7 Ways to Celebrate Halloween on a Budget

Photo (cc) by A Train

What’s spookier than creepy costumes, haunted houses and talking skeletons on Halloween? The expenses incurred to pull it all together!

But you can avoid frightening your bank account by using the following seven tips to slash costs without missing out on the fun.

1. Create a DIY costume

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Pinterest is always available and full of budget-friendly ideas. If you are creatively challenged, BuzzFeed offers a comprehensive list of ideas you can pull off without exerting much effort, time or money.

Also, check out our post, “12 Cheap and Easy Halloween Costumes You Can DIY” for more ideas.

Remember to keep it cheap. Instead of spending top dollar to add the finishing touches to your costume, combine a few household items to achieve your desired look.

Items you may find useful for Halloween makeup include: food color, gelatin, Karo syrup and cornstarch. Here are some instructions to help you get started.

2. Buy a used costume, or swap with friends

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Prefer premade costumes? Try Freecycle.org, eBay, Craigslist or your local thrift store for low-cost or free options. I’ve done this in the past and saved much more than half of what I would’ve paid for a new costume.

Another idea is to organize a gathering with a group of your closest friends and family, and swap away. Just be sure to contribute a costume or two.

3. Buy candy in bulk, and look for coupons

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Buying big bags at warehouse stores like Costco and Sam’s Club can be your best deal. But always compare the per-ounce price before you buy. The smaller bag may be a better deal. You will not know until you check.

Also, take advantage of promotional offers. Coupons such as $5 off a purchase of $30 or more really come in handy. You probably won’t spend this much on candy alone, but spending more than that is easy to do when you are buying groceries. Check the candy prices at the grocery store.

4. Avoid buying chocolate

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Chocolate is more expensive than sugar-based candy. Another option: Buy a limited amount of the good stuff and save it for those special kids, such as your neighbors or those with the best costumes.

5. Use your imagination – not your wallet – when decorating

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Already have art supplies lying around the house? Put them to good use. Cardboard boxes spray-painted gray or black make great gravestone markers. And hollowed-out pumpkins are the perfect votive candle holders.

Check out this list from Halloween Tips for more creative ideas.

6. Cut costs on store decor and supplies

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If you decide to purchase your decorations or other Halloween supplies, look for ways to cut the cost.

Start by asking around. The neighbors may be willing to lend you a few decorations they don’t plan to use this coming Halloween.

Also, try the local discount store. Have you checked the dollar store? You might be surprised at the bargains offered on Halloween decor.

Finally, do not forget to look for coupons. Look for the 40 percent-off coupons in the Sunday circulars for arts and crafts stores, such as Michaels and Jo-Ann Fabrics.

7. Start planning for next year

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Once the big day has passed, start preparing for next year by stocking up on any excess inventory left at stores. The initial sales start at 50 percent off, and the discounts get steeper over time as retailers become desperate to get rid of any remaining ghosts of Halloween inventory.

What tips have you used to celebrate Halloween on a budget? Let us know in our Forums. It’s a place where you can swap questions and answers on money-related matters, life hacks and ingenious ways to save.

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

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