Article by: Barry Bridges
The National Retail Federation estimates that Americans will spend a record $9.1 billion on Halloween this year, an average of $86 per household. Depending on your level of frugality, those numbers may shock you like no movie monster ever could.
Don’t panic, though. It’s not that difficult to celebrate Halloween without a petrifying price tag.
Consider the following advice about how to cut your costs on everything from costumes to candy to jack-o’-lanterns.
Get a discount disguise
According to the National Retail Federation, more than one-third of Halloween spending will be devoted to costumes. (Parents of children who idolize the hottest superhero of the moment can relate.) Fortunately, you do have some alternatives to shelling out big bucks for a brand-new costume, including:
- Make a DIY Halloween costume. You might even be able to transform your child (or yourself) into a favorite character for less than $10.
- Trade or buy gently used. Go online to look for costume swap events in your community or shop a reputable website.
- Check out a thrift shop. You might be surprised at the kind of merchandise you find.
Be a smart sweets shopper
The most practical advice for saving on Halloween candy boils down to three tips:
- Shop early before demand starts to nudge prices upward.
- Shop for generic brands. (When the candy fever hits, will trick-or-treaters really care about packaging?)
- Shop online to see if you can find candy at below retail prices.
Pick a pumpkin yourself
You could save money buying the pumpkin for your jack-o’-lantern at a roadside produce stand or a “you-pick-’em” farm instead of the grocery store.
Also, wait until a day or two before Halloween to start carving that fearsome face. Decomposition can set in quickly, leaving your jack-o’-lantern looking more like a deflated orange volleyball and forcing you to get another pumpkin.
Get crafty with decorations
You don’t have to be Martha Stewart to give your home a charmingly spooky atmosphere inside and out. You could even save on electricity by illuminating your yard with energy-efficient CFL and LED lights.
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