Something very spooky is about to happen to your wallet. October 31, Halloween, is the kick-off of the Holiday shopping season. If you’re not careful, your hard-earned dollars or carefully crafted budget may be cast under a witches spell and you could find yourself deeper in debt.
Did you know that on Halloween, the second-largest consumer holiday in the U.S., some 175 million Americans will partake in Halloween-related festivities, spending an estimated $9.1 billion (yes, billion with a B)?
Specifically, consumers plan to spend an estimated $3.2 billion on costumes, $2.6 billion on candy, $2.7 billion on decorations, and $400 million on greeting cards, according to a survey by the National Retail Federation (NRF).
“Americans are planning to spend more than ever as they gear up for Halloween,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said. “Retailers are helping customers celebrate in style with a huge selection of costumes, candy, and decorations to cater to ghosts and goblins of all ages.”
Halloween Savings (Save Big with a Halloween Budget)
Part of the reason why it’s hard for so many of us to stay on budget is that we feel left out. But what if you could still have fun, celebrate Halloween with décor, candy, and costumes, but not fall in debt? Would you take advantage of those savings opportunities?
Below we share 7 tips for having a spooktacular Halloween – all on a budget.
Avoid Halloween Pop-Up Shops
Pop-up shops and Halloween-themed stores are fun and convenient, but they also tend to be really pricey. Instead of purchasing décor, costumes or accessories here, check out offerings at discounted retailers like T.J. Maxx, Nordstrom Rack or Party City. Not only do these stores offer huge savings, but shoppers can also find one-of-a-kind items.
Thrift stores, like Goodwill, The Salvation Army or your local vintage shops, also have reduced merchandise that can be perfect for Halloween! Sometimes shoppers can even score near-new costumes.
“People don’t usually re-wear costumes,” said Andrea Woroch, a money-saving expert. “Since they were only worn one time, they’re usually in good condition.”
Why spend a fortune to make your home look like the only thing living there are ghosts, spiders, and cobwebs when you spend thousands of dollars the remainder of the year trying to rid your home of ghosts, spiders, and cobwebs?
Sites like Pinterest make it easier now more than ever to create your own decorations. With step-by-step guides for a variety of Halloween decorations, in varying degrees of horror, you’ll be able to create the perfect ambiance this Halloween.
For example, did you recently order something from Amazon? Turn your cardboard shipping boxes into tombstone markers by cutting them out in the shape of a gravestone and painting them gray or black. Another simple suggestion is to put candles or tea lights in hollowed out jack-o-lanterns to create a spooky ambiance lighting effect.
Reuse decorative items from previous years such as a spooky wreath for your door or reusable pumpkins.
Tip: Invest in quality décor items if you’ll continue to use them year after year and you have a place to store your decorations.
Buy a Used Costume or Swap with Friends
Most of us wear our Halloween costume once per year – maybe twice if we have multiple Halloween parties to attend or if we end up taking the kids trick-or-treating. But with the average male spending $96 annually on a Halloween costume and the average female spending $77 on a costume, that’s a lot of money to wear a costume for just a few hours.
Instead of purchasing a new costume from a pop-up store, consider purchasing a lightly used costume from a re-sale shop like freecycle.org, eBay, Poshmark or your local thrift store.
Another option is to organize a costume swap with a group of your closest friends and family members. Generally, costume swap parties require each attendee to bring one or two costumes and then after some browsing and negotiating, everyone leaves with a new item to wear – without paying a dime!
It helps if each of the participants wear a similar size and have similar taste, but you can adjust the rules as you see appropriate.
Take Advantage of Candy Coupons
Halloween is the sweetest holiday of them all – literally. More than 90 million pounds of chocolate are sold annually during the week of Halloween alone. Retailers and candy confectioners are happy to sweeten the deal by sending out coupons in the weekly newspaper ads or in-store grocery fliers.
Make sure to check the price of the candy per-ounce before you buy it. The smaller bag may be a better deal. If the bigger bag is a better deal, don’t worry about having candy leftover. Save it for later!
Dark and milk chocolate can last up to two years if stored in a dry, odor-free spot. Hard candy can last up to one year, and candy corn can last nine months.
Limit Chocolate Candy
Chocolate candy tends to be more expensive than sugar-based candies. So if you’re looking to buy a treat for the trick-or-treaters on your block, you’ll likely get more bang for your buck buying non-chocolate candies. If you want to offer chocolate but can’t afford too much of the good stuff, consider buying a limited amount to distribute to neighborhood kids and/or those with the best costumes.
Tip: Most Halloween candy will be deeply discounted starting Halloween morning. Try to wait to purchase candy until the morning of if you are concerned not just about the health of your bank account, but your waistline.
Take Advantage of After-Halloween sales
After Halloween, all of the décor, costumes, and candy goes on sale. Dramatically. Sales usually start around 50 percent off and the discounts increasingly steepen as retailers desire to purge the Halloween inventory increases.
If you had your eye on spider-silverware or a ceramic witches cauldron after Halloween is the time to stock up! Make sure to also check out thrift stores, dollar stores and yard sales for deep discounts on Halloween décor.
Make Your Own Halloween Cards
Believe it or not, Halloween is one of the most popular times of the year for the greeting card industry.
If you’d like to send a little “boo” surprise to a loved one, consider making your own Halloween cards this year! Dollar stores tend to have low-cost arts and craft supplies.
If you don’t want to make your own cards, check out the 99 cent selection at the dollar store or even Target!
What are your favorite budget-saving tips for Halloween? Share with us in the comments below!