Tips for a Cheap Halloween

Halloween is a festive occasion for many families and neighborhoods and, as a result, is only second in line behind Christmas as the holiday we spend the most money on. Halloween is about creating the atmosphere, getting into the spirit, and sharing with your family and friends.

You can enjoy a super spooky Halloween celebration while still leaving enough savings for a festive Christmas season as well.

How to Save Money on Halloween Costumes

The costume and character you choose can reflect your personality, fulfill a hidden fantasy, or allow you to pay homage to a hero. Therefore, you don’t want to skimp when it comes time to dress up, but you also don’t want to feel as though you have to wear the same costume for the next ten years because you spent so much money.

Instead, plan ahead for your costume needs and save by:

  • Make your own costume. If you’re crafty or can sew there is no limit to the characters you can create from a few feet of material and a few craft store accessories.
  • Shop your home. Look around your garage or your closet to find items that could be used as part of a costume. Cardboard, old sheets, or out of date clothes can be mixed and matched within your family for an affordable outfit.
  • Brand name characters. If your children have their heart set on a specific character from a TV show or movie, try the second had stores first—most children will outgrow costumes before they wear out. Or you could start a rotation with friends or neighbors swapping costumes amongst the kids each year. Alternatively, shop for next year’s costume at the after-Halloween sales for huge discounts.

Can You Save Money on the Candy?

You don’t want to disappoint the neighborhood children by cutting back on the quality or the quantity of the treats you give out on Halloween night—you could just find yourself on the receiving end of a ‘trick’ prank.

However, choosing the DIY route with the treats as well isn’t always a good idea as many people are suspicious of homemade candy not in sealed store wrappers.

Instead, buy plain candy and decorate and package it festively yourself. You don’t need to buy the Halloween candies with witches and ghosts on the packets. Instead buy plain chocolates and lollies and wrap them up with black and orange cellophane, ribbon, or netting.

You could also wait for the specials and the after-Halloween sales to buy your chocolates for next year as freezing chocolate actually makes it taste richer thanks to the change in the cocoa beans.

How to Decorate on a Halloween Budget

Just as you searched your home to put together affordable and creative costumes, look at what else you can use to create decorations. Masks, dresses and hats can easily be transformed into witches and ghosts, and overalls, a shirt and a pumpkin head become a scarecrow to greet your guests. A tennis balls painted black and some pipe cleaners can become a swarm of spiders and remember that candles will create the same spooky atmosphere in plain holders.

This is where you can get the kids involved with painting, cutting, and gluing and help them really get excited in the lead up to the big night. If the kids can get involved and have fun making their own decorations, costumes and candy parcels, rather than heading out to the store to just buy everything they need, they won’t even notice that you’re celebrating Halloween on a budget they’ll just be enjoying the extra Halloween activities.

Alban is a personal writer at Home Loan Finder,, where he provides information on home equity loans.

3 Responses to “Tips for a Cheap Halloween”

  1. Jenn @ Paying Myself September 30, 2010 at 8:17 am #

    A friend’s mom always made homemade chocolates for Hallowe’en that were delicious. To address the worry that parents had about homemade candy, she always attached a label to every package with her name and phone number.

  2. Jerret September 30, 2010 at 6:42 pm #

    Thanks, Jenn. I never thought about that. I’m not a big Halloween person but my kids love it!

  3. Alban October 4, 2010 at 2:35 am #

    Hi Jen,

    This is a great idea!