Halloween Spending: Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid


Recently staff writer Sierra Black wrote about ways to get financially prepared for the holiday season. By thinking about savings and gift preparations now, you can avoid a shocker of a credit card bill after the new year.

But if you think post-holiday bank statements are scary, maybe you should start planning for Halloween expenses, too. Yes, you read that right, Halloween expenses.

According to The National Retail Federation (NRF), more Americans are planning to celebrate Halloween than ever before, with seven in 10 (68.6%) planning to partake in some sort of ghoulish festivity, up from 63.8% last year and the most in NRF's nine-year Halloween Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey history.

Outfitting all of those ghosts and witches will be big business: According to the survey, those celebrating are expected to spend an average of $72.31 on decorations, costumes, and candy, up from $66.28 in 2010. Total spending is expected to reach $6.86 billion.

Here's how survey respondents are planning to celebrate:

  • Dressing in costume (43.9%)
  • Dressing their pets in costume (14.7%)
  • Throwing or attending a party (34.3%)
  • Visiting a haunted house (22.9%)
  • Decorating their home/yard (49.5%)
  • Handing out candy (73.5%)
  • Carving a pumpkin (47.8%)
  • Taking children trick-or-treating (32.9%)

And here's how the survey projects they'll spend that $6.86 billion:

  • $26.52 per person on costumes, with a national total of $1 billion on children's costumes, $1.21 billion on adult costumes, and $310 million on pet costumes
  • $19.79 on decorations
  • $21.05 on candy
  • $4.96 on greeting cards

It might sound ridiculous to plan for Halloween spending, but according to the NRF, the amount spent each year on Halloween decorations is second only to spending on Christmas décor.

Spending up, economy down?
This brings me to a very important question: Who pays $26 for a stegosaurus dog costume?!

Okay, I'm really not judging anyone's spending. Halloween is fun, and this former Sookie Stackhouse, Lara Croft, and Xena Warrior Princess has no right to take anyone to task for their Halloween spending habits. But it is interesting that in a down economy, Americans are predicted to blow more money on Halloween than ever before.

TIME writer Martha C. White speculates that a sluggish economy fuels our desire to play make-believe:

…it appears that troubled times drive our zeal for escapism; romance-novel sales boomed during the last recession, just like extravagant musicals that were popular during the Depression. Add to that the fact that Halloween has undergone a shift from a sort of silly, kid- and candy-centric affair to a full-blown event for adults.

For one night, you're not a data systems analyst dealing with a salary freeze and an upside-down mortgage, you're Batman, the crime-fighting, caped crusader with the coolest wheels ever.

It sounds silly, but there might be some truth to it: the NRF survey did find that almost 70% of adults plan to celebrate Halloween this year.

Having a frightfully good time, on the cheap
Halloween doesn't have to blow your monthly budget, though. There are a lot of ways to celebrate and keep expenses in check, without resorting to turning off the porch lights and pretending you're not home. Here are a few money-saving ideas to consider:

  • Costumes. Often the best, most creative costumes are the cheapest. Instead of going to a Halloween or costume shop, consider the alternatives to buying something new. Can you borrow a costume from someone? Last year I lent one of my old costumes to a friend of a friend, so it's worthwhile to ask around. You also can go to Goodwill or simply use last year's costume, if you have one. Zombies and vampires are always in vogue.
  • Decorations. It'd be very easy to go batty (forgive me for that one) at the Halloween Superstores that pop up this time of year, but most of the decorations are over-priced, disposable items that'll go out with the trash on November 1. Instead, turn to the Internet to find ideas, templates, and projects that you can quickly and easily do at home. A few places to start your search are Martha Stewart's Halloween Decorations You Can Make or Buy; the DIY Network's Halloween decoration ideas; and Pinterest (search for “Halloween”).
  • Candy. If you're planning to hand out two tons of candy to the neighborhood goblins, check out your local dollar stores and discount retailers to compare prices.
  • Greeting cards. Again, check out dollar stores. Alternatively, get crafty and make your own.

As with most everything, it comes down to planning ahead to save money. If you wait until the last minute to think about your costume, you'll probably end up paying too much in your rush from the house to the Halloween store to the party downtown. But if you start now, you'll have a few weeks to find less expensive alternatives or to make your spooky-yet-free decorations.

If you're planning to celebrate Halloween, how much do you think you'll spend? What are some creative and inexpensive costumes you've worn or seen on others?

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Danielle
Danielle
9 years ago

I’m going as Kate Middleton and my boyfriend as Polo playing Prince William. I started planning for this a month ago. I got a gorgeous blue dress on eBay for $30 with shipping, and I will debut it on Halloween and keep wearing it for years to come. I also got the iconic engagement ring, $16. I’m making myself a silly little fascinator hat and I expect that cost to be under $10. Total: $56. I’m not sure how I got my boyfriend to agree to this idea, but here is his costume total My boyfriend’s costume is a red… Read more »

Another Kate
Another Kate
9 years ago

I am spending a chunk of change (I’m estimating $50-70, but haven’t verified this yet) on candy, because I have decided to give out fair-trade chocolate this year due to my concerns about slavery on cocoa plantations in Ivory Coast. I’m being a bit evangelistic about this and plan to hand out slips of paper directing people to an anti-slavery web site (probably Stop the Traffik, but I haven’t decided for sure yet). In this case, I believe spending extra money is worth it to spread the word about slavery. Otherwise I could choose to give out non-chocolate candy or… Read more »

Tyler Karaszewski
Tyler Karaszewski
9 years ago
Reply to  Another Kate

The houses that are the least fun aren’t the ones that don’t participate, they’re the ones that make you feel bad for participating. You know, the ones that hand out pamphlets that say you’re going to hell because Halloween is devil worship, or the ones that give out toothbrushes, or the ones that tell you “all night up to this point you’ve been supporting slavery”.

