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Last updated on 22th October 2019

Top tips for enjoying Halloween on a tight budget

If you’re on a tight budget, then you need to consider ways to save. There are several ways to do this without spoiling the spirit of Halloween. So, here are our quick tips on how to save money at Halloween.
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Halloween is an exciting time for children and many adults also enjoy the potential parties that happen at this time of the year. However, it can get very expensive, particularly with Halloween costumes and decorations all costing a lot of money, especially at this time of the year. If you’re on a tight budget, then you need to consider ways to save. There are several ways to do this without spoiling the spirit of Halloween. So, here are our quick tips on how to save money at Halloween.

1. Avoid Instagram and other social media networks

The first big tip for a cheaper Halloween is to avoid social media if you can. We’re all excited by the news we share on Facebook and the images on Instagram, but they can also be a bad influence on our spending habits. Especially with lots of influencers posting images of the perfect Halloween costume.

While some places have some great cheap costumes Halloween enthusiasts will love or fantastic DIY decorations for Halloween parties, they can also have expensive items that are very tempting. Social media can also be a place where friends and family can share their potential Halloween costumes for the big night and this can get rather competitive. A competitive nature often results in overspending to come out on top.

2. Use DIY Costumes

One of the key aspects to having a successful and happy Halloween on a tight budget is to create your own costumes. DIY costumes are an excellent way to save money as you can use old items around the home to create some stunning outfits that fit the theme of Halloween.

A classic example of this would be the white bed sheet over the top of the head with eye holes for a ghost costume. However, this is probably predictable and can be restrictive to movement and interaction.

However, why not get some old leggings and cut triangles out of the bottom of the legs to create a ragged look. Add this to a striped shirt and cutlass and you have your own homemade pirate outfit. There are lots of options if you take the time to think about it. Plus making DIY costumes for Halloween can be a fun, enjoyable family experience that brings everyone together.

If you have no skills in the DIY Halloween costume department, then you can still buy a great deal. Instead of looking at the clothes section for costumes, head towards the dress-up sections in the toy section. The items here are often less expensive and can still look good. Plus you might find an accessory for any costumes you have made.

3. Create DIY decorations for Halloween

Sticking with the DIY aspect, you can also create decorations for your house. There are lots of options that can turn your house into a lot of ghoulish fun. For instance, cut out some eye shapes in toilet rolls and stick a glow stick in the middle of the tube. Then place these around the garden or house so that they are hidden. At night time, it will look like there are some creepy eyes watching people.

Another thing you can do is to get some coloured paper and turn your door into a monster. Use different colours for the eyes, ears, hair, mouth and nose to create a look that will be impressive to trick-or-treaters on the night. This is also an easy craft and decoration to clean up from after the night.

Finally, you can buy some cheap coloured light bulbs and change the colour of rooms to make them eerier. Red is a great colour because it doesn’t illuminate a room like a bright white light.

4. Ensure you have cheap Trick-or-Treat Halloween sweets

Another significant cost at Halloween is the need to supply sweets to children who are participating in trick-or-treat activities. While these are good fun, especially for the children, having a hundred children turn up at your door demanding sweets can be very expensive. That is why you need to think about how you’re going to supply all the goodies.

The first trick is to stay away from the branded, and holiday-themed, sweets. In the end, those eating the goodies aren’t going to care whether it has a bat on the packaging or not. They’re mostly interested in what is inside the packet. Branded items are more expensive and you could spend lots of money just catering to a few people.

By buying away from branded items, costs can be reduced quickly. You can also look to buy in bulk from stores where they have offers, or perhaps look for coupons/special discounts. Just be sure that you shop around for the treats.

5. Ration trick-or-treaters

You should also learn a way to ration the sweets at the door. Some children don’t like to stick to reasonable amounts and will always take more than others. Just a couple of children doing this might mean you run out early and need to open up other supplies to cater for new trick-or-treaters. This often means that special box of chocolates you’ve been saving for Christmas. There are many ways to ration what you’re giving out. For instance, you can have pre-made rations for children to take at the door. Or you could have a scoop which you use to pour in sweets into their bags as they’re at the door.

