Selling Halloween Costumes on eBay

Before this year, I had never sold anything on eBay before. My husband has had some luck selling DVD's online, but mostly we had eBay to buy things. This fall, I decided to sell all the old children's Halloween costumes we had stored away over the last few years. Late September to early October was the right time to strike. Parents everywhere are scrambling to find suitable costumes for their little ones that doesn't cost them a week's preschool tuition! At the same time, the children are also deciding what they want to be for Halloween. They see something and get their heart set on that item. Meanwhile, the popular character outfits and sizes are selling out fast at the stores. I knew this because of course, I go through it with my own kids each year.

Wow I made about $100!

selling a total of 5 costumes - I had no idea it would go this well! It's almost tempting to go buy up more Halloween costumes on clearance to try it again next year. At the least, we have our costumes from this year to save for future eBay selling. From now on I'll know what steps to take for a profitable sale.

Keep Original Packaging

After Halloween, I always kept and stored the gently used costumes with all the accessories in their original packages. The costumes were all clean and in good condition; most of them were only worn for a few hours or a day at most.

Use Established eBay Account

I didn't set up a new account to sell the costumes. I just used our existing account, because it already had a buying and selling record established, and people could see that our transaction behavior was spotless.  Also, with eBay you can specify PayPal payments only.  Since we already had a PayPal account, this made things easy.

Research Competitive Items

Some of the costumes we had were recognizable, popular characters, but others were just princess-style costumes.  I compared the listing prices of similar items on eBay, as well as the prices of the costumes if purchased new from online vendors. Taking shipping costs into account, I listed the starting prices at a level that would at least recover my costs, and that was reasonable compared to other online offerings.

Most of the costumes could be shipped U.S. Postal Priority Mail in the flat rate envelope. I started keeping a few of these envelopes at home and was able to print and pay for shipping labels straight from PayPal on my home computer.

Add a Picture and Description

When I listed the costumes, I just downloaded the original image of the costume or posted my own photo of the costume. I made sure potential buyers could clearly see what item it was and compare it to others.

I always marked "pre-owned" condition so people would know these were not brand new. I stressed that the costumes were complete with all the accessories. Also, for one costume which was brand new but too small for my daughter, I added a more detailed size description.

eBay Listing

Use the 7 Day Auction

Close to Halloween, kids and parents are probably anxious about whether or not they will win the item in an online auction. I chose the shortest time auction. For one new, more expensive item, a "Buy It Now" price was also included. That item ended up selling in the regular bid period anyway.

So now that this year's Halloween is over, I'm carefully hand washing and storing away the costumes, biding my time for next September. I'll give my kids the choice of either wearing the same costume again, or selling it on eBay and getting a new one. I think it's a great money lesson for them, and perfectly good costumes get recycled and re-used. Less waste for the planet. Thanks to eBay!

I know other people use eBay to sell things as a business, but I'm not there yet. There are many good articles to look into here about making money with eBay, thanks to fellow Hubbers:

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