Value for money

Tue, Oct 16, 2012, 01:00

Witch costumes

Marks & Spencer €16

This is not a cheap costume and, despite its price, it does not come with any class of witchy accessories, so they will have to be sourced separately. But at least you can see where your money is going – this is a very well made dress (relatively speaking) and will have a life long after the last of the Halloween swag has been eaten. It is a long, flowing gown with the black velvet (well, velvety polyester) brightened up by two shades of blue and a lot of gold. The gold spider webs are pleasingly glittery and left nice traces on all hands and faces.

Verdict: Lovely but pricey

Star rating: ***

Aldi €4.99

This purple costume is good value for money although not as good as we thought. Admittedly, it is not a

particularly well made outfit and will probably fall to bits within weeks, but really, who cares? The dress has a satiny effect, which is complemented by some netting, and it comes with a sturdy hat. While the hat may be robust, Aldi could scarcely have made the dress any more flimsy and there is no way you could let a child wear only this unless you wanted them to catch their death. This costume works and looks a good bit more expensive than it actually is.

Verdict: Grand

Star rating: ***

Spooktacular Pumpkin Witch €19.99

This is by far the brightest and most well put together costume and it will cause any little girl’s face to light up, not least because of its nuclear orange colour. It is adorned with stars and pumpkins (and what we think might have been a witch’s stiletto). It was the only costume we reviewed to come with sleeves – encrusted with “diamonds” – although they are not the sort of sleeves that would either keep heat in or the cold out. The dress is double layered and comes with a lot of frills, while the hat has extra padding for greater warmth. It is the most elaborate and best costume we saw, and were it not for the price, it would get five stars.

Verdict: Great, apart from the price

Star rating: ***

Tesco €3.99

This is very cheap, but could scarcely look any cheaper than it is. One four-year-old reviewer was particularly taken by the silver and pink stars which adorn the gauze which makes up most of this dress. Her father was less impressed with the flimsiness of this. It is not a complete costume by any means – where’s the hat, the wand, the sleeves? – and it will need a whole lot of accessories before you will be able to send your child out onto the street, so it may be something of a false economy. We would also have questions about the sizing. According to the label it is for five to six-year-olds, but unless your six-year-old is particularly slight they will struggle to squeeze into it.

Verdict: For mean spirits

Star rating: **

Lidl €3.99

This is an excellent costume at a rather remarkable price. It lacks anything by way of frilliness, but we think its simplicity is a key advantage as a small child will be able to get into it without howling for you to dress them. The lack of accoutrements also means that there are fewer elements to tear, so it will last longer too. Once Halloween is done and the absence of any real Halloweeeny markings – and its purple colour – will make it perfect as a cheap Rapunzel dress, which will please any child who has seen the movie Tangled. The hat is also very sturdy and well padded, and will keep little heads warm of a winter’s evening.

Verdict: Spooktacular value

Star rating: *****

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