. "Baby costumes are always bought early," McConahay says, "If you do buy early, calculate the age the baby will be on Halloween and buy the costume based on his or her expected size. "This goes for all infants and kids, too." And don't wait to find costumes for teens and adults, McConahay says. Those go fast as well.
5. Try it on.
Take the costume out of the bag well before October 31, just in case it doesn't fit. Steam or iron the costume before wearing it. "Treat a Halloween costume like an outfit for a special event," McConahay says. "That's the way to make the most of it."
BONUS TIP for BLOG Readers:
Makeup Tip: Do a practice run with your makeup. Halloween makeup can be detailed and even complicated, but practice makes perfect! Usually there is enough makeup for more than one application, but you might want to purchase enough to ensure that you can practice. It doesn't have to be a waste, use the opportunity for some great photos to share with friends! Start getting ready early for your Halloween party or event, just like you would for any other special occasion you get dressed up for.