3 Tips to Help You Budget for Halloween

Halloween party with family at home

Halloween is a billion-dollar industry. Americans will spend over $3 billion dollars on costumes, over $2 billion on candy, $2 billion on decorations and almost $400 million on greeting cards this year, according to the National Retail Federation’s annual survey conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics. Halloween also happens to kick off all the big, end of the year shopping season. Needless to say, chances are good that you may be looking for a few money-saving tips for All Hallows Eve. Here are some suggestions:

Craft Your Own Decorations

You don’t have to spend a lot of money to make your place look spooky for Halloween. Craft decorations yourself by purchasing inexpensive materials at your local craft store or simply using supplies you have at home. 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:

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

Get Creative with Costumes

Buying a Halloween costume can be expensive. Try saving some money by wearing an old Halloween costume that’s been collecting dust in your closet, or try making 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. Just make the bat logo out of construction paper and purchase an inexpensive black cape and he’s ready to own the night!

If you are dead set on buying a costume this year, try browsing your local 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.

 Spend Less on Treats

If you are looking to buy candy to give out for Halloween, make sure to compare prices and go for the cheaper treats. Snickers and Butterfingers cost much more than old-school candy like Tootsie Rolls and Sweet Tarts. Check for supermarket sales. Many stores will mark down their candy a few days before Halloween to clear the decks for the November and December holidays. With some planning, you can also repurpose candy. If you 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 that night.

Consider cheaper options than candy, like popcorn, that you can put in decorative bags. Scary stickers, bouncy balls or other small toys too offer a fun and inexpensive alternative as well.


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