Another Kate
Another Kate
9 years ago

I understand what you’re saying, Tyler, but the point is to educate, not to guilt. Many people don’t know about this (I didn’t a year ago), and there have to be ways to get the word out. All it will be is a fair-trade candy bar with something like “Learn more about slave-free chocolate at http://www….” Haven’t figured out the wording yet, but I do want to try for something positive like that. Not “sinner! Kids in Africa are slaves because of you!” I have no idea what the folks who are getting the candy are handing out, so I’m… Read more »

imelda
imelda
9 years ago
Reply to  Another Kate

This is not the appropriate forum for activism. I really hope you give up this idea. Thinking about how sensitive I was as a child, I would DEFINITELY have cried and not eaten any of my candy if I received such a note. You ask for suggestions on alternatives? Here are some far better, and appropriate, things you can do to help people who are enslaved: 1. Start a “trick-or-treat for UNICEF” movement in your neighborhood. Get the kids to collect money in addition to candy, and send the money to UNICEF. You can tell UNICEF to allocate the money… Read more »

Another Kate
Another Kate
9 years ago
Reply to  Another Kate

Imelda, Thank you. Specific, constructive suggestions are exactly what I was looking for, so I appreciate your offering them. I actually do a fair bit of online activism (and, frankly, find it frustratingly unproductive — I frequently ask businesses to carry fair-trade chocolate, to no avail, and I’ve contacted major chocolate producers and received pat answers, but that doesn’t mean I won’t keep trying). I also will be hosting more chocolate parties in the future, based on the feedback at my last party, and will encourage guests to host their own, with the hope that this will produce a viral… Read more »

Jenne
Jenne
9 years ago
Reply to  Another Kate

I don’t see what’s wrong with something to go with the chocolate saying “Want to know more about slavery & chocolate? Visit: website address”.

Andrew
Andrew
9 years ago

I always wonder about people who think that the best way to publicize a cause is to make little children cry– which is exactly what those holier-than-thou little slips of paper will do.

Pamela
Pamela
9 years ago
Reply to  Andrew

She didn’t say she was only giving out slips of paper. She said she was giving out slips of paper with chocolate. I think it’s a great idea.

Another Kate
Another Kate
9 years ago
Reply to  Andrew

I don’t know. I just had an anti-slavery chocolate party (with chocolate tasting) a couple of weeks back and invited families. No kids cried. I did warn people before I read a story that was rather intense about its intensity, and a kindergardener chose to the room with his dad. The 2nd-7th graders remained. I asked all participants to rate the party afterwards. They felt it was appropriate for kids and suggested I do it again. I’d say kids can handle serious subjects. Musing aloud: I wonder how much kids in the 1800s knew about slavery? So, give me _constructive_… Read more »

Kevin
Kevin
9 years ago
Reply to  Another Kate

“I’m being a bit evangelistic about this and plan to hand out slips of paper directing people to an anti-slavery web site”

Oh good Lord, please tell me you’re joking. Can’t you just let the kids have Halloween? Why do people like you have to go and make everything political ALL THE FREAKIN’ TIME? Give it a rest already. Just let the kids have their night.

Another Kate
Another Kate
9 years ago
Reply to  Kevin

Can I get cranky here for a minute? (I read Jim’s post below as tongue-in-cheek, so not cranky there.) If you read my postings carefully, you’d see that I am very passionate about slavery and earnestly trying to explore options for getting the word out. I asked for _constructive_ criticism, which Imelda kindly provided. Honestly, your response annoys me. You can have an opinion; I can have an opposing opinion. Can we actually dialogue in an open-minded manner for heaven’s sake? That’s what’s wrong with this country. No one is willing to actually talk respectfully to the other side, listening… Read more »

jim
jim
9 years ago
Reply to  Another Kate

Shut up and give my kit some free candy!

My kid wants chocolate and I don’t want them to know where it comes from!! And it better be the good old wholesome American style Nestle candy rather than your hippy liberal free trade garbage!

Another Kate
Another Kate
9 years ago
Reply to  jim

Jim, thanks for the laugh.

