While the National Retail Federation is expecting record spending this Halloween of around $100 per person, revelers might be planning to focus more on Halloween savings this year. Inflation is scarier than ghosts. Luckily, creativity is one of the hallmarks of Halloween, and Halloween savings are easy to achieve. Here are 31 ways to do it.
Get Creative with Costumes
Costumes may be the best part of Halloween. You can “be” anyone or anything for one night. But costumes don’t have to be expensive. In fact, with a little creativity you can have a great costume for almost nothing.
Check your score with SoFi Insights
Track your credit score for free. Sign up and get $10.*
Recommended: What Credit Score is Needed to Buy a Car
1. Rent, Don’t Buy
Sites like Halloweencostumes.com and Costume.com offer theater-level costume styles for rent for a fraction of the purchase price.
2. Make your own
Extend Halloween fun by making your own costume. The internet is full of innovative ideas — homemade costumes that turn the wearer into jellyfish or fairies, or that create illusions, like someone sitting on a flying carpet.
3. Hit the Thrift Store
Thrift stores and surplus stores can not only provide the materials for a costume, they can also give you ideas: buy a wedding dress and become a ghostly bride or purchase a lab coat and become a mad scientist. You also might spot great savings on fall fashions while you’re at it.
4. Swap Costumes with Friends
Swapping costumes with friends is a great way to save money. And your outfit from last year may be someone’s dream costume for this Halloween.
5. Look For Sales
You can look online, at Halloween retailers, and at regular discount stores that sell costumes. Some may have sales to boost early purchases, or to clear out inventory as Halloween gets closer.
Decorate on a Budget
As a fruit, you would think pumpkins would be a super cheap decoration, but that’s not always the case. There are, however, some easy ways to haunt your house magnificently and take advantage of Halloween savings at the same time.
6. Become a Prop Master
There are tons of videos online explaining how to make everything from real-looking spider webs to authentic tombstones and creepy candles, such as these from Van Oaks Props . And if you’re particularly eco-friendly, you can substitute toxic chemicals and unsustainable materials like Styrofoam with more sustainable materials .
7. Repurpose Last Year’s Decorations
Rework the decorations you used last year to create a whole new look. Give that mummy a hat, or have the witch you made last year hide behind a bush this time. If you’re crafty, a bit of paint or touch of glue can give your decor a whole new look.
8. Hit Garage Sales
Check out local garage sales and estate sales for decorations other people are ready to discard. You can often find some cool vintage treasures!
9. Trade Decorations with Friends
Tired of your old skeleton? You can switch it for a pal’s ghoul or light-up graveyard. You can offer up your old decorations on social media or just have everyone gather and trade like Halloween market.
10. Try the Discount Stores
Super discount stores often have tons of great decorations for almost nothing. Dollar stores, surplus stores, Spirit Halloween stores, and others can provide garlands, Jack o’ Lanterns, skeletons — you name it.
11. Scan Thrift Stores
A thrift store is like a treasure hunt inside a shopping trip. You never know what you’ll find at a thrift shop but you’re sure to find inspiration for decorations!
12. Don’t Forget the Lighting
Lighting changes everything. Put a green or purple bulb in a lamp and a basic room is automatically made spooky, especially if you’re lighting something from below. Check out these eerie lighting techniques for ideas on how to decorate your space.
13. Make Creepy Shadows
With nothing more than some paper and scissors you can make scary silhouettes for the windows: a werewolf looking in, or a dagger-wielding murderer for example. Put in front of a flashlight, they can even create some large, scary shadows for a spooky wall.
14. Scary Music Makes Ambiance
The most ordinary scene can feel terrifying when you add scary music. You can look online for options from classical pieces like Dance Macabre to soundtracks from horror movies complete with howling winds, distant church bells, and crows calling. There are even spooky tracks available on streaming services like Spotify.
15. Look for Pumpkin Deals
Most Jack O’ Lantern pumpkins cost less than $10 but if you need more than just one, the pumpkin costs can mount quickly. Some retailers have special offers on pumpkins that can really squash your spending.
16. Grow Your Own
It’s too late this year but you can grow your own pumpkins next year, and maybe grow other decorations to use for fall like corn husks and twisted tree branches that can later be made into haunted forests and witches’ brooms.
17. Shop in November
Everything Halloween related goes on deep discount on Nov. 1 to make room for the upcoming holidays. Many people take advantage of these closeout sales to save money while also stocking up on decor for the following year.
Low-Cost Ways to Celebrate Halloween
Haunted houses and ghost tours can cost as much as $50 per person, but there are a lot of ways to celebrate Halloween without spending a scary amount of money. Try hosting your own party, where you can save on food by shopping the sales, using coupons, and having potlucks.
