Already spooked by all the hoopla surrounding Halloween and how it can quickly blow your budget? While Halloween continues to take a heavy hit on parents’ wallets year after year, even adults without young children often succumb to pressures to overspend on what used to be considered a holiday chiefly for kids. The good news for everyone: it takes just some minimal planning now to save major bucks on October 31 festivities. By avoiding these common pitfalls and following the tips below, you may find yourself surprised by how much you enjoy the holiday this year:
First, do a once over of your home: It’s remarkable easy to forget about Halloween decorations from years past that you have stored away in bins and old costumes that you’ve pushed to the back of your closets. With any luck, many of these items will still be in good condition as they are so rarely used. Before you do your shopping, make sure you’ve combed through your belongings for decorations you already own and costume pieces or accessories that you can use again this year. Also keep in mind that household objects that you might not immediately associate with the holiday might actually have a place in your Halloween decor, such as black sheets that can be draped over a couch or used as tablecloth, or an old-fashioned chalice filled with ghoulish treats!
Think outside the big box store: Considering the sizeable markup on Halloween costumes you’ll find at stores during the month of October, it makes good financial sense to buy gently-used costumes online (e.g. eBay or Craigslist) and/or at a yard sale rather than plunking down major bucks for brand-new outfits that you buy at a large brick and mortar retailer or pop-up Halloween store and may only wear once. Another excellent money-saving option is to hold a pumpkin carving party that includes a Halloween clothing swap. Also consider letting kids raid your closets for dress-up attire. They may be thrilled to finally get access to the fancy, grown-up clothing that’s off limits to them during the rest of the year!
Minimize spending on decor while still making an impact: There are plenty of ways to create a seasonal feel for your home along with some eerie intrigue while still managing to spend very little money. Money Crashers from Forbes magazine has some helpful suggestions on how to do this. Two ideas we love from this personal financial resource: create ambient lighting by switching up your regular light bulbs for colored ones and assemble creepy creatures for your front yard or walkway by cutting two lengthwise slits into empty toilet paper rolls and sliding in colored glow sticks for “eyes.” And although a visit to a pumpkin farm often makes for a wonderful experience and beloved childhood memories, it’s generally a good idea to limit spending here to entrance fees and attractions such as hay rides. You can often find better prices on the pumpkins themselves at grocery stores. For more ideas on low-cost decorations, visit http://bit.ly/12EasyHalloweenDecorationsReadersDigest.
Skip the packaged goods for homemade spooky treats: Thinking about hosting a Halloween party or looking for ways to delight friends and family with seasonal fare? Here are some favorites that are easy on the wallet:
- Dress up the common hot dog: Okay, some adults might find eating “octopus hot dogs” a little questionable but kids adore these cute little critters! Cut hot dogs into eight sections about 2/3 of the way up and boil them until they curl. Use cloves for eyes and garnish however you please. Alternatively, make “mummy dogs” by rolling out a can of crescent roll dough, cut the dough into thin strips using a pizza cutter, then wrap up hot dogs using 2-3 of these dough strips. Bake at 350 degrees for around 12-15 minutes or until golden brown.
- Float eyeballs in witches brew: Your special Halloween brew can be as simple as punch purchased from the discount store; just freeze a bag of green grapes overnight and toss them into the bowl before serving for a ghoulish floating eyeballs effect. As a plus, you’ll save on ice since the frozen grapes will keep your punch chilled.
- Create ghost suckers: Dress up lollipops by wrapping them with tissue paper tied with a ribbon. Then use a marker to quickly draw a face.
For more budget-friendly Halloween treats from creepy canapés to spicy pumpkin soup, check out http://bit.ly/BudgetFriendlyHalloweenTreats.
Reassess after October 31: Lastly, you can realize substantial savings on Halloween costumes and decorations by hitting up closeout sales beginning November 1. Just be sure that your zeal to take advantage of great deals doesn’t lead you to overspend on items that your kids will outgrow before next year or that might create unwanted clutter in your home!