SMC
SMC
9 years ago
Reply to  Another Kate

Has it occurred to you that: – it is not the children who buys the chocolate but adults? – the adults will buy the Halloween candy before anyone gets a slip of paper? – those slips of paper will just make kids who can read cry and parents angry? Suggestions: – buy some more candy, the non-chocolate variety, to hand out to kids – ask around with local grocers who sell the slave-free chocolates if you can set up an educational table near their store to distribute your info to people shopping for Halloween candy – throw a Halloween-UNICEF party… Read more »

Monica
Monica
9 years ago

Opening GRS and being greeted by that freaky clown picture certainly gave my morning a jolt! Yes, I am afraid, very afraid, of anything to do with clowns … Back to the subject: these were all good ideas for saving money! Personally, Halloween drives me a little bit nuts. I enjoy the holiday, but I’m just not one to spend a lot of time and money pulling together an outfit that I’m going to wear once. I would rather spend the money on clothes that I’m going to wear multiple times. Sorry to sound like a curmudgeon … blame it… Read more »

Monica
Monica
9 years ago
Reply to  April Dykman

I have to give you props for finding an appropriate picture to convey the scary side of Halloween spending 🙂

Shirley
Shirley
9 years ago

The dollar store is usually NOT a good place to find cheap candy-at least the dollar stores I frequent. The bags are always small and there is not much candy in them. You can get a LOT more candy from the warehouse stores for the same $10.00 you would spend at the dollar store. A LOT more candy.

Eileen
Eileen
9 years ago

Thrifty costume idea: one black turtleneck.

Nancy L.
Nancy L.
9 years ago
Reply to  Eileen

My cheapest and surprisingly best received costume ever was when I wore all black, and then put a strip of white tape along my sides so that I was a “Chalk body outline”.

Tyler Karaszewski
Tyler Karaszewski
9 years ago
Reply to  Eileen

too soon.

mikey
mikey
9 years ago
Reply to  Eileen

Graduation gown from thrift store $1
Red and gold yarn knitted into scarf $7
Stick from backyard $0

What am I? A Gryffindor student!

pliglee
pliglee
9 years ago

I haven’t bought an actual pre-packaged Halloween costume since I was a kid. They just never seemed to be up to my standards. A few years ago, I bought the pieces for my Halloween costume at the local thrift store for around $3 (I dressed up as Jane from Daria). The night of the Halloween party, I reached into the shirt pocket and found a $5 bill! The shirt was very warm and comfy and I wore it during the winter for several years after that. Another year I wrapped myself in an old orange bedsheet and went as a… Read more »

Elizabeth
Elizabeth
9 years ago
Reply to  pliglee

My cheapest Halloween costume ever came from a thrift store. I spent about $5.00 on wings and a halo and wore it with a bridesmaid dress. (I got to wear it a second time before I donated it – bonus!)

pliglee
pliglee
9 years ago
Reply to  Elizabeth

Woohoo! Nice job!

El Nerdo
El Nerdo
9 years ago

I love a good Halloween party, and if I find one, there’s no way I’m borrowing a costume–wearing someone else’s property while intoxicated is highly irresponsible. Accordingly, the greatest portion of the budget is booze-related. Everything else we have from previous years; some fresh face paint will set you back $5 maybe.

Adam P
Adam P
9 years ago

Uh oh. My love for GRS is at odds with my love for my mother. She works very hard in her 60s (with a toddler) to open her Halloween stores from September to November 1st. She has 7 of them going this year, and has employed dozens and dozens of otherwise out of work people. The costumes aren’t dollar store cheap but range from $15-$35 on average with a few pricey choices for the theatre grade costumes. So, despite all the goodness of this article, if everyone listened to it, my mom would go out of business, and those people… Read more »

FRUGALTEXASGAL
FRUGALTEXASGAL
9 years ago
Reply to  Adam P

Have no fear you are not alone. When my children were younger I worked part time managing one of those halloween shops every year and then a Christmas a month later. Not everything they sell is junk, and I see no problem, even as a frugal gury, with buying halloween stuff if it makes ya happy and you can afford it.

Kristen
Kristen
9 years ago

“Who pays $26 for a stegosaurus dog costume?!”

Um, I do. I don’t have credit card debt and I live within my means. I’m entitled.

cc
cc
9 years ago
Reply to  Kristen

get it! sounds adorable 🙂

i was all boring and practical and just bought a nice tie for my ferret, but on reflection maybe a stegosaurus costume would be better. twee!

imelda
imelda
9 years ago
Reply to  cc

Is it specifically a stegosaurus? Because that would be freaking awesome.

DJB
DJB
9 years ago
Reply to  cc

I spent $40 on 4 costumes for me cats. They’ll wear them just long enough for me to take a photo. The smartest money ever spent. No, But, it made me laugh at least $40 worth.

Mom of five
Mom of five
9 years ago
Reply to  Kristen

Me too. I always dress up the dog. People come trick or treating at our house just to see what humiliation we’ve thrust upon our German Shepherd each year. 🙂

D
D
9 years ago
Reply to  Kristen

I’d also rather spend money on a costume for a fun party than on goat’s milk to make caramels. But that’s me!

I thought that line in the article was out of place, given that this site emphasizes personal choice while living within your budget.

Fake
Fake
9 years ago
Reply to  Kristen

Pictures! We must see pictures!

shalom
shalom
9 years ago

The main areas we spend on at Halloween are our kid’s costume, candy and decorations. Decorations are easy to save on: buy them once on post-Halloween clearance, and then use them year after year. We mostly just have lights, plus jack-o-lanterns carved from pumpkins my dad grows. The kid’s costume can be cheap if you make it yourself. But honestly, I buy pretty much whatever she wants, after checking around for the best deal I can find online or in shops. Last year’s was a 50 cent costume: She decided to be a paint-by-numbers portrait, so that was just a… Read more »

soledad
soledad
9 years ago
Reply to  shalom

Full size candy bars? Wow, where do you live!

