How to Have a Frightfully Frugal Halloween

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October 6, 2011

As Halloween merchandise overtakes the stores this month, it can be tempting to overspend on candy, costumes, and decorations.  Halloween is a huge money maker for retailers, and it is one of the most decorated holidays, second only to Christmas. With a little bit of planning this year, you can save money by celebrating the frugal way.

Frugal Halloween Candy

Have you looked at the prices of candy lately?  Even on sale, name brand candy will put a hefty dent in your wallet.  Name brand candy is very expensive – especially the big bags that contain individually wrapped chocolate pieces.   And since unwrapped candy is never a good idea to give out, you need to get creative.

Make your own little packages of treats to give out to trick-or-treaters. Use inexpensive tulle netting, or even construction paper, to make pouches to hold your treats.  Fill the pouches with inexpensive, off-brand candy. Since chocolate is expensive, put just a little chocolate in each pouch and combine it with lollipops, bubble gum, or whatever inexpensive candy you can find in bulk bags. Tie the pouch with string, and give each child a pouch.

Another frugal idea is to buy your candy at the drug store the day before Halloween. The stores often mark the candy down during the last days before Halloween. It may not be name brands, but it won’t break the bank either.

Frugal Halloween Costumes

How many times have you spent money on a Halloween costume that your child only wore one time?  This year, think outside of the box when it comes to costumes.  While the aisles of your local stores may be filled with costumes your child would love to have, you can often create an even better (and more original) costume for a lot less money.

One of the best ways to find ideas for costumes is to browse the ones online.  Look through the costumes they have for sale, and figure out how you can make the same costume for a lot less.  Think through what you have at home that you can repurpose into a costume.  While it certainly is easy to purchase a pre-made costume, it can also be a lot of fun to challenge yourself to make it at home. I found this fun mummy costume online.   To make it at home, I would use safety pins and attach strips of an old cut up sheet to my child’s clothes, until the clothes were completely covered in white strips.  For even more ideas, check out Halloween Costumes that Won’t Scare Your Budget.

If you enjoy sewing, there are many sites that have free patterns and ideas online.  For fabric, you can purchase discount fabric or use what you already have in your stash.  You do not have to be a whiz on the sewing machine to make cute costumes.  A glue gun is a great temporary solution for attaching fabric, and I have a friend who actually uses a stapler to make her kids’ costumes.  And speaking of friends, don’t forget to ask yours if they have any costumes that you could borrow.

Frugal Halloween Decorations

You and your kids can have a great time decorating for Halloween this year by making all of your own decorations.  Jack-o-lanterns lit with a candle are a favorite front porch decoration.  This year, give your jack-o-lanterns a unique look by using some of these free carving templates.

Hanging ghosts are easy to make using tissue paper.  Wad up a bunch tissue paper to make the head, then drape a tissue over the head and cinch it at the neck with a piece of string.  Use a black marker to draw eyes.  Hang bunches of ghosts from your ceiling for a spooktacular effect.   For large ghosts, use a sheet instead of tissue paper.

Use this tombstone template, paper, and cardboard (or Styrofoam) to make a cemetery in your front yard.  Need ideas for epitaphs?  Check out these Funny Stones to Tickle Your Funny Bones, or these Eerie Epitaphs to decorate your tombstones.   Need some spooky spiders for your graveyard?  Use black balloons for the body and attach legs made out of black construction paper.

Halloween is a holiday that is loved by most everyone, but the cost of costumes, candy, and decorations can often cause us to spend more than we have.  This Halloween, instead of giving your budget a trick, give it a treat.  Use your creativity, shopping savvy, and online resources to have a frugal Halloween that won’t break the budget.

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