Life on a budget means making choices about spending, even when it comes to holidays. Without a plan, holidays and special days can become total budget busters. Did you know that in 2014, Americans spent an estimated $7.4 BILLION on Halloween. With only about 67% of the country celebrating the holiday, that number becomes even scarier. I love celebrating Halloween with my little monsters, and with a little planning and a few smart choices we can have a happy Halloween on a budget. Today I’m sharing my favorite tips for saving money on costumes, treats, decorations, and party supplies so you can have a spooky celebration that doesn’t bust your budget.
Tips for a Happy Halloween on a Budget:
1) Ditch the Expensive Costumes: The vast majority of that $7.4 billion figure will be spent on costumes, but you don’t have to buy in. Help your kids to brainstorm creative costume ideas and raid the closets to put them together. If they are stuck on something you just can’t DIY, head to your local thrift store or consignment shop to find TONS of costumes that were worn once or twice and then given away. You can see our frugal Football Themed Family Costumes here, and our Fairy Tale Family Costumes here, and more great ideas for DIY costumes here. Another great source for slightly used costumes is Facebook. I’m a member of several Buy/Sell/Trade groups on Facebook for local parents and there are tons of costumes for sale right now. If you feel guilt over buying a used costume, just think about how many times your kid will ACTUALLY wear it and if they will ever even know you didn’t buy it new.
2) Save on Treats: I think Halloween is great time to get to know your neighbors, and being generous with treats is one way to show them love and friendship. However, you have to make sure that your generosity doesn’t exceed your budget. I’ve found over the past few years that I can save money by purchasing candy on sale or looking for coupons. My trouble with candy is that I always want to give out a big handful to each kid, and then I end up going through it much faster than intended. This year I’m trying a different method. We Aldi fans, and they have several snack items that come in individual bags that our kids love. My plan it to buy a few of those, because Aldi products cost on average 40% less than other stores, and then give 1 snack item per kid. The leftovers will be great for our kids and I won’t be as tempted to eat it all Halloween night. Trick-or-treaters will get a good sized snack that is kid-friendly and fun, but a bit healthier than a handful of candy. Hopefully it will work out well.
3) DIY Your Decorations: I love to decorate for every season, and fall/Halloween is no exception. To save money on decorations I make them myself and use the same ones year after year. We have a collection of dollar store ceramic pumpkins that I spray painted white, several wreaths I’ve made over the years, and ever growing collection of reusable decorations. You can see my DIY fall leaf wreath and garland here, and our favorite toddler pumpkin craft here. This year we’ve made a super cute cheesecloth ghost and monogrammed faux pumpkin I’ll be sharing here soon. I’m also working on a pumpkin wreath that cost less than $5 to make. I can’t wait to share it with you.
4) Make Your Party a Potluck: Hosting a Halloween party can be a blast, but taking on the entire cost yourself can be a major financial hit. Ask each of your guests to bring a drink or food item to share to ease the financial burden. Guests usually don’t mind bringing something, and you’ll have more fun at your party knowing it isn’t wrecking your wallet.
What is your best tip for celebrating Halloween on a budget?