6. Don’t just give out sweets

Another trick is to not just give out sweets at the door. You could use cheap sandwich bags to put in a couple of sweets and perhaps some pictures to be coloured (available for free on the internet) or some Halloween themed jokes for kids. While this might not seem in the spirit of the season, it might add something different and make you memorable. And as long as there are some sweets there, children won’t mind.

7. Have a potluck party

Hosting a party is great fun, and a good way to keep in contact with friends and let the children play together. However, it is also an expensive event that can be a serious drain on your financial resources. Food and drink alone can be an expensive burden, and you may need to cater for particular food allergies and dietary requirements as well. That is why asking people to bring some food or drink to the party can be a good way to cut down on costs. Consider creating a list of party food and asking people to claim what they want to bring to the party. Or ask for them to bring anything (‘potluck’). You’ll be surprised at how many people will happily agree to this, especially with drinks.

8. Buy a cheap pumpkin

The traditional jack o’ lanterns are great fun, but pumpkins are expensive, especially the perfect looking ones. Consider then to buy ones that are cheaper. They normally have some sort of defect or are smaller than the more expensive option. However, when the main purpose is to create scary faces in them, doesn’t a defect just add to the theme? Cheap pumpkins can also be bought on the day at the last minute as shops try to get rid of items that aren’t going to be as popular after Halloween. This means you can make a great deal. Some shops will even haggle with you to make a sale. Remember that many shops want to get rid of their Halloween products as soon as possible because they want to move the Christmas decorations and food in quickly the next day. So they are more willing to make a little less profit to ensure they have space on the shop floor.

9. Skip masks for costumes

While masks are an attractive addition to costumes, they are also expensive and Safe Kids Worldwide recommends not using them. This is because masks are known to reduce vision, which is really important while out on the streets in the dark and can cause breathing difficulties.

So, don’t worry about buying that aspect of the costume, or even making one.

10. Use entertainment you already have

During the holiday season, there is often a lot of competition from media groups to release new festive or themed movies, games and music to tempt you to buy. However, that doesn’t mean that you have to buy the latest release to have fun. Many children have their own favourite films and games that they would prefer to play than whatever the latest release is. This can be a great saving for you and will keep everyone entertained. Alternatively, you can use free television channel providers like Pluto TV that have lots of themed channels for entertainment. In the UK, Pluto TV has many spooky themed channels, though not all of them are suitable for younger audiences. But as their channels are based on one or two programs shown on a rotation, you can check out the options long before the Halloween party to see if it is suitable for your children.

11. Rent instead of buy

If you’re really stuck for certain aspects for your Halloween party, then you might want to rent some items. For instance, you could rent costumes for the party, decorations or any tableware you need. Also, you can use sites like Google Play and Sky to rent movies and save up to 80% off the purchase price. Don’t forget to negotiate on renting if you’re making several purchases. Some costume shops will give discounts if you’re renting more than one costume or give you better terms and conditions. It is also important to think about when you have to return items. Returning an item late can sometimes result in a penalty that can make it very costly.

12. Read something

Stories are not dead. Children love them, so why not get a few spooky stories from the library and read a couple of chilling tales late at night? There are lots of authors who specialise in scary stories like R. L. Stine’s Goosebumps. Or you can go searching for local ghost stories. Often in the library there will be a local interest group. This might include local haunting books. This can add some realism to your stories and the children know the places that you’re talking about. In addition, because the books are from the library, it is free to run this activity.

13. Seek support from your friends

Even if you have the perfect costume in mind, but are missing out on item, don’t immediately go out and buy it. Instead, ask your network of friends and family to see if anyone has a spare one they can lend or give you. At the same time, ask them if they need anything for their Halloween party. You might be surprised at much money you can save by reusing items from other people. And this can extend to getting to events. If there is a party, why not car share? Having two groups of people sharing one car has several benefits, include less fuel costs, it’s better for the environment and ensures that a neighbourhood isn’t overrun by cars for one party.

Save money this Halloween

Just because you’re on a tight budget doesn’t mean that you can’t have a great Halloween. You just have to be careful on where you spend your money to ensure you don’t get into debt but maximise the fun. Use Creditspring's handy save money Halloween tips above to help you spend only what you need to. They won’t stop you having fun, just make sure that you aren’t going to face a scary bank account the morning afterwards. And remember to have a great time this Halloween.