See that blazer above? I bought it earlier today for $6.99 at Goodwill. It’s an Alfred Dunner ladies size 8 blazer, but on Oct. 31, it will be part of my 11-year-old’s Doctor Who costume for Halloween. It’s not quite perfect, though.

Perfect would be an actual tweed blazer with brown suede patches on the elbows and buttons on the correct side that was made for a young man. I found one on eBay. I told myself I’d bid as high as $15 for it. It went for $81! Either tweed is in fashion for tweens right now or there are parents willing to pay a pretty penny to outfit their kids as the 11th Doctor.

I’m not one of those parents. I love that he wants to be Doctor Who. Just like I loved that last year he wanted to be John Lennon. The year before that he wanted to be The Dread Pirate Roberts from “The Princess Bride.” I love that he doesn’t want to be the same thing all his friends are being. His choices have meant I don’t have to buy expensive superhero costumes. It’s much easier to piece together John Lennon or a pirate all in black than it is to create Spider-Man. Spider-Man you have to buy unless you’re very crafty. I am not.

My thrift store costuming started several years ago when he was in in a community production of “Peter Pan” as one of the pirates. The director wanted each pirate’s costume to be unique — not a pre-made Halloween pirate costume. I went to Goodwill and searched the kids’ racks, but didn’t see anything I thought would work. Then I thought, “Let me check the women’s racks. Maybe I can find something in an extra-small that would work.”

Sure enough, I found a shirt and a black vest that were good enough. (See picture at left. And, no, he wasn’t a headless pirate; I’m just cautious about putting my boys’ photos online.) I cut off a pair of black sweatpants that were getting too short for him, cut the lapels off the black vest, threw everything in the dirt out back and jumped all over it.

For Halloween and other costumes, good enough beats out perfect as far as I’m concerned. You and your kids have to use your creativity when it comes to good enough. You spend much less money. Kids learn how to be innovative instead of just opening a box with a pre-made costume. They learn to look at detail and figure out how to re-create those details in good enough ways. They also find the value in pre-owned items. 

When my son gets home from school, I’m going to ask him what he needs to do to turn the blazer I bought today into a Doctor Who costume. He’ll need to look through photos of the Doctor and decide which elements he wants to include and which can be left out, and how he’s going to do it all with the budget he has.

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Robin Shreeves ( @rshreeves ) focuses on food from a family perspective from her home base in New Jersey.

Halloween costumes: Good enough is better than perfect
For the third year in a row, I’m outfitting my son for Halloween with thrift store finds. I always find something there that’s good enough.