How to Save on Halloween
With the cost of Halloween continuing to rise for many families, it can be valuable to look for opportunities to save. There are different options to save on candy, costumes, and decorations including coupons, repurposing old items, and searching for deals.
For many people, the excitement over Halloween starts weeks before the actual event. Whether you have a family or you’re an adult who’s young at heart and likes to dress up, there can be a lot of excitement and buildup leading to Halloween.
There can also be some significant costs associated with all this excitement. The average American spent an estimated $185.50 on Halloween in 2018. That number was up from $169.81 in 2017. These numbers are based on a survey of 1,000 people conducted by LendEDU.
Of those costs, candy accounted for 41% of spending. That means the average American spends more than $76 on Halloween candy. The next largest Halloween expense is the costumes, which account for 36% of spending. Additionally, the average American spends around $42 on decorations.
Luckily, there are ways to save money on these costs and reduce your Halloween spending without sacrificing the fun and festivities.
On this page:
How to Save on Halloween Costumes
A Halloween costume is a big part of the fun; so how do you save on what you wear, or what your kids wear, while still making sure it looks great?
DIY costumes can often be made with things that you already have. Search Pinterest or crafty and creative blogs for some great ideas.
For example, you might dress as someone from a specific time period, or you might do something simple requiring just face paint.
Transform What You Already Have
This was touched on a bit above, but go through your closet, your children’s closet and maybe even your family members’ closets and see what’s already there. You can then add some details to that to make a new costume. For example, you might end up doing a little crafting and adding some sequins or beading to make an entirely new costume.
An example would be turning a long skirt into a mermaid tail. Add some sequins and old costume jewelry, and you’re ready to go.
Vintage stores can hold all kinds of treasures, especially when Halloween rolls around. Look around and see what you can find not only at vintage stores, but also discount secondhand shops like Goodwill.
You may not even find items to put together a DIY costume, but you may find an actual costume that someone has resold or donated to the shop.
Mix and Match
If you want to save money, consider mixing and matching. Take items you already have and then buy one or two additional pieces to complete the costume. You don’t have to buy everything new.
Shop the Dollar Store
The local dollar store can be the perfect place to find items for a Halloween costume for extremely cheap. Dollar stores are known for having a great selection of seasonal items as well.
Sometimes we end up spending a ton of money on perfecting Halloween costumes because we have an idea in our head or we’ve seen an inspiring picture. Be flexible and go with what you have — it doesn’t have to be perfect.
Scour Online Classifieds
Online classifieds and boards can be a great resource if you want to find Halloween costumes no longer being used. You can use eBay, Craigslist, or local Facebook groups to find items.
You can even put your own ad on these sites and let people know what you’re looking for — and you might just find it.
Trade with Friends
Whether you are looking for a costume for yourself or your kids, consider trading with friends. Most of us only want to wear our Halloween costumes once anyway.
Shop Amazon and Online Retailers
A lot of times it’s fun to go to a store and pick out a Halloween costume, but you’re not necessarily going to save that much money doing this. Instead, shop online. Amazon, for example, has just about everything you can imagine, and you can usually find items for much cheaper than you would anywhere else.
You can also look at wholesale retailers and online party supply shops rather than shopping at a brick-and-mortar stores.
Shop Late in the Season
If you wouldn’t feel too anxious doing so, think about waiting until the day before Halloween or even the day of and then going to see what’s available. You’ll likely find some great last-minute deals.
Similarly, you can shop early for Halloween costumes as well. A good rule of thumb is to start shopping the day after Halloween. Stores are about to clear everything off the shelves and start making room for other holiday items, so take advantage of their need to get rid of everything.
Use Costumes from Your Kids’ Activities
If your kids play sports, take a dance class, or do any similar activities, use what they wear as their costumes. You can put a fun spin on it and make them zombie soccer players if they prefer.
Keep Your Kids on Budget
When you’re shopping for Halloween items, keep your kids on a budget. Give them a certain amount of money they can spend, and they can have no more than that. Let them exercise their creativity in the process.
For a little extra fun, make it a competition. See who can come in most under budget.
How to Save on Halloween Candy
What’s Halloween without the sweet treats? Since the cost of Halloween candy does account for a lot of what the average American spends, finding some tips and hacks to save can be helpful.
You’ll be surprised at how many Halloween coupons you’re likely to find if you start looking. Along with looking for coupons in the newspaper, make sure you check online as well. Also, stores often offer coupons in the aisles or when printing your receipt — be sure to check there for any candy deals.
While you’re looking for coupons, browse weekly sale ads and see if any of your local stores have special prices on candy.
Buy More, Save More
Most retailers will offer you incentives to buy more candy, so take advantage. Just make sure you do the math before you buy multiple packages of candy, and ensure that it will actually save you money.
Look at Non-Seasonal Items
Most stores have Halloween sections in the fall, but look at the regular candy aisle as well. The candy might not be Halloween-themed, but it may be less expensive.
Go to a Bulk Store
Costco and Sam’s Club can offer you good deals if you feel like you’re going to need a lot of candy. Of course, if you don’t have a lot of trick-or-treaters, this may not be the right option for you.
If a bulk store isn’t a good option for the candy you need, think about going to your local dollar store instead.
Stock Up for Next Year
Sometimes you might need to go ahead and buy all your Halloween candy the day after the actual holiday and save it for next year.
How to Save on Halloween Decorations
If you want to have the spookiest house on the block without spending a fortune, how can you make it happen?
Buy Pumpkins at a Store
We’ve all seen the Instagram pictures of families happily posing at the pumpkin patch following a festive hayride. The children all pick out their pumpkins, and it’s a great experience until you realize how much it ended up costing.
Going on those pumpkin patch excursions is quite a bit more expensive than buying your pumpkin at your local grocery store, so if you want to save money, you might want to skip buying at the patch.
Look for DIY Ideas on Pinterest
Pinterest can be a treasure chest of great ideas that you can use for any holiday. You can find some great crafty blogs and ideas by looking at Pinterest.
Word of warning, however — some of these projects aren’t as cheap or easy as they might appear to be. A good way to discern whether or not a project is right for you is to read reviews and see what other people said.
DIY Isn’t Always Cheaper
While a DIY project can be a way to save on Halloween, this isn’t always the case. Sometimes it’s better to buy something already made as opposed to trying to do it yourself. For example, buying Halloween-themed wreaths for your front door is probably going to be cheaper than trying to create your own masterpiece.
Go All Out with Lighting
Lighting is something that you can use to give your house a scary vibe, and it won’t break the bank. Look on Amazon or an online retailer for cheap Halloween-colored lights that you can hang around your house. The effect will go a long way, and you won’t have to spend a ton on creating it.
Use Multi-Purpose Decorations
Halloween decorations are something you can also use for a relatively short period. There’s probably only going to be a few weeks you have them out at most.
Think about incorporating decorations that can last longer. For example, instead of doing decorations that are entirely specific to Halloween, think about general fall décor instead. This way, you’re getting more use out of it, but you’re still in the spirit. It can last you through Thanksgiving as well.
Use Social Media
Much like looking for costumes on the cheap, you can use social media and online classified sites to find cheaper or maybe even free decorations.
Put up an ad and see if anyone has something they want to get rid of. You can also look at the ads already online and see if anyone has something. Even if someone wants to charge for their decorations, they are probably going to be willing to negotiate with you.
Social media is a great place to find seasonal decorations that people want to get rid of — you never know what you might find.
Having a Happy Halloween on a Budget
As is the case with so many other holidays and special events, Halloween can be fun and exciting, but it can also be tough on your budget. However, with some planning and some proactive steps, it doesn’t have to destroy your budget.