Are You Ready for Halloween?
Halloween is nearly here! It’s time to eat lots of candy, scare your neighbors and alter your identity for one fun night of fantasy! But if you aren’t careful, your post-Halloween budget will be even more frightening than your costume. According to a recent National Retail Federation survey, this Halloween, Americans are planning to spend a spooky amount of money to celebrate: $3.2 billion on costumes, $2.7 billion on décor, and $2.6 billion on candy.
According to data from other Charlie Friends, Americans spend an average of $43 on just costumes alone. And this doesn’t include event tickets, decor, candy, etc.
So– how can you manage your budget so that your wallet feels treated rather than tricked?
Consider these 6 simple ways to save money during Halloween:
1) Know Your Values & Have a Budget
Before buying anything, take a minute to think about what a really fun Halloween looks like. Get detailed with this. Imagine the costumes, the candy, the decorations, where you’ll go, what you’ll do– all of it.
Now, ask yourself– can I afford all of this?
There are lots of really neat Halloween themed products and experiences out there. But, chances are, you don’t have the money (or time) to have or do them all.
That’s where a budget comes into play. Looking at the numbers doesn’t exactly seem like the most festive thing to do, but be assured: having a budget isn’t going to restrict you. It’s going to enable you to focus your spending on what makes you the happiest.
And– this budgeting exercise is easy to do. Look at your finances and determine the total amount that you can spend this Halloween. This is a hard line in the sand. You can’t go over this number.
Then, look at all of the components of that really fun Halloween you imagined and rank them in order of importance to you.
Finally, pay for each component on the list until you hit your budgeted amount. You’ll likely run out of money before you run out of list, but your Halloween will still be great because you put your money towards the things that you value most.
Hopefully, some of the other tips in this article will help you stretch your available funds a little further (especially in the costume department!)
And hey– there’s no judgment here. Spend as much– or as little– as you want as long as you don’t go broke doing it!
2) Reuse or Trade Costumes
Do you have old costumes hanging around from previous Halloweens?
If so, you may be able to get another year out of them. This tactic can work well if you have multiple children at different ages that can use the previously worn costumes of their siblings. (Or, if you/they really love another year’s costume and want to be that character again!)
If you don’t have multiple children (or your kids refuse to wear hand-me-downs), hanging on to gently worn outfits can still be a good idea.
You can help others in your circle save money by being willing to trade costumes.
Tip: Have an annual costume swap with your friends and family a couple of weeks before Halloween. Bring your kiddos along to see if anything catches their eye. You can shop for costumes this way and pay in trade.
Can’t reuse in the family or don’t have anyone to trade with? Consider checking thrift shops for costume bargains.
3) Make Your Own Costumes
DIY’ing anything has the potential to save you a ton of cash and crafting your own costumes is no different.
The possibilities are only limited by your skill level (or what you can pawn off on someone else to do) and your materials at hand.
There are tons of resources online that will inspire and guide you in creating a unique and budget-friendly outfit. (If all else fails, maybe you can trade services with a friend or family member who can sew!)
If you have a closet full of old costumes, all of those materials are now at your disposal.
Cut them up and create amazing mashups. You can also try creating costumes out of old clothing, sheets, cardboard or anything else you have at home.
You’ll be saving money and your brand of scary won’t be found anywhere else. How awesome is that?!
4) Spend Less on Treats
It’s great to be generous to your neighbors, but it shouldn’t bust your budget.
Here are some ways to give for less:
Instead of handing out full-size candy bars, consider giving the fun size versions. Visitors will still really like the treat and one bag of candy will cover several costumed guests.
Alternatively, consider buying the bags of treats with lollipops and other hard candy. They’re not typically as popular as chocolate, but it’s a good way to participate in the holiday while saving some green.
While the really amazing deals on candy can be found the day after Halloween, retailers will start to discount their goods a few days before the holiday in anticipation of depleting their seasonal stock.
A word of caution, though: Waiting until the absolute last minute is bad for your budget as the candy will cost more on Halloween Eve.
You could also offer homemade cookies or candy to your trick-or-treaters. (You should take note, however, that some children and parents may be distrustful of any goodies that aren’t factory wrapped.)
5) Host Your Halloween Bash for Less
Throwing a themed party can be very expensive. But it doesn’t have to be. If you take the time to plan and are willing to shop around, you can have a boo-tiful event for a scary low price.
Here are just a few ideas:
Check your local discount stores for deals on paper plates, cups, napkins, and décor.
Consider buying Halloween decorations on clearance the day after the holiday in anticipation of next year’s event. Take comfort knowing that the décor will last for years to come and you’ll only have to buy it once. Be proud that when you did buy it, you got a deal!
Ask your party guests to bring their own drinks and a dish to share with others. You can be the one to make Halloween potluck a thing!
6) Buy Costumes on Clearance
Note: While this tidbit doesn’t help for this coming Halloween, it may be wise to factor in some clearance shopping into your budget. Then you’ll be prepared to really win next Halloween.
The best time to buy a Halloween costume? November 1st (or shortly thereafter).
Stores want to get rid of excess Halloween merchandise quickly so you can score a great deal with markdowns after the holiday (and sometimes during the days leading up to the holiday).
The discounts will get even deeper as more time passes. Granted, the longer you wait, the less selection there will be. It’s a trade-off.
When you’re scouring for deals, be sure to grab any wigs, makeup or other accessories that you may need.
Note: Trying to plan out a costume a year in advance may not work out as you hope (especially with the children). However, having a Halloween themed inventory can be a big help for holidays to come.
There you have it—6 simple ways to save money during Halloween.Tell your friends: What else have you done to save money during Halloween?
Also published on Medium.