Susan
Susan
9 years ago
Reply to  soledad

A lot of houses by me (Long Island NY) do full-sized candy bars. It’s not really any more expensive (when we did the “fun size” bars, we’d give each kid 4-5 of them) and it’s just easier to do the full size bars.

Rosa
Rosa
9 years ago
Reply to  shalom

Some parents in my neighborhood had a costume swap last year. I should check to see if it’s happening this year.

Mom of five
Mom of five
9 years ago

I haven’t personally dressed up since college, but I do think adults can dress up very cheaply by using their closets and taping some paper cutouts to their clothes – think Captain Kirk, Mario or Luigi, the Wiggles, etc. If you’re on a low budget and need to dress your young kids and don’t have any creative ideas, take them to Five Below and pick out something from one of their costumes – my 4 y.o. found a $5 Superman costume that he’s been running around in for a few weeks. It’ll be in shreds by Halloween, but that’s ok.… Read more »

Sarah
Sarah
9 years ago

Last year I got costumes for my boyfriend and I for $20. We were Wayne and Garth from Wayne’s World. All I had to buy was a Garth wig, those goofy glasses frames, and a Wayne’s World hat. I have dark, shoulder length hair so no wig was necessary for Wayne. Then we just wore jeans and a flannel shirt (Garth) and a black tshirt (Wayne). Everyone loved it and knew exactly who we were! I found everything I needed on Amazon- they have a ton of cheap wigs!

Pamela
Pamela
9 years ago

I feel ambivalent about Halloween. I live on the most popular street in my city for trick-or-treating. Parents who live in rural neighborhoods drive their children and their friends to my friendly, dense neighborhood to get their fill of candy. It’s fun. But it’s also overwhelming. We usually buy enough candy for 300 children before running out (somewhere about 7:30 p.m.–long before the activities end for the evening). We have to sit on the porch because the crowds are so great there’s no time to close the door in between groups. We’ll have six children standing on the porch, six… Read more »

Mom of five
Mom of five
9 years ago
Reply to  Pamela

I loved Halloween as a kid – it was the one night of the year I could be like all the other kids even though our family didn’t have any money to spend on luxuries. I don’t find it even a little bit sad. My husband or big kids will take the younger kids out so I can stay home and admire everyone’s costumes. We do redistribute the candy our kids collect but won’t eat – e.g. we’ll keep the Snickers but give away the Junior Mints. We also get a lot of kids. I have many times spent more… Read more »

Sara
Sara
9 years ago
Reply to  Mom of five

LOL… I wonder how many people do the same thing. Maybe those Junior Mints have already been re-treated all over the neighborhood!

shalom
shalom
9 years ago
Reply to  Pamela

Yes, our neighborhood is like that, too. I love seeing all the cutekids in costumes, and love watching them be delighted with the candy bars we give. But I hate (i) the vans full of kids from other neighborhoods; (ii) the adults who carry babies and claim the candy is for the infant; and (iii)the big teens that come by at 9PM, costumeless, with pillowcases to collect tribute in. We still give candy to everybody, though, so long as we have candy to give. Last year we had one 50-ish woman who claimed to be trick-or-treating for her niece who… Read more »

Anne
Anne
9 years ago
Reply to  shalom

What’s wrong with tricking out of your neighbourhood? You can’t share your neighbourhood for ONE night a year. If you don’t like it, shut off your light and don’t give.

I love it when parents of babies bring them by in costumes. It is the highlight of the night!

My rule is anyone with a costume can trick or treat at my house. I love the teens almost as much as the babies, but they have to have a costume.

shalom
shalom
9 years ago
Reply to  Anne

You are right, Anne. The babies are very cute, even when not in costume (many who come to our house aren’t). And I love that we get crowds, I really do, because it makes our community feel festive and open. I don’t mind teens in costume, either. We give out full-size candy bars in part because I remember how thrilled I was by the house that gave those out in my childhood neighborhood. (There was a house that gave out dollar bills; now THAT was seriously cool!) I love the goodwill of Halloween, and for kids. But I hate the… Read more »

Nancy
Nancy
9 years ago
Reply to  shalom

I lived in a pretty bad neighborhood in Long Beach, Ca growing up. My mom always took us to the nice neighborhood to trick or treat. Being out at night in our neighborhood wasn’t very safe and we wouldn’t have gotten very much candy anyway. My husband also grew up in the “ghetto” and one Halloween he and his friend got jumped by some gangbangers and got their candy stolen.

