It’s that time of year again—Halloween. The calendar may say the end of September, but the end of October will be here in the blink of an eye. Soon the spooks will be looking for some treats.
Going all out for Halloween can be tempting, especially if you have kids. But you can easily bust your budget if you are not careful. Final figures for last year’s Halloween spending indicate that Americans spent around $8.4 billion on the holiday. This year, the National Retail Federation estimates that Americans will spend $9.1 billion—a record.
Discipline and managing your spending are the most critical elements of your fiscal plan. You will need to draw upon the strength you have accumulated in these two areas to survive all the Halloween-related encroachments on your budget.
Here are 10 tips to help you have fun and maintain a lid on your Halloween spending this year.
One of the most expensive items in your Halloween budget is candy and this applies whether you have children or not. You can easily spend 100s of dollars on this item alone.
Tip #1. Visit warehouse and discount stores to purchase bulk quantities of candy. It doesn’t have to be designer goodies. If you really want to make it more stylish, you can always buy little gift sacks from the party favors store and package up the candy yourself.
Tip #2. Don’t leave out a bowl of candy by the door or on the porch. Most kids will take only what they feel is their fair share, but not all. You could easily run out of candy before the night is over.
An equally expensive item in your Halloween budget is the costume. The average person spends roughly $75 for a costume, which is a lot of money, especially if it is not recycled. If you have kids, they will want to outdo their friends when it comes to their costume. And, almost everyone is going to be wearing something from the movies. Even if you don’t have kids, you may find yourself going to a Halloween party. You want to look cool too.
Tip #3. Sew your own costume. Take the kids to the costume store and let them select what they want. If you have a sewing machine or have friends with one, hop over to the discount fabric store, buy patterns, material, and stitch up the costume yourself. It will be of much better quality and you can easily save it for someone else to use next year.
Tip #4. Make up a costume from stuff around the house. Raid the closets and drawers, even the linen closet, piece it all together and make a costume. This will save you money and expand the creative consciousness of your children.
Tip #5. Head to Goodwill or consignment shops. Many people take their Halloween costumes to these second-hand shops once the holiday is over and you can find gently used costumes for very little money.
Tip #6. Organize a neighborhood costume swap. Select a day for all the families in the neighborhood to get together. Bring out last year’s costumes that no longer fit anyone in the family. Usually, there will always be other kids who are just the right size or your kids will find a great costume they can wear. Make it more fun by having food and games.
Tip #7. Head to the Dollar store, surplus or other discount stores in your area and scoop up Halloween decorations. This you should do now before the supply dwindles. Better yet, make the decorations yourself. This can be an amazingly fun family project and the decorations will be infused with personal imagination. If you save them, your children will have the memories to reflect upon each year as they grow older.
Tip # 8. November 1 is the best time to purchase your decorations for next Halloween. Head to your favorite stores early and collect everything you need. Be sure to store everything where you can find it next year.
Tip #9. Purchase pumpkins for jack-o-lanterns yourself. Gather up the kids or friends and head out to the local pumpkin farms. Wait until close to Halloween so they will be as fresh as possible. Carve the pumpkins the morning of Halloween for the best and most long-lasting appearance. Better yet, don’t carve them at all, draw faces or glue decorations to the surface. This way you can use the pumpkins for Thanksgiving too!
Tip #10. Keep the kids entertained with free events. This goes for you too! Check your local newspaper and magazines, school bulletins and other community events outlets. You are sure to find free haunted houses, trick or treat events at shopping centers and neighborhood parties.