Painted rock pumpkins

Tricks to Save Money this Halloween

Admit it. You love Halloween.

And what’s not to love with all the spooky costumes, festive parties, eerie decorations and killer candy assortment? But, one downside—besides the calories—is the cost to do it all just right. Fortunately, there are plenty of tips and tricks you can use to maximize the enjoyment of this holiday while minimizing the expenses.

To help, this post will share several ways to create a Halloween budget by focusing on ways to:

•  Create cost-conscious costumes
•  Have really cool decorations without breaking the bank
•  Use thrifty trick-or-treating strategies
•  Benefit from free or low-cost apps and gadgets that add value to the celebration
•  Connect with your community to find even more ways to enjoy the holiday

Start by considering all of the items you feel are necessary to have a fun holiday, and then create a budget for them. Be clear about whether you need to stick strictly to the budget or if that’s a target figure; if the latter, decide how much wiggle room is acceptable in your Halloween budget.

We’ll share tips for all of the bullet points, as well as provide a recommendation on how to save money to fund the holiday fun you’re anticipating.

Low Budget Halloween Costumes

If you have the time, talent, and passion for sewing or otherwise creating costumes from scratch, then that’s clearly one way to create low budget Halloween costumes of quality. But if you don’t have the time or interest in doing that, then there are still plenty of easy ways to create costumes on a budget—with one crucial ingredient being the element of fun.

Ask each child to mull over what’s currently available in his or her closet, and then head to the clothing thrift shop of choice. Establish a budget—say, $10 per child—and create costume-finding teams. (With this spirit of excitement, it’s very possible that your child’s cousins, friends, and neighbors may want to join in.) Then let the games begin!

As they begin participating in this costume-making game, they will likely start realizing what interesting props they already own, perhaps tucked away in a toy box. And it’s likely that each child has leftover items from previous costumes that he or she is willing to swap. Plus, don’t forget your own closet! Is there, for example, a feather boa that you wonder where it ever came from? That’s fodder for the fun.

Also stop by dollar stores where they may have face paint, cute props and more to complete each costume. If you go there, also check the toy section, where they often have costume items at a lower cost.

Halloween Savings on Decorations

If you want Halloween decorations for your front porch, yard, or for indoors, similar strategies can work. Check out what materials you have around the house (what, for example, can you do with that odd-shaped box, a bit of paint and glue, and that old black sheet that you’ll never use again?). Then you can also see what bargains you can find at thrift stores, and you can often find arts and craft supplies at dollar stores that will fit your needs exactly.

If you have decorations that you’re tired of using, how can you be crafty and update them? Or who else is tired of his or her decorations? Swap!

When it comes to pumpkins, buy them as a finishing touch just a few days before trick-or-treating, because stores and farm stands often will sell them at a discount then. You could carve them, bake the seeds for a crunchy snack, and display them at Halloween—or, if the pumpkin still looks fresh enough, skip the carving and then also use it as part of your decorations for Thanksgiving.

To broaden that strategy, wait until a day or two before the holiday to take advantage of Halloween savings on decorations at stores. Plus, if you go to these stores on the day after Halloween, you’ll probably get decorations at drastically discounted prices, often 75% to 90% off. That way, you can get much better quality of decorations for next year, ones with more lasting power, at a bargain basement price.

Thrifty Trick or Treating Strategies

If you’re handing out candy at your house, consider these strategies:

•  Get name brand candies at dollar stores.
•  Get the mini-sized candy bars. Trick or treaters will be getting plenty of candy on Halloween, so you don’t need to worry about being too frugal on candy size.
•  Watch for coupons and use them.
•  If you expect plenty of trick or treaters, buy your candy in bulk.
•  Open only one bag of candy at a time and either return what you don’t hand out or use leftovers to fulfill another purpose.

When taking your children out trick or treating, stick to your own neighborhood. That way, you can walk down the streets rather than spending money on gas (perhaps getting stuck in traffic because so many other people are doing the exact same thing). Plus, when you only take your children to the homes of people you know, this is a much safer way to celebrate Halloween.

Free or Low-Cost Apps and Gadgets

And speaking of safety, if you’re making the transition to allowing your children to do some trick or treating on their own, there are free or low-cost safety apps and gadgets that will help boost Halloween safety.

There are, for example, location tracking apps available for both Android and iOS that can help you keep track of your child’s location. For Apple, there is Find My Phone; if your child’s phone has the feature turned on, the location of the phone will appear on a map. You can click on your child’s device from your own phone to obtain even more precise location information. There is something similar for Android called Find My Device. Third-party apps include ones like Friends, Find My Family and more.

Your child can also use flashlights in their smartphones to help them gain a bit more lighting, and there are flashlight apps available that provide stronger forms of lighting.

On the other hand, remind your children to watch the road when trick or treating, rather than looking down at their phones to text friends. This is vital for all trick or treaters, but especially so if they’re:

•  Wearing a Halloween mask
•  Trick or treating at night
•  In an unfamiliar neighborhood
•  In a high-traffic area

You can also search app stores to find fun Halloween-themed games, including many of them that are free or relatively inexpensive. Read the game ratings and peruse the reviews to choose the best games for your children.

Connecting with the Community

Halloween can be an excellent time to connect with your community. To find events in your area, you can use Google; go to websites that post community events; and use apps such as ; this app allows neighborhoods to create private groups to communicate and share information. You can discuss the safest and best trick or treating routes, mark that your house is handing out candy or otherwise participating in holiday fun—and you can even explore the haunted house portion of the app.

Or consider having a party at your house! You could invite neighbors, your children could invite friends, and you can all have an enjoyable time together. If you have concerns about trick or treating, this could take the place of that activity. And to stick to your Halloween budget, you could offer to host the party if your neighbors each bring something to eat or drink. There is a wealth of information about creating spooktacular Halloween recipes online.

As another option, you could host a get-together where parents and children create Halloween crafts together using items typically found in the home. Browse Pinterest for only a few minutes and you’re likely to find exactly what would work for you. Then, each family can decorate with what they’ve made! It’s a win-win.

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