Budget Tips to Help You Save Money This Halloween

Budget Tips to Help You Save Money This Halloween

Let’s creep it real. If you want to enjoy your Halloween without burying your budget alive, you’ll need to think ahead. Follow these lucky 13 tips to keep your spending out of double, double, toil and trouble this year.

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Get Thrifty With Your Decorations

Buy fake pumpkins.

“Buy fake pumpkins so you don’t have to keep buying and carving new ones every year.” — Linda S.

Okay, we know Linda lost some of you there. If pumpkin-carving contests are the highlight of Halloween for your family, then real pumpkins should have a spot in your budget. And that’s fine. That’s what a budget is for—to help you prioritize your spending.

But for those who always end up making a jack-o'-lantern look like a gross extra from a horror flick, this is the tip for you! Keep your hands clean and save money in the long run by using fake pumpkins.

Check out dollar stores for decor.

You don’t have to spend a grave amount on decorations. Go to your local everything’s-a-dollar store and buy all your menacing, monstery, and magical needs. From tableware to front-porch scares, you can make a truly terrifying impact on a tiny budget.

The only thing hair-raising this holiday should be the creepy clown costumes—not the costs. 

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Get Creative With Costumes

Visit consignment or thrift stores.

“Growing up, my mom would take us to a thrift store each year for the staples of our costumes. One time, I was determined to be Ace Ventura. We went to Goodwill, and sure enough, I found some incredibly hideous striped pants and a white men's tank top. And really, the outfit made itself after that!” — Krista D.

Who said new was best? Probably a marketing campaign aimed at Halloween costume shoppers. But you know better. Gently used clothes make for great and affordable wear-one-time costume pieces. And if you’re going as a zombie, that well-worn pair of khakis with the red ink stains is the best buy around.

Make your own costume.

Pull out your sewing machine and DIY until you put Lady Gaga’s old stage costumes to shame. Marks for creativity! Not only does it cost less, but it also makes an impression. Anyone can purchase a store-bought costume. It takes a real outfit ace to take something from concept to completion all on their own. Wow everyone, and save your budget.

Recycle old costumes or host a costume swap.

How? Check out this budgeter’s brilliant suggestion:

“Once our kids started earning commissions and establishing savings goals, I told them I would pay them $2 to wear last year’s costumes again. It worked—and I saved $50!” — Jamie H.

The same thinking could work for encouraging younger siblings to use a hand-me-down costume from an older sibling.

For your own costume, consider trading with a friend. As long as you weren’t partying it up together last year, no one will be the wiser. And even if you were, make a joke of it on social media. Or better yet, praise your financially savvy schemes by giving yourself a shout out: “Go, me! I ain’t afraid of no-ghosts-of-Halloween-costumes past!”

Sell previous costumes.

Instead of swapping or re-wearing, sell your old costumes! Plenty of like-minded, frugal shoppers would love to get a deal on something you wore once, because they’ll only wear it once. See the cycle? Make it a cycle of savings.  

Shop your closet.

Before you start buying, shop your closets. That green knee-length dress is just what you need to be Lady Link from Zelda. Lumberjack it up with your fave flannel. Poke the lenses out of those 3D movie glasses you kept and pull out the suspenders your grandpa gave you—and you’ve got about half of your “Smarties Pants” costume ready. All that’s left to do is hot glue the candy onto an old pair of jeans. Get it? Punny.

It’s okay to buy costumes from the store, but you can also make used or already-owned items work spookily if you’re wanting to celebrate with less spending this year.

Only purchase accessories.

“My daughter wanted to be a raccoon for Halloween. So we added a raccoon tail, mask and ears for $5 to a black dress she already owned.” — Laura M.

What a boo-tiful idea, Laura. You can save money by using the clothing you already own and spending cash only on the accessories to make a complete costume.

Buy reduced costumes after the holiday.

Want to think ahead? When Halloween is over, candy isn’t the only thing reduced. Buy your kids some costumes for next year, one size up!

Maybe you’re worried you can’t pinpoint what your kids will be into next year. However, you can guess what they’ll still love two months from now, so what if you did some early Christmas shopping and bought them a reduced-price princess or superhero costume as a dress-up outfit? Now you’re getting stuff under the tree at a reduced fee! You went from boo to ho-ho-ho in one day. Bravo.

How to save on Halloween Costumes

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Save on Candy

Wait for sales to buy your Halloween candy.

The second you spot your first pumpkin stand, we know what you’re thinking, The trick-or-treaters are coming. We have to stock up NOW! But you don’t—yet.

Yes, you need candy. You want to hand out the treats so you don’t get the tricks. But you should wait for the sales. Buy up the BOGO, win with one-day deals, and spend less with those shopper cards.

Stock up for Christmas with post-Halloween candy sales.

“The day after Halloween, stock up on candy and chocolate for Christmas baking!” — Melanie H.

Heck yes, Melanie! Did you know orange- and black-wrapped candies taste the same as regularly wrapped candies? So, nab all the non-skeleton-covered sweets you need to fill Christmas stockings. Or go for the spooky-themed ones and tell the kids Santa went Goth.

Go trick-or-treating.

Go trick-or-treating and get more fun-sized candy than any little mouth should ever chew. Free. If your little one is too young to notice, you can move some of the sweets to a nice hiding spot. Then, in two months, pop those goodies into stockings. Or eat them yourself. There’s no judgement here.

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Attend Free Community Events

“Take advantage of free community events!” — Alisa J.

We couldn’t agree with you more, Alisa. Churches and communities offer lots of autumnal activities: trunk-or-treats, fall fests, art walks, and chili cook-offs. Get in on the free fun that’s right in your community’s backyard!

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Don’t forget to budget

Before you shop at all, budget. Decide a reasonable amount to spend, and don’t waver from it.

“Set a limit for costumes, candy and party goods. And don’t even think about putting it on a credit card, or else the trick is on you.” — Mona P.

Mona, wiser words about this wicked awesome holiday have never been written. And we couldn’t agree more. 

So, for you, budgeter, we have a treat—a free budgeting tool called EveryDollar. It’s better than all the candy you’ll eat this season because there’s no hefty dentist bill, just an easy and free way to tell your money where to go all year long.

Download it today, and be like the Dr. Frankenstein of budgeting, electrifying your money goals with a billion volts to bring them to life.