Megan
Megan
9 years ago
Reply to  Pamela

I get your point, I really do, about the kids coming in from outside the neighborhood for the candy. But maybe look at it from another perspective. One of my friends lives in a very nice neighborhood in Chicago that is actually quite close to a very bad part of the city. He goes through bags and bags of candy every Halloween because the kids from the other part of the city come by and trick-or-treat because they *can’t * do that in their own neighborhood for a variety of reasons. Yeah, it gets crazy for my friend, but he… Read more »

Bonnie
Bonnie
9 years ago
Reply to  Pamela

Yes, but for different reasons. Years ago, every house would be passing out candy to the hundreds of kids in our neighborhood, and the dozens who were brought in by vans. I didn’t mind. The neighborhood felt alive with goodwill, and we met lots of friendly people with cute kids. Fifteen years and five “waves of foreclosures” later, nothing is the same. Most of the homes are dark. Some churches in our area hold “Harvest Festivals” which explains why some people aren’t home, but not everyone. The feeling of community has diminished. I welcome the kids coming. I want them… Read more »

imelda
imelda
9 years ago
Reply to  Bonnie

“NRF’s nine-year Halloween Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey”

Am I the only one who laughed?

Bella
Bella
9 years ago
Reply to  Pamela

Fun and Sad right here with you. While there are defintley ways to make the Christmas season less commercial (since it is really about Christ instead of Santa) there is really no way to decommercialize, or decandify halloween. For the last couple years I’ve been a grinch and refused to buy the candy, yea we had the dark house – we bought candy for the kids we knew but that was it. Our neighbors who don’t have kids – really do up the halloween decorations so there’s a pretty big bar to participate. Last year I made my daughter’s costume… Read more »

Penny Pincher
Penny Pincher
9 years ago

I have this giant (10 foot) stuffed snake I made out of old curtains from the thrift store and other scraps of fabric. Every time I want to use it I stuff it with newspaper and then I throw out the newspaper after to roll it up and store it. The snake has a deep gullet, I put the candy in there, and kids have to reach into its mouth to get the candy. Fun! I don’t always have time to stuff this thing, so some years just a plastic cauldron will do. Black paper cut outs like bats on… Read more »

soledad
soledad
9 years ago
Reply to  Penny Pincher

Love that snake idea but I definitely would’ve cried running past your house!

Jeremy
Jeremy
9 years ago

My older brother has a large family, so getting costumes for all of them can get very expensive. The solution they have come up is to buy next year’s costumes on clearance the week after Halloween. The kids pick out their costumes, and if they change their mind on what they want to be, they can improvise with whatever they already have.

Alexandra
Alexandra
9 years ago

We used to go all out on our own costumes because we attend an annual costume party with prizes, etc., and everyone is quite competative (dollar store costumes are not done). This year we are going to a live music event instead, so will just pay for the entrance fee and re-use an older costume we already have. My daughter changes what she wants to be every day, so on the day of, we’ll just open her costume trunk and let her be whatever she wants. No extra cost. We get between 200 and 300 kids trick or treating each… Read more »

FRUGALTEXASGAL
FRUGALTEXASGAL
9 years ago

I buy some decorations every year and at this time, have a great stash. While I used to make my kids costumes, the cost of sewing is no longer cheaper (as a rule) than buying, but it certainly gives you more options. While I would not advocate going into debt for halloween, spending on a good party or a killer costume are not taboo expenses in my opiniont.

That said, people who give raisins or non food instead of candy are grinches of the highest order-and I am a health nut.

Andrew
Andrew
9 years ago
Reply to  FRUGALTEXASGAL

You’re right–I’m over 50 and I still remember the houses that gave out apples instead of candy!

Eric
Eric
9 years ago

CAN’T SLEEP! CLOWN WILL EAT ME! CAN’T SLEEP! CLOWN WILL EAT ME! CAN’T SLEEP! CLOWN WILL EAT ME! Ok, kidding aside, this is a great post. I’ve been on the cheap costume route for years. It’s a little harder since I got rid of some “stuff” (old clothes and other treasures that used to only be used for this sort of thing), but it’s not hard. The idea is use what you have, be creative, and have fun. Past costumes I’ve had: — Charlie Brown (note that I’m bald) – $10 yellow golf shirt from Kohls (which I wore to… Read more »

Shirley
Shirley
9 years ago

I live in a nice neighborhood that borders a very bad neighborhood. I LOVE giving out candy on Halloween and I give to EVERYONE who comes to my door, even older teenagers( I dont mind the fact that they want candy, too!) I actually bought a string of Halloween lights so trick or treaters would actually COME to my house. I turned off the lights a little after 9 when the activity died down last year and I had a group of 3 or 4 kids bounding up my steps at 9:40PM and the lights were out. THAT bugged me.… Read more »

Cgirl
Cgirl
9 years ago

My husband and I (DINKs) LOVE Halloween. It’s our favorite holiday. As a Wiccan, it’s one of the most important religious holidays for me. So we *do* Halloween as both a time to dress in costumes and party, and also as a time of reflection and remembrance of our ancestors. Costumes are no problem. We have a closet half dedicated to Halloween stuff. We add a bit to it every year, usually purchased on sale the year before. Candy is no problem. For some reason we don’t have trick or treaters, even though we’re a block away from the school.… Read more »

Bella
Bella
9 years ago
Reply to  Cgirl

I love this comment – at first I thought, why on earth would Wiccans spend anything at Christmas, then I realized – I celebrate Halloween. I guess this is a pretty clear example of do what works for you 🙂 Go figure!

