Celebrate Halloween on a Budget

Halloween party with family at home

Halloween is the second most popular holiday behind Christmas, so chances are good that you and your family will be participating the festivities this year. But celebrating All Hallows Eve can be expensive. Scary expensive. To keep your Halloween budget out of the red, here are some tips.

Cut Costs on Costumes

Halloween is all about costumes, but buying a compete outfit at a store can mean spending $50 or more. Loved the Wonder Woman film this summer? Buying the Amazon warrior’s outfit will cost you $54.99 at a web store like Spirit Halloween. Instead of emptying your wallet, save some money by wearing one of your costumes from a few years ago that has been sitting in your closet.

You can also make a new costume for you or your kids with older clothes and accessories that you can reuse or alter. If your son loves Batman and owns the mask, some black sweatpants and a black sweatshirt, he has most of the costume already. Make the bat logo out of construction paper and purchase an inexpensive black cape to finish the costume.

If you feel you must buy a costume this year, try perusing thrift stores, which will offer gently used costumes for cheaper prices. Waiting until the last minute to get costume supplies from retail stores is also a good idea. The selection might be less if you wait, but many stores will look to clear out their remaining Halloween inventory the closer it gets to the big day. Look for Halloween-inspired sales from retailers on Halloween or just before the holiday.

Make Your Own Decorations

Decorating is a big part of getting into Halloween, but you don’t have to spend a lot to make your place look spooky. To help cut down on your costs, try making decorations yourself using supplies you already have at home, or purchasing inexpensive materials at your local craft store.

Many web sites offer DIY ideas and inspiration. Check Pinterest or do an online search for “DIY Halloween” to get some good ideas. Here are a few:

  • Switch out regular light bulbs for colored bulbs
  • Throw black sheets over furniture
  • Apply glow-in-the-dark paint to pumpkins or gourds.
  • Put dead flowers in vases and use them as centerpieces
  • Blow up a balloon and drape a sheet over it to make a floating ghost
  • Make gravestone shapes out of Styrofoam. Spray paint them gray and write epitaphs in black marker on the front.
  • Use a black light to make white objects in your house glow.

Get Thrifty with Tricks and Treats

Many supermarkets will mark down their candy a few days before Halloween to clear the decks for the November and December holidays. If you are looking to buy candy, make sure to compare prices and go for the cheaper treats. Old-school candy like Tootsie Rolls and Sweet Tarts cost much less than Snickers and Butterfingers. If you really want to buy higher-quality candy, find a store that runs a “buy one, get one free” special for Halloween. You can also make a plan to repurpose candy. Send your kids trick-or-treating earlier, remove the candy they don’t like from their hauls and hand it out to trick-or-treaters that come by your door later at night.

Candy isn’t the only treat you can hand out. Consider cheaper alternatives like popcorn that you can put in decorative bags. You don’t even have to hand out food at all. Kids love scary stickers, bouncy balls or other little toys too. These can be bought in bulk for a fraction of the cost of candy.


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