Don’t Be Afraid to Save On Halloween

Photo (cc) by Photoshopeando

The most frightening part of Halloween is how much money we spend on the holiday: almost $6 billion, according to the National Retail Federation. That works out to about $66 per American for costumes, candy, and decorations.

But there’s no reason to carve up your wallet along with your pumpkin, if you’ve got a little time and can muster up a little creativity. Halloween’s one holiday where cheesy, cheap tricks actually work well. You can even pull off homemade versions of some of the most popular costumes this year. As mentioned in the video, for instance, pop sensation Lady Gaga is a common choice this year – which means you can wear just about anything, including meat – although that might be biting off more than you can chew.

Going Gaga

If you want to pull off this look, hit the closets and garage sales with this list:

  • Elbow-length gloves
  • Huge belt
  • Crystals & crazy jewelry
  • Wings and collar
  • Sunglasses (very big or odd looking ones)
  • Platinum wig and wild makeup.

Vampires are still in style as well, and thanks to the Twilight flicks, you don’t need to look like a Victorian-era aristocrat to pull it off. Pale skin, maybe some cheap plastic fangs, and a haunted expression will work well with casual clothes. Try applying some light foundation – if you’re a guy, ask a female friend to help you out if you don’t know what that is – to achieve the “undead” look, or suntan lotion can work in a pinch.

Thrift stores can provide you with cheap outfits, too. And if you’re only spending a few bucks, there’s no harm done if you make some alterations. You can cut things up for a ragged or patchy look, add some fake bloodstains, or redecorate as you see fit. Be creative.

Homemade makeup easy and cheap.

Whether it’s for you or your kids, here’s a simple and cheap way to make white face paint to pull off any look — from a joker to a vampire. Mix these together for white or add food color for creepy colors.

  • 2 tsp white shortening
  • 5 tsp corn starch
  • 1 tsp white all purpose flour
  • 3-4 drops of glycerin

Add some realistic blood.

Need to add some blood for effect without bleeding out your budget? Here’s a super simple recipe with ingredients you probably already have at home. Mix corn starch and water in large bowl while stirring in the corn syrup and cocoa. Add food color slowly.

  • 2/3 c. corn syrup
  • 1/3 c. warm water
  • 5 tsp corn starch
  • 4-6 tsp red food color
  • 1 Tbsp powdered cocoa
  • 2 drops of green or yellow food color (optional)

Bruises, scabs and moles.

Need to add a few skin defects to your costume? Check these out:

For bruises, use deep blue eye shadow and apply with a wet brush. Use your fingers to add a bit of grey and blue eye shadow. Finish the edges with olive green eye shadow and blend it all with a small brush and dust lightly with foundation powder.

For decorations, check your garage or closet for stuff you’re never going to use again anyway, or hit up the dollar store. Styrofoam can make a cheap tombstone, and might not look too shabby if you spray-paint it. You can cut up some cardboard boxes and make simple shapes like spiders or bats, then hang them from string. If you’ve got a long box, you’ve got a coffin. Cotton balls can be stretched into cobwebs.

If you’re still at a loss for ideas, check out Halloween Tips for suggestions on costumes, props, treats, games, and party ideas. Coolest Homemade Costumes has a photo gallery with hundreds of ideas, too. Want to add a few more creepy ideas? Here’s everything from fake hands to aliens in jars.

The bottom line for saving money on Halloween is creativity – what people pay top dollar for is really just plastic and prepackaged ideas. You can keep your cash for other holidays and have more fun just by thinking up your own decorations and costume. But don’t skimp on the candy. Disappointing a sugar-high host of four-foot-tall monsters can be pretty scary.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Read Next
9 Forgotten Frugal Strategies — and How to Resurrect Them
9 Forgotten Frugal Strategies — and How to Resurrect Them

These time-tested methods can help us live smarter today.

70% of Older Adults Botch This Basic Retirement Question
70% of Older Adults Botch This Basic Retirement Question

Can you answer this fundamental retirement income question?

