I know that I’m a little late on this post, but since one of the ways that I save on Halloween is buying a year ahead, I’m hoping this still helps.
- Buy on Craig’s List, eBay, or at consignment shops—We’ve bought and sold costumes online, making the cost very little each year. Resell your costumes next October online to recoup most of the money you spent to buy them for you. We bought a costume for our daughter this year at a local consignment sale for only $6. The original price of the costume was $15, and we plan to resell it next year to make back most of our money spent.
- Let costumes double as dress up—Wearing an outfit only once or twice a year seems wasteful. Instead, pick costumes or accessories that can be added to your child’s dress up box. This won’t save you money, but it will make the money you spend seem a lot more worth it.
- Make your own—Buying material/fabric and sewing a costume can sometimes be cheaper than buying one in a store or used. Even cheaper, though, is finding a way to make a costume out of something you already own. A sheet turns into a ghost. A scarf, some jewelry, and a long flowing skirt turns into a fortune teller. This year, I’m dressing as a really bad lunch lady. A friend and I make the meals for the children at church on Wednesday nights, and we thought it would be funny for both of us to be lunch ladies. One year my cousin’s family all dressed as character’s from Little Red Riding Hood, using clothes that they already owned (Grandmother, Little Red Riding Hood, Wolf, Lumber Jack/Woodsman, and a little Woodland Fairy as an extra addition to the story).
- Keep it clean—I recently read on an online forum suggesting to put on the costumes after supper to go trick-or-treating to avoid the risk of spills and stains.
- On November 1st, buy for next year—pencils, erasers, stickers, toys will all keep fine for another year. Buy them when they are 50% off or more to save next year.
- Use coupons and search for sales—Look through coupon matchups and hone in on candy sales and coupons.
- Buy in bulk—I like to hand out Yummy Earth Organic Lollipops. They are free of the major allergens and are a slightly healthier option to the other candies. I buy them through Frontier co-op when I catch a sale. While they are a little more expensive than other candies, I feel a lot better about handing them out. Yes, I have some mainstream candies included in our trick-or-treat bowl too, as I don’t want to get egged or toilet papered.
- Homemade—I only recommend homemade for children you know personally. Having a few homemade cookies and apple cider on hand for friends is a nice touch. A batch of sugar cookies cut in pumpkin or ghost shapes costs next to nothing to make.
- Reverse trick-or-treat—last year we had such an abundance of butternut squash from our garden that we brought each of our neighbors one when we visited. There was absolutely no cost because even the seeds were saved from the previous year and were free. It was so nice how everyone was surprised and pleased with their treats.
- Decorations are another case for buying after the holiday—We opt for fall decorations as opposed to Halloween decorations for the most part. This helps because I can leave them up until Thanksgiving, taking down just a few Halloween items and adding in a few more Thanksgiving items here and there. Almost all of the decorations we have are either repurposed, homemade, or bought after the holiday at deep discount prices. See the link for more tips and ideas on ways to save money on fall and Halloween decorations.
- Opt for a pie pumpkin—What is better this time of the year than homemade pumpkin pie? Make use of the meat of the pumpkin by roasting it for a pie. Make pepitas out of the pumpkin seeds for a salty treat.
- Support a good cause—Some of the best prices I’ve seen have been at church pumpkin sales and fundraisers. Search those out for a good price on your pumpkin as opposed to shopping at the grocery stores. A friend who works her church’s pumpkin sale says that this week they are deeply discounting their pumpkins so that they sell more. Being late can sometimes be best.
- Make it an experience—When you visit a pumpkin patch, you’ll usually get a hay ride of some sort, a pumpkin, and some other activity or treat, depending on the farm. Look for coupons in school coupon books and in mailers to make it a little less expensive. Some farms give discounts for large groups so be sure to call ahead and ask.
Crafts and Activities
- Search www.parents.com , www.janbrett.com , or www.doverpublications.com for FREE coloring pages and craft ideas.
- Ask teacher friends for ideas—teachers are some of the most creative people when it comes to crafts for free or cheap. Ask for their help in getting some ideas together.
- Search local moms groups and forums for activities. Knoxmoms.com is one of my favorites in our area for the most up-to-date information about family friendly and free activities.
- Visit your library—Each year we check out Halloween themed books from the library to read on the week of Halloween as a way of celebrating. It is fun, educational, and completely free. Don’t you just love the library?
On a personal note, please, please be safe on Halloween. A loved one was killed by a drunk driver on Halloween so I know first hand how dangerous the roads can be. Please wear reflective gear, bring flashlights, obey traffic laws, stay off the roads if possible, and for Goodness sake, please don’t drink and drive. Our family only trick-or-treats in the early evening and only visit houses in our immediate neighborhood. We want our daughter to know the fun and festivity of Halloween but to be safe at the same time. Have a safe and festive holiday!