Kevin
Kevin
9 years ago
Reply to  Bella

“why on earth would Wiccans spend anything at Christmas”

Because it’s not a real thing. It’s an attempt to stand out from the crowd. “Look at me! I’m a Wiccan! I reject conventional religions! I’m interesting! Say something inaccurate about Wicca so I can pretentiously correct you with obscure, made-up trivia and look smart!”

Jenne
Jenne
9 years ago
Reply to  Kevin

I’m a pagan, myself, but I buy presents for relatives & close friends who celebrate Christmas & Hanukah. And, like Hanukah, Winter Solstice has added the gift-giving to its usual activities, anyway. A friend of mine calls the whole season “Generic Winter Holiday.”

I think Kevin is just being a dork here. I hope. ‘Cos otherwise he’s being rather rude.

Cgirl
Cgirl
9 years ago
Reply to  Kevin

Oh, whatever. Go be judgmental of someone who gives a damn.

The reason that I celebrate Christmas is because it’s easier (and more respectful) to value my husband’s family’s traditions. They give gifts to *Every* member of the family. So I give gift to all of my husband’s 30 year old cousins (most of whom make more than we do) because that’s what they do. I’ve brought up the idea of changing the tradition; but got glared into submission.

El Nerdo
El Nerdo
9 years ago
Reply to  Cgirl

I’d rather spend $100 on Halloween which feeds my soul than spend that same $100 buying gifts for family who don’t need (and probably don’t want) stuff just because society says I have to.

^^THIS

Nancy
Nancy
9 years ago
Reply to  El Nerdo

This is kind of an interesting quote. I can see how someone might feel this way. I always end up feeling resentful about how much money I spend on Christmas. I used to go all out, especially for my husbands sisters who are “fashionistas” and always ask for something ridiculously expensive.(ex. coach purse) I was always afraid of appearing cheap so always spent more $ than I wanted to on them but I had it last year. This year I’m only spending a set amount on each of them. If they don;t like it so be it.

partgypsy
partgypsy
9 years ago

I really enjoy Halloween because it’s a holiday it seems both adults and kids really love (the escapism?). Get Rich Slowly should be pro Halloween because it’s a community holiday and even if you go all out, it costs a fraction of what Christmas does. Sometimes we buy the packaged costumes, but more usually it is a combination of buying real clothes that they can use for other purposes, and creative additions. For example for my youngest what she really wants to be (which doesn’t come as a standard costume we will probably get a white leotard with attached white… Read more »

Jennifer+Gwennifer
Jennifer+Gwennifer
9 years ago

When I was growing up, my Mom and I had a dress-up closet in the basement. We’d find vintage and costume pieces at thrift stores and yardsales for a few bucks, plus castoffs from family members and cheap accessories. It still comes in handy 15 years later. By the time I was in middle school, a bunch of my friends would come over to raid the closet before trick-or-treating. It was so much fun seeing what new combinations we could come up with! Some friends went extra cheap one year, wearing all black, spending $5 on bright colors of felt,… Read more »

Emily
Emily
9 years ago

I just don’t get why people so much money on ANY holiday. What happened to getting together with friends and family and just talking and playing games?

(a rhetorical question, that…)

Beth
Beth
9 years ago
Reply to  Emily

Trent…is that you? Haha, just kidding but sounds very TSD-ish.

chacha1
chacha1
9 years ago

One of the things I like about Halloween is that it’s very interactive. Everywhere I’ve lived, Halloween has been the most likely time for non-family get-togethers involving all ages. Whether it’s a harvest fair or trick-or-treating or a costume party, it does seem to be one holiday – like July 4 in the US – that’s viewed as a community affair. DH and I will be going to a costume ball this year. That’s our usual default, because we try to wrap dancing into our social life whenever possible. Living in a secure apartment for years, we have had no… Read more »

Pomegranate
Pomegranate
9 years ago

Last year I made myself a Na’vi (aliens from Avatar) costume by wearing blue pants and shirt. Then I added a loin cloth, tail, blue face paint and braided hair. My baby son had a camouflage onesie, so I put him in that and called him my human prisoner. My favorite part was that the size difference between us was about right.
Haven’t decided yet for this year, so I appreciate the ideas people are posting.

Krantcents
Krantcents
9 years ago

I wasn’t going to celebrate Halloween, but it may be fun to recapture some youthful silly fun. Maybe I willthrow a party and have everyone come in costume. No budget, but I will keep it reasonable by asking the guests to bring something.

Heather
Heather
9 years ago

We throw a Halloween party each year for people who don’t get trick or treaters at their houses. We dress up in costume based on a group theme (Mad Men, Glee, Clue, etc)and enjoy dinner and snacks before trick or treating starts. We then pool our candy and stand on the front porch passing out candy. I love seeing the kids in their costumes, and I definitely give out the “good” candy, even if costs a bit more. I’d estimate less than $75 for 2 adult costumes (homemade) and lots of candy for the kids. I got tons of candy… Read more »

Cat
Cat
9 years ago

I don’t think I’d try to cut costs on candy – my niece has a peanture allergy, so I always try to buy peanut free candy – for her sake and kids like her.

