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Budgeting: Halloween

Budgeting for Halloween

October is a month of pumpkins, candy and goblins Ė and itís a time when "Trick-or-Treaters" of all ages open their wallets to spend. But Halloween purchases can really add up.

Donít let the first holiday of the season bust your budget. Read on to discover tips to reduce those tricky costs.

1. Trick-or-Treating

Trick-or-treating with is a great time to show off your cool costume and earn some serious candy. But for items youíll only use for a couple hours, consider budget-friendly alternatives.

Treat Bags. Stores stock shelves with plastic baskets shaped like pumpkins and other fun candy carriers. But going back to the traditional pillowcase treat bag offers an opportunity to get creative, like dying an old pillow case or decorate it to match your costume. You might even find it will hold more candy than a store-bought basket.

Candy. In the case of Halloween candy, waiting until the last minute just might work in your favor. Stores often lower prices to rid their shelves of Halloween candy early to make room for Thanksgiving and Christmas merchandise. Check the Sunday paper for coupons and donít be too picky in your selection Ė avoid the supersize and grab whateverís cheapest.

2. Halloween Entertaining

Whether youíre hosting a big party or going to someone elseís event, keep these tips in mind to make a big impression without spending big bucks.

  • Plan Ahead. Make sure you have all of the costume materials, decorations and candy that you need on Halloween day to avoid last–minute splurges.
  • Make a budget and stick to it. Like any holiday, there is the temptation to overspend during Halloween. You can set a realistic budget for your family in advance using our Entertainment Planner calculator.
  • Reuse decorations. If you keep decorations in good condition, they can often last you for years to come.
  • Get creative. Want to have the scariest looking house in your neighborhood? Get your kids or friends involved in making decorations, so you don’t break the bank making the house look frightful. Construction paper, pens and a little imagination can go a long way.
  • Get together. To help defer some of your holiday costs, plan a party with friends and family so you can share the burden (and the fun!) of hosting a neighborhood bash.
  • Shop clearance sales for next year. Enjoy significant savings on costumes and decorations by shopping just after Halloween this year for supplies you can use next year.
  • Be safe. Everyone wants to have fun on Halloween, so when hosting an event, remember to keep the environment safe for children and parents alike.

3. Cost-Conscious Costumes

Budgeting for Halloween

Whether you're outfitting yourself or helping to dress up your kids, you don't have to break the bank to have a ghoulishly good costume this Halloween. Here are a few time-tested tricks for saving yourself big-time.

Skip the store. Seasonal Halloween stores can be tempting, but purchases can really add up. Instead of visiting a specialty store to shop for your entire costume, get your costume elsewhere first and visit seasonal stores for accessories only.

Be thrifty. Cruise the thrift stores to look for accessories or the costumes you are creating. Whether it's a princess, a superhero or a zombie, you can often find what you need at a second-hand store. The price tag is likely to be less than $10 compared to $70 for a costume purchased at a specialty store.

Swap with friends. Kids don't typically wear the same costume year after year. Consider getting together with neighbors who have kids the same age as yours and swap costumes from previous years. As it happens, swapping isn't just for kids. Planning to dress up as a popular celebrity? Raid your friends' closets for the perfect accessories.

Jump online. If you are set on the idea of getting a complete costume online, check out eBay's Halloween store or other discount sites. The kids' clothing swap site, thredUP, and the Freecycle website are other good online options for cost-conscious costumes this Halloween.

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