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Halloween is one of my favorite holidays, second only to Christmas.
After all, what’s not to love about getting to be whatever or whoever you want for an entire night…
From a fairy tale princess to a ninja turtle, Wonder Woman to a Jedi…
If you can dream it, you can be it.
All that fun can come with a hefty price tag though, especially with little munchkins in the house. We love the holiday so much in fact that it’s easy to spend far more than we ever intended by tossing just a few more decorations into our shopping baskets or splurging on just the right costume.
But, there has to be a better way to have a Boo-tastic Halloween without breaking the bank, right?
Definitely! If you’re ready to jump into the fun of the season on a budget, check out my roundup of 15 ways you can save money this Halloween.
#1 – Dress up with dress-up clothes
To save money on your kids’ costumes, skip the costume aisle and its hefty price tags and head over to the toy section. They often sell kids’ dress-up clothes for a fraction of what you’ll pay for a “costume” and no one will ever know the difference.
I was recently in Walmart and their dress-up section had everything from princess dresses and tiaras to pirate hats and swords.
#2 – DIY
Another great way to save money on costumes is to make them yourself. If you’re great with a needle and thread, you could sew your costumes, but if your hopeless at sewing like me, don’t despair.
You’ll be surprised at the amazing costumes you can put together from what you already have in your house – no sewing necessary. In fact, some of the most fun I had as a kid was getting to go through my parents’ closet to come up with my Halloween costume.
#3 – Hit the resale shops
Goodwill and other resale shops will generally offer an entire section dedicated to Halloween at this time of the year where you can save big on costumes.
But, don’t just look at the costumes they have displayed. You can also find prom dresses, wedding dresses, suits and more that can be turned into fabulous costumes.
My cousin once put together a Glenda (the good witch from Wizard of Oz) costume using a prom dress, and cardboard and foil to make a crown and she looked beautiful.
#4 – Costume swap
You can also save money by swapping costumes with friends and family. Have a get together and bring all your old costumes for others to choose from. You save money and have a fun time reliving Halloweens past.
#5 – Shop clearance items
This tip won’t save you this year, but I wanted to include it because it could save you a bundle next year.
In the week after Halloween most stores put their costumes and decorations on clearance. Stock up and you could save 50 – 90%.
Hint: I like to buy costumes during this time that my kids can use to play dress up in all year.
#6 – Coupon, coupon, coupon
Keep your eye out for coupons for candy, costumes and party food if you plan to host or attend an event. And, don’t forget to use Ebates or Ibotta to earn
#7 – Pumpkin picks
Halloween just isn’t Halloween without carving pumpkins. That said they can get pricey depending on where you shop.
Skip the pumpkin patches that charge a premium and may even charge admission and pick up your pumpkin at the grocery store. And, don’t forget to look for advertised specials. Aldi and even Walmart often put their pumpkins on sale at least one time before Halloween and that’s a great time to get ready for your jack-o-lanterns.
#8 – Skip the brand-names
If you’re going to be giving out candy, skip the brand names and look for generic candy or buy in bulk. The cost of candy can add up fast so make sure that these sweet treats don’t bust your budget.
#9 – Go candy-free
Because candy is so expensive, you can save money by skipping it and handing out an alternative instead. Stickers, press-on tattoos, plastic bugs, googly-eyes and more are great candy-replacement options.
#10 – Shop at dollar stores
Dollar stores (the real ones where everything actually is $1) are great for Halloween shopping, especially when it comes to decorations. At a buck a piece, you can afford to turn your house into your most ghoulish dream.
#11 – Find free activities
Lots of communities offer great free activities for Halloween from fall festivals and hayrides to trunk-or-treats. And, they’re a great way to get in some family fun and togetherness.
#12- Make your own decorations
Just like with costumes, you can save big by making your own DIY Halloween decorations. You can cut tombstone out of cardboard, make bats out of black construction paper and create ghosts using balloons and old sheets.
#13 – Pool your resources
If you’re planning a Halloween bash, include a line on the invitation asking your friends and family to contribute a dish to the occasion. It could say something like, “All witches, ghosts and goblins should bring their spookiest dish.”
#14 – Get free food
Many restaurant chains offer free kids’ meals on Halloween or the week of Halloween with the purchase of an adult entrée. Three of our family’s favorites are McAlister’s, Fazoli’s and IHOP, where kids get free scary-face pancakes (it’s now a Halloween tradition for us).
#15 – Make a budget
Finally, you should set a budget and stick to it. When you skip this step you’re sure to overspend.
Halloween doesn’t have to cost a lot to have a lot of fun.
Use the tips above to save big, without giving up on the holiday you and your kids love.
I’d love to know what your favorite costume was as a kid! Leave it in the comments below.
And, have a safe and happy Halloween!