If you don't like Fantasy and Harts prices, play with Mardi Gras whose costumes are all all inclusive, crossing the stage, and less than $200 usd each, full price. All inclusive.
Or any band in between because the costumes aren't all $1000 usd.
Or suck it up, get whatever caught your eye, and fete less... some people go full bling to the heavens on costume and don't even fete at all, just link with family or friends and chill until d-day.
I plan to alternate... if I went all out one year, I should have enough blog material to cool it the next time I go. Cause is either that or go every OTHER year or every 3 years, as expensive as it is to do it how you often want to do it. But either way there is an answer to the cost issue. Play with budget or stretch out the expense over a longer time frame.