Whether you have kids or not, Halloween is one of those holidays that attracts everyone. And even if your home is empty of little spooks, many of us still want to have a super haunted house and plenty of goodies to pass out. Okay, there are a few scrooges who hide inside the house with the lights turned off, but that is not the majority. For those of us with children, the pressure to have the latest, most popular costume can easily cause us to completely forget about budgets and our commitment to save money. In fact, according to the National Retail Federation, Halloween spending will hit $8.4 billion this year. This is a huge boon for retailers, and a potential disaster for your financial health, especially considering the massive Christmas shopping looming around the corner.
Here are 8 tips that will help you save money and still have that knock-out Halloween experience that you and your family are hoping for.
- Checkout the Second-Hand and Vintage Clothing Stores. Vintage and second-hand clothing stores are great places to find affordable and unique clothing, including Halloween costumes. Or, with a bit of creativity, especially if your kids are a bit older, you can put together an impressive disguise from the various clothing items, hats and jewelry you can find in these outlets.
- Swap costumes with friends or family members. Chances are your little ones are the perfect size for that costume your friend or sister can no longer use. Before you head out to the store, check with them and see what costumes you already have one hand that can be swapped around to keep everyone happy and save you money.
- Make the costume yourself. If you have a talent for sewing, and a machine, make costumes yourself. There are tons of sewing patterns, material is affordable and what you sew yourself will be of much better quality and last much longer that what you can buy in the store.
- Portion out your candy. If you live in a popular neighborhood where kids arrive by the carloads, then skip the gourmet, specially wrapped chocolate delights, and buy the bulk mixed candy bags from Target, Walmart, Costco and other discount retail outlets. Answer the door and give out a reasonable portion to your trick-or-treaters. Resist the urge to leave out a huge plastic bowl or pumpkin filled with candy. You could find yourself out of treats within a half hour.
- Go on a treasure hunt in your house. Chances are you still have stuff left over from last year hidden in cabinets, closets and drawers. Before you head out the door to buy decorations, save money and send the kids on a treasure hunt to find leftover decorations. You can make it fun by offering prizes for the one who finds the most.
- Decorate with stuff you can use after the holiday. Sure, most of your Halloween decorations are going to be plastic but try making your major display from edible items, such as pumpkins and apples.
- Take advantage of all coupons and shop at the last minute. Clip out coupons from your local newspapers and magazine and take them with you to the store. If you can handle waiting until the last minute, all retailers significantly discount the prices on costumes, candy and decorations two days before Halloween. You will save money by waiting. If you prefer to shop early, hit the dollar stores and buy bulk items from online retailers.
- Stock up now for next year. Retailers like Target, Kmart and Home Depot discount Halloween decorations by as much as 75% at the beginning of November. Select items that will hold up to the wear and tear and be available for you to use every year.