7 Ways to Celebrate Halloween on a Budget

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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 these tips to slash costs without missing out on the fun.

1. Create a DIY costume

A boy holds up a homemade cardboard mask in front of his face
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Keep it cheap. Instead of spending top dollar to add the finishing touches to your costume, combine a few familiar household items to achieve your desired look.

DIY your Halloween makeup with combinations of food color, corn syrup, cornstarch, flour and cold cream. Here are instructions to help you get started.

2. Buy a used costume or swap with friends

Young children ready for Halloween
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Prefer pre-made 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.

Or 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

A woman hands out candy to young children in costume
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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 just be a better deal, but you won’t 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. Compare prices and check grocery coupons for Halloween discounts.

4. Avoid buying chocolate

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Chocolate can be more expensive than other candies. You can save money by buying a limited amount of the good stuff and saving it for those special kids, such as neighbors or those with the best costumes.

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

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Do you have art supplies lying around the house? Put them to good use. Here are a few ideas:

  • Cardboard boxes spray-painted gray or black make great gravestone markers.
  • Small hollowed-out pumpkins make perfect votive candle holders.
  • Oprah has 75 ideas for cheap decor, including garlands of spiders and fabulous skulls that you decorate yourself.

6. Cut costs on store decor and supplies

pet costume
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If you decide to purchase decorations and Halloween supplies, look for ways to cut costs.

Start by checking a dollar store? You might be surprised at the bargain Halloween decor.

Also, search for discounts and promo codes on all things Halloween at craft supply stores — Michaels and Jo-Ann Fabrics, for instance.

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.

Sales can begin at 50% off with steeper discounts over time as retailers grow desperate to get rid of their remaining ghosts of Halloween inventory.

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