As for the dog costume – okay, I wouldn’t pay it, but I’ll admit I just sent an email encouraging someone else to. 🙂

Rosa
Rosa
9 years ago

I think the supermarkets around here are going upscale on candy. Last year I didn’t get any peanutbutter kisses (the little orange & black wrapped chewy candies) because I didn’t get any at the beginning of October and they were sold out by late October. This year I’ve been looking already – the candy displays are out, but no cheapies. No peanutbutter kisses, no offbrand candy corn (only Brach’s). I don’t get them to hand out – we get something a little more upscale because my partner feels bad about the cheap stuff – but I *like* the peanut butter… Read more »

M
M
9 years ago

This is the second year I have given my boys (10yo and 7yo) $20 each to put together a halloween costume. They can buy something new, they can keep the money and use something they already have, or some combination of the two. This year they both will pocket the money and pull out something they already have for trick or treating.

This works for us because the next time they ask for legos or a new video game, they can buy it for themselves. AND I don’t have another costume taking up valuable space in my home.

PawPrint
PawPrint
9 years ago

Is there a term for a Halloween grinch? Last year we started turning out the light because we don’t get that many kids, and I didn’t want to buy candy. Uh-oh. We’ve become those crotchety old people whose windows we soaped when I was a kid.

Justin @ MoneyIsTheRoot
Justin @ MoneyIsTheRoot
9 years ago

Im a personal finance blogger, and I still spend upwards of $75 or more on a costume every year. The worst part is, it’s always a generic costume I couldve purchased the day after halloween from the previous year, and saved 70% on it! Just like Christmas decorations, halloween stuff is cheapest just after the holiday.

Nicole
Nicole
9 years ago

I’ve made my [incredibly nerdy] costumes myself the past few years almost entirely out of stuff I already owned: 2010: Dalek – pinned paper dots to a skirt, cut plastic cups and attached them to a headband, and carried a plunger I also made my boyfriend’s costume. He went as a “primitive type” (in programming, a primitive type is a number, string of text, or true/false) – we wrote a bunch of actual primitive types on an old t-shirt, then cut the bottom to make it caveman style and added a few cave-man-ish accessories. 2009: Leela, from Futurama – she… Read more »

bemoneyaware
bemoneyaware
9 years ago

Total Halloween Spending to be $6.86 billion. I am shocked by the statistics. Timely article-a penny saved is penny earned.

bemoneyaware
bemoneyaware
9 years ago

An infographic on Halloween Spending
http://cdn.savings.com/img/Halloween-Spending.png

Cherleen @ My Personal Finance Journey
Cherleen @ My Personal Finance Journey
9 years ago

I did not allot a huge amount for the kids’ Halloween costumes this year. We all agreed that they will be wearing the same costumes they wore last year – mummy, Harry Potter, and fairy. They will be using the recyclable bags we received from a friend. Daddy will be painting their faces and the bags, too!

Mom of five
Mom of five
9 years ago

I can never really understand how people spend money on those trick or treat bags. When we were kids we used pillow cases. For years, I never saw a kid carrying a pillow case. They had fancy store bought bags. Then the recession hit – now lots of kids have pillow cases.

partgypsy
partgypsy
9 years ago
Reply to  Mom of five

I think a pillowcase is fine when you are a bit older but for younger kids they are hard to manage (large, no handles). My kids have the “fancy” (dollar store) bags with handles which cost what maybe $3, but they’ve used them for the past 5 years.

Rosa
Rosa
9 years ago
Reply to  partgypsy

I buy the plastic pumpkins w/handles when I see them for a quarter or less at thrift stores all year, and then we let kids take them if they want – a lot of kids in our neighborhood just have plastic grocery bags, which break too easily.

mrs bkwrm
mrs bkwrm
9 years ago
Reply to  Mom of five

We usually buy ice cream in the reusable plastic bucket with a carry handle and lid.

I wash and reuse them for everything from storing left-overs to collecting Easter eggs to carrying Halloween candy. After the holiday, they get rewashed and put back in the cabinet for the next time I make a big batch of vegetable soup.

If I forget about the left-overs and they go bad, I don’t feel guilty about tossing a “free” bucket I’ve used a half dozen times.

Sara
Sara
9 years ago

I don’t celebrate Halloween. I don’t have any kids, and I don’t get many trick-or-treaters (last year, the doorbell rang once the whole night). I’m actually kind of surprised because I live in a townhouse, which I would think is ideal for getting to a lot of homes quickly. There aren’t many kids in the townhouses, though, so the kids probably go elsewhere. At first glance, $72.31 doesn’t seem like much to spend to celebrate a fun holiday, but if that’s really $72.31 per person, a family of four will spend almost $300! I’m a little confused by the statistics,… Read more »

lady brett
lady brett
9 years ago

i adore halloween. by far my favorite. we always made our own costumes growing up (and still), which is so much fun and usually a money saver.

like any holiday, of course, the stuff goes on drastic sale after the fact. not helpful now, of course, but last year we bought 4 slightly-too-big kids costumes for our nephews to play dress-up with at our house…and recently gave them to their mom to use for halloween this year. i don’t think it was more than $5 for all of them.

