Halloween is now reported to be the 2nd most expensive holiday of the year! Even though we don’t exchange expensive gifts on Halloween, it is easy to rack up big bills on costumes and candy. The good news is that there are many easy ways to save money on Halloween expenses without compromising on the fun.
- Be creative. It can cost $35 to $50 for many popular children’s costumes at party stores, which adds up quickly if you have more than one child. With a little creativity, you and your children can make easy costumes with items you have around the house. You can also shop at a local thrift store to buy vintage clothing to use as costumes.
- Research ideas online. My favorite costume idea resource is FamilyFun.com, which lists 100 easy and inexpensive costumes you can create at home — whether you have a few hours or only a few minutes to put an outfit together.
- Don’t overbuy. If you live in a neighborhood, you will most likely be buying candy to give out on Halloween night. The challenge is to avoid overbuying — who wants bags of leftover candy when the kids come home with far more than they need? If you are nervous your stash won’t last, consider buying Hershey’s Kisses or similar chocolate candy that you can use later for holiday baking.
- Look for coupons. You can also save money on candy and costumes by watching for store sales and coupons in the Sunday coupon circulars or in your mailbox. Find coupons in the Sunday newspaper ads throughout October.
- Carve a pumpkin. The easiest decoration that is also fun for kids is carving a pumpkin together. For just a few dollars, you can create a memorable annual tradition with your child and decorate your front porch or window at the same time. Save the seeds and find a recipe for roasted pumpkin seeds, as well.
- Get crafty. You can find plenty of inexpensive Halloween decorating projects from books in the library, local family magazines distributed free at libraries and schools. Easier projects include making ghosts to hang in the window made out of string, glue and waxed paper. Doing a project with your children will be much less expensive and far more memorable than shelling out $100 for decorations at the local party store.
- Save on admission. This is the time of year for pumpkin festivals, Halloween fairs, hayrides, haunted house tours and more. Many schools and churches offer free festivals and fairs as family-friendly alternatives on Halloween.Prices for these family events vary widely, from free to as much as $20 a head. Check the local event websites or the calendar section in community newspapers and magazines to find inexpensive events. Be on the lookout for admission coupons in your local paper and check the web sites of Festival sponsoring organizations to find printable coupons for reduced admissions. Your local grocery store may sell discounted tickets for these events either on their Web site or at their customer service counter in the store.
Stephanie Nelson is the Coupon Mom. Her web site, www.CouponMom.com, has 7 million members, and she is established as the nation’s top expert in couponing across the country. Stephanie has been on every major national television talk show and taught millions how to save money for the past 14 years. She has been called ‘”the rock star of the recession” by the Washington Post and her book, The Coupon Mom’s Guide to Cutting Your Grocery Bills in Half, is a New York Times best seller.