18. Look for Coupons
Groupon and other coupon sites offer discounts on haunted houses and other spooky activities. Just make sure you read the fine print. Some coupons may require you to visit during the week or might only be valid for specific shows.
19. Show a Scary Movie
Hold a movie marathon where your friends and family create the lineup by bringing their favorite scary films. Or tune in the Halloween classics on television. Serve popcorn and inexpensive Halloween candy. And if someone has a projector, you can show it outside and make it that much spookier.
20. Host a Costume Contest
Consider inviting the kids to dress up and compete to create the scariest, funniest, and even most creative costumes using items they already have at home. The prizes don’t need to be expensive, just something from a dollar store.
Recommended: Does Net Worth Include Home Equity
21. Carve Jack O’ Lanterns
Have friends bring their own pumpkins and have a Jack O’ Lantern carving potluck. You can even roast the seeds and serve them as a snack.
22. Scary Makeup Party
Have a get-together where you paint your faces with inexpensive makeup to look like werewolves, vampires, and banshees. Watch some internet tutorials for inspiration as you get into the Halloween spirit.
23. Tell Ghost Stories
This is a great activity to do in the dark, maybe even around a fire with some s’mores. Have everyone come with a ghost story to share.
24. Have a Seance
Also great to do in the dark near a glowing fire, you can use a Ouija board or other tools to speak to the departed. It’s extra fun if one or two people hide out and make ghost noises.
25. Have a Haunted House
You needn’t put on a big production. Simple things can bring a lot of spooky fun like hanging old pictures and telling spooky stories about them while leading participants around darkened rooms. Play scary recordings and have someone hiding behind a few corners to jump out. This Old House’s Bob Vila has a lot of haunted house ideas .
26. Check Out Local Haunts
Do you have a house, an old church or another place in town that’s known to be haunted? How about a neighborhood that really goes to town on the decorations? If so, Halloween is the perfect night to go visit.
27. Check Out Local Free Events
Look for local churches, malls, or schools that are putting on free Halloween parties or fall festivals for the community. Ready-made fun.
Save on Treats
Halloween just isn’t Halloween without the candy. But you don’t have to spend a fortune to keep you and your Trick or Treaters happy.
28. Buy in Bulk
Get giant bags of candy from club stores like Costco or Sam’s Club. They can provide you with enough candy for the whole neighborhood, and a party at home.
Recommended: Should I Sell My House Now or Wait
29. Visit Low-Cost Retailers
Low-cost retailers like Walmart and Target often have special large bags of candy that may be on display in the holiday aisle rather than the regular candy aisle. If you can’t find it, ask for help.
30. Use Coupons
You can look for retailer coupons that give you a few dollars off your candy purchase, or even offer a buy one get one free deal.
31. Focus on the Fun
On Halloween, people are ready to be tricked, to be scared, and to believe the illusions that give them a little thrill of mystery. Instead of worrying about impressing others, focus on having good experiences and creating lasting memories.
Halloween is about the kind of fear that gives you goosebumps, not sleepless nights. With today’s inflation, and a need to stretch dollars further than before, it might be a lot less scary, in a good way, to focus on savings this year.
With the ability to track your day-to-day spending and set financial goals, SoFi Insights money tracker app may be the tool you need to keep the ultimate tabs on your funds. While you pursue Halloween savings, you can get real-time updates on how much you have left to spend, leaving the fear in the festivities and out of your finances.
Photo credit: iStock/Talaj
Third-Party Brand Mentions: No brands, products, or companies mentioned are affiliated with SoFi, nor do they endorse or sponsor this article. Third-party trademarks referenced herein are property of their respective owners.
Non affiliation: SoFi isn’t affiliated with any of the companies highlighted in this article.
External Websites: The information and analysis provided through hyperlinks to third-party websites, while believed to be accurate, cannot be guaranteed by SoFi. Links are provided for informational purposes and should not be viewed as an endorsement.
Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.
*Terms and conditions apply. (Must click on the link to be eligible.) This offer is only available to new SoFi users without existing SoFi accounts. It is non-transferable. One offer per person. To receive the Rewards points offer, you must successfully complete setting up Credit Score Monitoring. Rewards points may only be redeemed into SoFi accounts such as cash in SoFi Checking and Savings, SoFi credit cards or loan balances, and fractional shares subject to program terms that may be found here: SoFi Member Rewards Terms and Conditions. SoFi reserves the right to modify or discontinue this offer at any time without notice.