The costs of Halloween seem to rise each year. Your schedule is full and time is short, so it’s all too easy to grab a box of Snickers and a superhero on a hanger at the local big box store. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with that! They make some pretty cute costumes for kids, and those little chocolates can miraculously fall in to your lunch bag leading up to the holiday – for quality control, of course. The big box route has one major down-fall. The price! Costumes are $20 before makeup or accessories, and a small box of treats is outrageous! With over 2 weeks to go, you might just find enough time to do things a little more cost effectively. You could make a costume (see our great list of ideas from last year), or for those not feeling particularly crafty, try one of these money saving techniques!
Buying, selling, and trading used costumes is a great way to get some extra use out of something that would otherwise see only hours! They are generally still in excellent condition, and sell for a fraction of that “hanger” price. We bought my son’s amazing shark costume from a mom in a local Facebook group for only $5! We can add face paint, Vaseline for a water effect, and some cute tights very inexpensively! Stores like Once Upon A Child will have racks of excellent used costumes as well this time of year, if your little one is old enough to be picky. Beware of stores like Value Village – this is their black season. They make more money at this time of year than the rest of the year combined. The store will be busy, new items will be mixed in with old, and there will be lots of impulse items to beef up your bill.
The growing Christmas tradition of large inflated lawn ornaments has decided to spill over to Halloween for some reason. I love seeing house that really get into the spirit, but this trend seems very odd to me. Unlike its wintery cousin, Halloween is full of mischief. It’s bad enough to have a lovingly carved jack-o-lantern smashed, or have to clean off egg residue, never mind mourn the loss of an expensive piece of seasonal decoration! For me, I’ll stick to the classics. A pumpkin or two, and maybe some interesting gourds, always look nice on a doorstep or balcony display. For fun with the kids, hang cheese cloth over a Styrofoam cup and suspend for a fantastic ghostly effect! Make collages of coloured leaves, or make fun pumpkin cut outs. They will look far better than anything you can buy at the store and the kids will be so proud!
Those perfectly boxed Halloween size treats are cute, but have you ever thought about how much they cost? Boxes of 50 are commonly priced at $9.99. That’s $.50 a piece! If you’ve got a large number of kids coming, or want to snack while you hand out (who doesn’t), that’s a scary looking Halloween bowl! Bulk stores have lots of individually wrapped goodies for so much less. Chocolates wrapped in eyeball foil, marshmallow ghosts, or chewy toffees are a hit! For a food-free treat, try your local dollar store. They have party packs of 6-10 toys for a dollar, ensuring your money goes a lot further, and everyone can enjoy!
One final note on treats - it might be very tempting to bake a cute little treat and wrap it up nicely, but my suggestion is not to. Even in my safe little community, people are very skeptical of handmade snacks, and the vast majority of them would not be enjoyed. Even sending treats to school merits at least a call ahead. You’ll want to know numbers, peanut-free regulations, and how best to transport your kind gesture so that it doesn’t go to waste! Bake for your family, or even your workplace, but go store bought for trick-or-treaters.
How do you save money on commercially-driven holidays? Have you got any spooky and savvy tips? Tell us about them on Facebook!