I never owned a store bought Halloween costume as a kid. That's probably a good thing, considering back in the late '70s and early '80s, store bought costumes were made of plastic featuring easy-tear seams and rigid plastic masks that could slice off your nose if mishandled.
Nowadays, the costumes are still low quality, but made of much more comfortable and durable fabric. I've bought a few over the years at the after-Halloween sales to add to the dress up bin, but we never, ever use them for the actual holiday.
Homemade costumes hold a special place in my heart. As a child, we would begin tossing around costume ideas in August. The topic got us through many a long car ride with my mom, as we came up with ideas and worked on the details together.
Come October, mom or my aunt disappeared into the garage or sewing room, depending on what we came up with, and emerged with a gorgeous DIY costume made from scraps around the house. We cherished those costumes, and many of them are still around being worn by my boys and nephew.
We keep the same tradition alive with my kids. Right now I have a paper mache astronaut helmet on my work table. I've almost finished the Apollo space suit, we just need to schedule a trip to the hardware store for some hoses. My eldest is leaning toward costumes that don't require too much dressing up this year, so he chose the Pokemon trainer Ash. His paper mache Pokeball is finished and we just need to hunt down a red hat at the thrift store to complete his look.
Some years the costumes are better than others, it's true, depending on the time and resources available. Yet, my kids can remember every single Halloween costume they ever had. They happily reminiscence about past costume planning and creating sessions. We aren't just making costumes, we're making memories. You can't buy those at Walmart.