The problem with Halloween costumes is they can get pretty spendy but be pretty crappy. A lot of them don't last more than a few wears and certainly not a spin in the washing machine. Even more painful, hardly any of them come with the all-too-key accessories that costumes seem to require: swords, hats, and props. Those cost extra and they usually fall apart, too.
But if your child isn't too far deep into licensed characters, try checking out items marked as Dress-Up Clothes instead of items labeled Halloween Costumes. We're HUGE fans of the Melissa and Doug line of role play outfits and they're fantastic quality. (Seriosuly, these get played with at least once every 48 hours at my house.) They come with a ton of props and they make great costumes for Halloween--sturdy, easy to put on, comfortable, and the price is right at about $20 to $25.
My daughter is going to be a pirate this year and this Melissa and Doug set-up comes with a jacket, hat, eye patch and foam sword. We're pairing it with black leggings and sneakers. This costume is AWESOME! It's a one-piece jacket that velcros shut and it's WAY nicer than some of the other pirate costumes I've seen for the same or more money. She'll wear this for a long time before it gets trashed enough to retire.
Fire Chief, $27
We have this one (strictly for dress-up, not using it for Halloween this year) and it's similarly AWESOME.
Pair this with some white pants and you're set. Again, it's the PROPS that really make these come to life. Look at all that Doctor gear and the clear pockets to store it in! So legit.
Melissa and Doug has a pretty impressive lineup in this category: Chef, Police Officer, Hair Stylist, Waitress, Construction Worker, Train Engineer, Knight, Veterinarian, Princess, Superhero, and Explorer. Even if you already have Halloween covered for this year, they make great gifts for kids in a wide range of ages to find under the tree.
(Photos: Amazon.com and my own)