3 Cable TV Companies Hiking Prices for 2020
3 Cable TV Companies Hiking Prices for 2020

Still married to your cable company? Hold on to your wallet!

Cut These 11 Expenses Now If You Hope to Retire Early
Cut These 11 Expenses Now If You Hope to Retire Early

Like the idea of financial independence? Part of the FIRE equation is cutting costs.

9 Free Things That Used to Cost Us Money
9 Free Things That Used to Cost Us Money

Not everything is getting more expensive.

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Most Popular
11 Things Retirees Should Always Buy at Costco
11 Things Retirees Should Always Buy at Costco

This leader in bulk shopping is a great place to find discounts in the fixed-income years.

Over 50? The CDC Says You Need These 4 Vaccines
Over 50? The CDC Says You Need These 4 Vaccines

Fall is the time to schedule vaccines that can keep you healthy — and even save your life.

9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again
9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again

The warehouse store offers an enormous selection, but these products aren’t coming back.

11 Senior Discounts for Anyone Age 55 or Older
11 Senior Discounts for Anyone Age 55 or Older

There is no need to wait until you’re 65 to take advantage of so-called “senior” discounts.

8 Things You Can Get for Free at Pharmacies
8 Things You Can Get for Free at Pharmacies

In this age of higher-priced drugs and complex health care systems, a trip to the pharmacy can spark worry. Freebies sure do help.

These Are the 4 Best Medicare Advantage Plans for 2020
These Are the 4 Best Medicare Advantage Plans for 2020

Medicare Advantage customers themselves rate these plans highest.

The 10 Most Commonly Stolen Vehicles in America
The 10 Most Commonly Stolen Vehicles in America

A new model parks atop the list of vehicles that thieves love to pilfer.

11 Household Items That Go Bad — or Become Dangerous
11 Household Items That Go Bad — or Become Dangerous

When you get the impulse to stockpile these everyday items, pay close attention to their expiration dates.

7 Ways to Boost Your Credit Score Fast
7 Ways to Boost Your Credit Score Fast

Your financial security might soon depend upon the strength of your credit score.

19 High-Paying Jobs You Can Get With a 2-Year Degree
19 High-Paying Jobs You Can Get With a 2-Year Degree

These jobs pay more than the typical job in the U.S. — and no bachelor’s degree is required.

5 Ways to Get Amazon Prime for Free
5 Ways to Get Amazon Prime for Free

Hesitant to drop $119 a year on an Amazon Prime membership? Here’s how to get it for free.

10 Reasons Why You Should Actually Retire at 62
10 Reasons Why You Should Actually Retire at 62

If you can, here are several good reasons to retire earlier than we’re told to.

3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free
3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free

With a little ingenuity, you can cut Office costs to zero.

14 Things That Are ‘Free’ With Medicare
14 Things That Are ‘Free’ With Medicare

These services could save you money and help prevent costly health problems.

5 Keys to Making Your Car Last for 200,000 Miles
5 Keys to Making Your Car Last for 200,000 Miles

Pushing your car to 200,000 miles — and beyond — can save you piles of cash. Here’s how to get there.

26 States That Do Not Tax Social Security Income
26 States That Do Not Tax Social Security Income

These states won’t tax any of your Social Security income — and in some cases, other types of retirement income.

5 Things That Make Life More Meaningful for Retirees
5 Things That Make Life More Meaningful for Retirees

Retirees agree: These are the things that give them purpose and fulfillment in their golden years.

10 Things You Should Never Do With Bleach
10 Things You Should Never Do With Bleach

Does the pandemic have you reaching for bleach more than ever before? Learn the ins and outs of using this powerful disinfectant.

15 Amazon Purchases That We Are Loving Right Now
15 Amazon Purchases That We Are Loving Right Now

These practical products make everyday life a little easier.

View More Articles

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Add a Comment

Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.