Love it or loathe it, Halloween still comes around once a year, and each year, the expectation to have a great outfit, that the kids will love, grows. 

Gone are the days of black bags, which could transform a child into anything they wanted to be. You can buy anything you want to nowadays - from unicorns and dragons, dinosaurs and flamingos and spiders and pumpkins.

As Halloween itself grows in popularity in Ireland, so does the need for more than one costume to be in the wardrobe. Kids social calendars are a lot bigger nowadays in the run-up to Halloween than they were years ago, and these things need to be taken into account.

The older the child gets, the more they'll keep changing their minds about what they actually want to be, and with so many different classes, parties and events coming with the obligatory 'Dress-Up Optional' tag (which we all know is not optional when you're trying to negotiate with a 3-year-old!)

But, is there a way around spending a small fortune on a costume that will be worn once and then cast aside? Is there a way to incorporate everyday clothes into the wardrobe of your baby/toddler/child for Halloween?

It's all about thinking outside the box, and being clever with key pieces for the child's wardrobe. For me, I try to upsize so the outfits will last at least a couple of years, and I get the toddler involved in picking what she really wants to dress up as. (We are currently back to wanting to be a clown - which she was last year - and originally wanted to be a witch!)

One of my go-to shops is Mira Mira, based in Sandymount, Dublin. They stock a range of brands, and a couple that stand out for Halloween are:

Big Top Circus Dress by Rock Your Baby
Big Top Circus Dress by Rock Your Baby (on sale at €22.50).

This was our 'main' costume last year and it still fits this year, but be quick, there's only baby sizes left! This with tights, and a little clown hat makes the perfect clown outfit!

The below print comes in a few different variations!This could easily be used to transform a little lady into a jester.

Harlequin Waisted Dress by Rock Your Kid
Harlequin Waisted Dress by Rock Your Kid (€48.00) 

While this funky outfit is another one to add to the clown collection!

Woody Top by Bang Bang Copenhagen (€50.00)

There are also plenty of accessories to help complete the outfit and add to your  'dress-up box' available....but I'd be here all day listing them - especially as there are so many options to match with siblings!

I've also bought from all the brands mentioned here so can personally say 'they wash and wear well!'.

Another shop that I find is an essential to add to my list is English store, Fable Heart. It is another treasure trove to get lost in, but by adding just a couple of these to your child's wardrobe, you'll be able to mix and match for years to come!

A personal favourite of mine is the Red Velvet Hooded Cape (£70.00). 

Little Red Riding Hood anyone?

Also perfect for winter, as I hear so many children who won't wear coats but will wear these!

The Navy Velvet Soldier Three-piece Suit (below) is expensive (£450.00), but what is not to love about it? This outfit can also be purchased as separates - that jacket though!

Velvet Toy Soldier Outfit
Navy Velvet Soldier Three-piece Suit (£450.00)

Fable Heart are also known for their crowns, and a favourite of ours is the Kings Gold Crown (£25.00), and you can also team it with a matching wand for £15.00.

Kings Gold Crown(£25.00)

So many choices that will allow your child to use their imagination!

We also can't ignore Penney's! They've given some really budget friendly outfits that can be worn again and again!

Take this Skeleton Jumper and Trousers combo for example (€10.00 each).

Skeleton Jumper and Trousers combo for example (€10.00 each)

Not just for Halloween, and seeing as Halloween falls on the cusp of winter, it means the kids will be nice and warm!

When it comes to babies, they're not always the easiest to keep clean, but this little sleepsuit means they don't miss out on the action and it can be reused! Unlike a lot of the traditional costumes!!

Skeleton Sleepsuit (€8.00).

The last one is perfect for the little girl who wants to be a witch/cat and can easily be worn throughout the year!

Meow tutu dress black (€12.00)

Each of these outfits can be worn individually, just add a little set of cat ears, clown hat or face paint and away you go. Your child will eventually not want to dress up, so let's have fun with it while we can!