Jenne
Jenne
9 years ago

Last year, my son went as a dragon, in a costume I had bought for $5 the year before at the after-halloween sale at Toys’R’Us. (I had thought he might enjoy it as a play-costume, but by the time his height and the proper weather rolled around, he was only just the right size for it. Home-made costumes are the most fun, anyway; the trick is to figure out something you can do with home-made/dollar store/thrift store stuff. Last year, we made ghosts with tent poles, newspaper and old sheets, made a wierd-looking ‘demon-stick’ with a forked branch, rope lashing,… Read more »

Dana J.
Dana J.
9 years ago

After visiting the Halloween supercenter and looking at the cheaply made $40-$70 costumes, I decided to make my own. Surprisingly, I had almost everything that I needed to be an awesome pirate this year. I just bought two pirate accessories and used my creativity. -White dress shirt (I never wear this any more, my new office is really casual. So, I soaked the shirt in coffee and now it’s got a great colour) -Suit vest (belongs to my boyfriend and looks great because it’s so oversized) -Black/Brown leather belt with huge bronze buckle -Red scarf (haven’t used it in forever,… Read more »

Julie Gaudet
Julie Gaudet
9 years ago

This halloween a few of us at work are going as witches… since our offices are in the same hall we are going to be the Hall of Witches… can’t wait to repurpose an old black dress and bring in my broom to work… money saved for sure 🙂

Anyone have any inexpensive treat ideas for the kiddies?

partgypsy
partgypsy
9 years ago
Reply to  Julie Gaudet

I can’t tell you what the cheapest treats are, but I can tell you what kids like. Alot of little kids seem to like lollipops and gummy treats including gummy worms, jelly beans, even fruit roll ups or fruit snacks. Older kids typically like the chocolate(think of all the classics, which is not the cheapest thing but being honest. Another thing all kids like is yes, money. A dime makes a kid happy. Other things that are a hit are things that light up or are unusual in some way (skull rings, halloween pins etc). Stickers and tattoos are hit… Read more »

Paula
Paula
9 years ago

I have always liked Halloween. And, my son comes up with interesting ideas for costumes to make. This year, he is really into playing pool and wants to be an 8 ball. He has been a solar system, a blue lego man, and a bat boy in previous years (he is 8 years old and autistic). My neighbors love it and can’t wait to find out what he is every year!

Ru
Ru
9 years ago

Another thing you can look out for are free events. I was in Fortnum and Masons yesterday admiring how rich people live (F&M is a gorgeous department store in Piccadilly), when a lovely sales man told my friend and I about the free holiday events that are running from now until New Years- story telling for children, cooking competitions, and prize draws. The adult pumpkin carving competition offers a prize of a hamper worth £1000! And your pumpkin goes on display in their window! One thing we celebrate in the UK is Bonfire/Guy Fawkes Night on 5th November. You can… Read more »

Kim
Kim
9 years ago

thanks for the great homemade costume ideas. I like the paint by numbers one. I’ll add a few of my own to the pot, maybe that will help someone else out there: 1. My daughter went as a bag of jelly beans. I got a very large clear plastic bag, and cut out leg holes for her and filled it up with balloons. 2. We made a robot costume out of a big cube sized box and a box of Cheerios (Costco sized box) spray painted silver along with some dryer hose for the arms and legs. 3. I was… Read more »

Kay Rosenthal
Kay Rosenthal
9 years ago

In Estes Park, CO the local merchants give out candy and we all go downtown to celebrate. It’s always cold and usually snows so costumes aren’t that important as they can’t be seen under our coats. I have a few costumes that I can wear over top and I rotate them so it’s not a big expense year after year. We have the most fun just walking around and saying hi to people and trying to figure out who’s who when they do dress up! It’s a great way to get exercise as we walk around town. Happy Halloween! K

Amy
Amy
9 years ago

I always feel like the only toys my children really play with from age 2 on up are blocks/legos, trains and the costume trunk. We shop the day after Halloween for new items (think $5 for an outfit) and have plenty of dress up materials for the year.

Jadzia
Jadzia
9 years ago

I wish I could spend $ on Halloween this year! Last year I went a little crazy making a fancy costume for my infant (she was an angel with a split personality–it was a beautiful angel costume to which I added a red tail and she also wore a red velour hat I made with “devil horns”–because at 4 months old you never know what you’re gonna get). She was a BIG HIT at the Portland Alberta merchants’ trick or treat, except that the costume was sewn well enough that people thought it was store bought. : ( I figured… Read more »

Ben - BankAim
Ben - BankAim
9 years ago

My wife works that night so I’ll be cutting back on spending money on Candy! We are having a contest with our girls to see who can come up with the most unique costume using items from around the house. This should save us about $90!

PennyB
PennyB
9 years ago

I once planned way ahead for my costume for a Halloween party. In February I started collecting cereal boxes over (all bough on sale with coupons) and stuck them all over me after shoving plastic knives in them (that was fun!) and using a thick red felt marker to colour the area next to the ‘stab wounds”.

I went to the party as a Cereal Killer.

SamiJ
SamiJ
9 years ago

No way should you spend money on decorations/food/costumes. You can find hundreds of DIY party ideas on http://www.oneprettything.com They give you DIY directions for everything, and even free printables.

It’s a searchable site, so you can find everything ever posted for Halloween (or Xmas, or dog costumes, etc).

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