The days are getting shorter, leaves are turning and the air is feeling more crisp. Now that school is in full swing, and Fall has officially arrived, it’s time to start thinking about Halloween. Did you know Halloween is second only to Christmas when it comes to annual holiday spending? According to Fortune magazine, Americans spent 8.4 billion dollars on this freaky fun holiday in 2016 – a record high!
For savvy shoppers and creative folks, the price tag for this celebration doesn’t have to be a horror story. There are some simple ways to save money and still have a frighteningly good time. From candy, to costumes, decor and more here are some simple Halloween money saving tips.
Inexpensive Spooky Decor
Homemade projects are fun for the whole family. We line our walk every year with luminaries. I purchase Halloween themed paper bags at the dollar store, fill the bottoms with a couple of inches of kitty litter, and then place an LED candle in the middle. They give a soft glow that lights the walkway for trick-or- treaters.
Jack-o-lanterns. Pumpkins can be expensive depending on your location, but if you are fortunate enough to live near a rural area seek out a pumpkin farm to save a bundle vs grocery store prices. If you need to purchase from a grocery chain, check discount stores like Aldi first. Also, don’t let those seeds go to waste! After you pull the guts out of your pumpkin, separate the seeds, rinse them and roast them for a healthy snack you can enjoy for days to come.
Papier Mache jack-o-lanterns are time consuming, but they are inexpensive to make and will last for many years. There are excellent tutorials for how to do them on YouTube (and other projects too!). Papier mache is inexpensive, messy fun and everyone will love it, but be sure to start your project at least 2 weeks in advance so it has time for all the layers to dry! Purchase decor for the following year the day after Halloween. This is when I find plates, napkins and other assorted odds and ends and store them for the following year. This also allows me to donate items to the school for parties without breaking the budget.
Frugal Halloween Costumes
Yes, you can purchase costumes in most discount stores, but they all look alike and if you have several people to purchase for they add up quick. Homemade costumes are unique, original and much less expensive. Thrift stores are fantastic for finding clothes and other fabrics that can be reimagined into something special. Look around throughout the year, not just near Halloween when everyone else is doing the same thing. Old dresses, suits, and more can be converted into beautiful costumes.
Look at the dollar stores for simple ideas. I found temporary facial tattoos at our local Dollar General for $1 each.
Set up a costume exchange at your local church or community center. Everyone who donates can also “shop” for a different costume. This is a great way to reduce waste and still let the kids enjoy picking their own outfit.
Forget pricey Halloween specialty stores. You’ll find much better deals online especially in the off season. Costumes and props at these specialty stores are incredibly expensive due to the high overhead costs of running them for such a short time. Buy direct on Amazon or Ebay throughout the year.
Uh-oh, did you wait until the last minute and now you’re scrambling? No worries. Colored light bulbs and black construction paper are all you need to bring some spooky ambience to your porch. Cut bat shapes out of the paper and use black string and clear tape to attach them to your porch roof or throughout the house. When a breeze hits them they fly about and look super spooky and fun. This whole project can be done in 30 minutes or less.
Don’t wait until September to buy large bags of candy. This is when retailers mark it up in anticipation of upcoming holidays. We purchase candy earlier in the year and store it. Kids will eat it, they don’t care if it has special Halloween packaging or not.
Dollar stores carry “fun sized” candy bars year round. We purchase a bit here and there throughout the year and use it for all the holidays.
Stop contributing to tooth decay by purchasing bags of non-candy treats. Kids also love pencils, stickers, spider rings and other little items. Purchase these the day after Halloween along with treat bags and you have super cheap and amazing handouts for the next year for 50% off or more.
Halloween parties are great fun and they don’t have to break the bank. For adults, host a “bring your own spirits” party and have a bonfire if it’s cold. Straw bales are great for decor and for seating. They are inexpensive and after the party you can use the straw as ground cover to protect your garden space for the following spring.
Host a Halloween potluck and have everyone bring a Halloween themed treat or dish. Have prizes for grossest treat, scariest dessert etc. This allows everyone to participate and have fun making crazy concoctions while competing for prizes. You”ll have an array of great treats to amaze your guests all while saving on your food bill. We do this every year and it’s always fun to see what others come up with. Pinterest is the best free resource for spooky recipes ideas!
Halloween is great fun for kids of all ages. Some creativity and good planning will ensure you have a stress-free, inexpensive and fun event everyone will enjoy.