Staying within your Halloween budget shouldn’t be scary
Every year millions of people get excited to celebrate a fun and spooky holiday. They buy costumes, stock up on candy, and even purchase new decorations for the inside and outside of the house. Halloween ghosts, goblins, and witches may be frightening; but the real terror comes after the holidays, when most people realize how much they spent. According to the National Retail Federation, families spend an average of over $86 at Halloween. Most people don’t have an extra $80 just laying around to splurge on costumes, candy, pumpkins, and decor! Here’s our list of ways to avoid the horror that comes from spending too much money.
Have advice that isn’t included on our list? Comment it at the bottom of the page.
Save money on your Halloween costume
- It’s no fun to wear the same costume two years in a row. Purchase pieces that can be used for more than one outfit. A red cape is perfect for this year’s vampire, next year’s superhero, and the following year’s Red Riding Hood.
- If you really want to change up last year’s costume, it’s always possible to add a “punny” twist. Add the word “yonce” to a bee outfit for a “Bee-yonce” look, or add boxing gloves to a Hawaiian tourist outfit for “Hawaiian Punch”. Good Housekeeping as over 25 other pun Halloween costumes perfect for your upcoming party.
- Go thrift shopping. Looking for those perfect white go-go boots that haven’t been popular since the 1960’s? The local consignment store probably has them for less than $7. You’re sure to find lots of other very unique styles there for under $5!
- DIY costumes are great. They may only cost a few dollars, or if you’re really lucky, you can make the whole design from items found around your house for free. Check out our article on four simple Halloween costume ideas, and keep an eye out for next week’s article on DIY costumes.
- Shop early or late in the season. Save money by purchasing a costume after October 31st. Stores will have great sales at the very end of October and beginning of November. Buy one for a late Halloween party, or even next year’s outfit.
Avoid overspending on a pumpkin
- Purchase pumpkins closer to October 31st to make sure that your jack-o-lantern doesn’t rot before Halloween.
- Use the carved pumpkin for soups and bread for the rest of the season. Wide Open Eats has 11 ways to eat your pumpkin carvings.
- Compare pumpkin prices. On the next trip to the store for groceries, glance at the price of pumpkins by the pound. Check online for pumpkin patch prices, and compare.
- If you can, purchase a pumpkin from a road side stand or at a local charity event. Often, these may be less expensive, and you can feel better knowing that you’ve helped out someone else.
- Buy a fake reusable pumpkin from the local craft store. It’s a one-time purchase that can be used for many years.
Halloween decorations on a budget
- Make your own. Sharpies, empty milk jugs, and battery-operated candles can be used to create additional spooky faces. Reader’s Digest has more information on making decor like boo bottles, cobweb coasters, vampire napkin rings, and other cheap DIY Halloween decorations.
- Forget Christmas snowflake paper chains. Make Halloween paper chains with witches, bats, and spiders. Accordion fold black paper, and cut out your shape. Just make sure to not cut at least two segments on either side. Kid Spot has a whole video on how to make spooky paper chains. This is sure to be a fun, inexpensive activity for the whole family.
- Thrift shopping can be perfect for decor. You may be lucky enough to find a few Halloween decorations at the local thrift store, and they come with the benefit of being old, thus adding to the charm! Along with finding Halloween items, you may also find great buys on other spooky purchases such as old dolls, old lamps, candle holders, and other items that can be crafted into something incredible.
- Checkout what’s available on Facebook marketplace or eBay for cheap.
- Whether you need a creepy or fun soundtrack for Halloween, there’s a YouTube playlist that’s perfect for your party or for trick-or-treaters.
- Trade Halloween decor with friends. If your kids are too old for cute decorations, consider trading them with a friend that is a new mother and looking to get rid of her “scary” decor. Don’t trade anything sentimental of course.
Cut Halloween candy costs
- Wait until closer to the end of October to buy candy. Often, stores are so excited to put out their Christmas decor that they’re in a rush to get rid of the Halloween stuff.
- Buy cheap candy that you don’t want to eat. This ensures no one eats all of the sweets before the night of Halloween. Kids won’t mind getting bad candy. They’ll either be excited about all of their collected candy, or they’ll trade for something better with their friends and family.
- Stick to fun-sized sweets. There’s no reason to give each child a $1 full-sized candy bar.
- Get rid of unwanted items. If your kids have been collecting candy from school events, and Halloween parties, have them sort out the ones they don’t want. Include those items in the bowl for trick-or-treaters. If your kids have old happy meal toys they never really played with, just sanitize these toys and include them in the candy bowl.
- Underestimate the number of trick-or-treaters this year. Buy a little less than the amount of candy you think is necessary. Make sure there are some backup snacks in the house incase you grossly underestimate the amount needed. Ultimately, when you run out of sweets, don’t feel shame in putting a “Sorry. Out of candy” sign on the door. No need to run to the store at 9:30 pm to buy an entire additional bag of candy for a few kids.
- Put all of the candy in a bowl on the front porch, with a sign that says, “Happy Halloween. Please take one” and don’t worry about it until tomorrow morning. This ensures that you never feel pressured to find more candy for those adorable trick-or-treaters. If you’re worried about kids just stealing the whole bowl, use a bowl with no sentimental or financial value and set timers to place handfuls of sweets in the bucket throughout the night, rather than placing the entire bag out there at once.
- The Balance Everyday has more tips for saving money on Halloween candy.
Halloween should be a scary good time every year, but don’t let your spending become a monster of its own! Between the entirety of October, Halloween parties, and the actual night of, a person might notice that they’re racking up receipts. Hopefully these tips will help keep your budget in check and allow you to still enjoy one of the best holidays of the year.
Want more information on saving money this spooky season? Read our article on not spooking your Halloween budget, and then checkout The Simple Dollar for more scary good ways to save money this Halloween.