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Everybody loves Halloween. The holiday has become just as popular for adults as it is for kids. Bars hold costume contests, parents dress up in group costumes with their children, and many people host parties and create haunted houses in their backyards. It’s a cauldron-full of fun for everyone, but it can terrorize your budget and challenges the ability to save money for Halloween.
Between costumes, decorations, and all that candy, Halloween spending can quickly spiral out of control. This is why we’ve put together a list of tips to make your Halloween festivities fun without scaring the money right out of your wallet.
1. Get Thrifty with Your Costume
The costumes that you buy at the Halloween store are expensive, and you could find the perfect costume only to find that six other people at the party thought it was perfect, too. You can create your own unique costume and save money for Halloween. Thrift stores are a great place to find inspiration. Men’s suits, prom dresses, and unique clothing choices might spark some inspiration. Here are some other simple ideas:
- Pin purple or green balloons to sweatpants and a sweatshirt of the same color and go as a bunch of grapes.
- Buy some cheap fall garland, remove the leaves, and hot-glue them to a rust-colored shirt and sweatpants to become a pile of leaves. (Let’s call him Russell.)
- Use a large piece of poster board and paint a picture of a cow or any other animal with a hole cut out where the head should be, and stick your head through.
- Do the same as above but instead of an animal, draw a fake ID.
The internet, particularly sites such as Pinterest, is a great resource to save money on costume ideas.
2. DIY Decorations
The only requirement for Halloween decorations is that they need to be spooky. This is where the thrift store comes in again. Some ideas are as follows:
- Old white sheets, gauze, or thin white cloth can be draped over furniture or pictures for a haunted house look.
- Take a large glass jar or vase and fill it with water and red food coloring. Cut ahead of cauliflower in half and place half in the jar for a simple mad science specimen. Cooked spaghetti, peeled grapes, and mini hot dogs make good specimens, too.
- Scour the thrift store for cheap pillar candle holders, picture frames, jars, platters, etc. and paint them with black matte finish spray paint. (Just remember they won’t be food safe.)
- Look in your yard for sticks and tree branches; the gnarlier, the better. Use black matte finish spray paint and put them in old vases.
- If you have a garden, plant pumpkins and gourds in the spring so that you’ll have lots of natural Halloween decorations in the fall!
3. Cheap Out on the Candy
Sure, you could go the homemade route and make inexpensive popcorn balls, but most kids will just use them for target practice on their younger siblings. Kids want candy! Most stores have sales on candy right before the holiday, but remember, you don’t have to be the house that gives out the good stuff. Buy what you can afford and save money. If you live in a high-traffic area, buy the cheaper candy, only what you want to spend, and be prepared to turn off your porch light when you run out. You’re not obligated to buy candy for the entire town. Also, give each child one or two pieces instead of having each take a handful. They’ll get plenty of candy while trick-or-treating elsewhere.
4. Enjoy a Free Festival
Fall is harvest festival season in communities all over the United States, and many have free activities. Festival food can be expensive, so pack a lunch and a blanket, and enjoy a nice family picnic. If you have young kids, look in your area for community organizations, libraries, or schools that may be putting on a haunted house, parade, or party for young kids. There’s usually little or no cost.
5. Keep It in the Family
Halloween may be a big part of the fall, but it’s not all there is. Carve pumpkins, paint faces on gourds, jump in a pile of leaves, or do some fall crafts using things that are plentiful in the fall, such as seeds, acorns, and leaves. Find a variety of brightly colored leaves and press them between two pieces of wax paper using an iron. (Place a cloth between the iron and wax paper.)
Fall is the perfect time for family hikes among nature’s stunning annual displays of color, so get out there and enjoy it while getting a little exercise too.
Halloween is fun for young and old, but you don’t have to spend a lot of money to enjoy it. With a little imagination and creativity topped off with some thriftiness, you can save money for Halloween.