How to Celebrate Halloween on a Budget and Still Have a Scary Good Time

Three people dress up as vampires while holding a candle in a wooden structure.
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The creepy, animatronic witch drew you in with her cackling laugh.

That would be perfect for the front porch, you decide.

You meander through the Halloween displays at your favorite big-box store and spot the perfect sinister costume to wear to your co-worker’s annual holiday bash.

Everyone will get a kick out of this.

You add a couple bags of candy to your cart, because you can’t disappoint the trick-or-treaters. And right before you get to the register, you see an arrangement of pumpkins.

What’s Halloween without a spooky jack-o’-lantern?

But when the cashier rings everything up, it’s your turn to get scared… by the total.

It’s easy to get swept up in overspending to celebrate Halloween. But with some creative thinking, you can avoid the festive money traps.

5 Ways to Celebrate Halloween on a Budget

Keep spending under control this year with these money-saving suggestions.

1. Skip the Store-Bought Costume

Save a trip to the store and search the corners of your closet for something you can turn into a last-minute Halloween costume.

Throw on a brightly colored shirt and add shorts, sandals, shades and a sunscreened nose for a tourist look. Or go as a new-age witch with some drapey, black layers along with dark jewelry and goth makeup.

Speaking of makeup, check beauty stores and drug stores instead of party stores for better quality, selection and prices.

2. Shop at Dollar Stores for Decor

Sure, those motion-sensored decorations that make all the kids jump are neat. But we’ll pass on those prices.

Discount stores like Dollar Tree, Family Dollar and Five Below sell seasonal decor for just a few bucks. And don’t forget the ones you can make yourself.

Here’s a huge list of cheap Halloween decorations to get you inspired.

3. Nix the Candy

You don’t have to be a Scrooge (wrong holiday, we know) and ignore the knocks from trick-or-treaters come Oct. 31. But you don’t have to waste money buying what you hope is enough bags of fun-sized chocolate either.

Swap the sweets out for Halloween candy alternatives like stickers, spider rings or glow-in-the-dark bracelets. The cost of those trinkets may be comparable to candy, but the advantage is you can save leftovers for next year.

We’re not doubting you couldn’t eat your way through half a bag of Reese’s peanut butter cups, but who wants all those extra calories — or the guilt trip from the dentist.

4. Make the Most Out of Your Pumpkin

There’s so much more you can do with that orange gourd than propping it in a window for decor.

You can add pumpkin puree to a pasta dish, roast pumpkin seeds, make a planter or whip up a pumpkin face mask.

Check out this story for more ideas on what to do with pumpkins after Halloween.

Sidenote: If you can’t get enough of pumpkin spice lattes, here’s how you can get them for less.

5. Bring the Kids to a Free Event

Haunted hayrides, ghost tours and trips to amusement parks include admission fees. Entertain the kids with free Halloween events instead.

Local fall festivals, costume parades, trunk-or-treat events and outdoor movie screenings are great options to get in the Halloween spirit without spending a dime. Check your city’s events calendar or your local newspaper to see if your town is putting on any free Halloween events.

Or let the kids invite their friends over for pumpkin carving, a Halloween-themed arts-and-crafts session or a spooky movie marathon at home. You don’t have to be out and about, spending money, to have a ghoulishly good time.

Nicole Dow is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder.


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