Though the holiday season in December is generally the costliest time of the year for many families, the expenses of Halloween can be surprisingly immense. Buying Halloween Costumes, candy, special accessories, decorations, and treats for school events can seriously bust your bank account.
The biggest problem is that many people don’t budget for Halloween as they would for Christmas or Easter. Instead, Halloween purchases are often unexpected and made at the last minute.
So, what’s a savvy parent to do when Halloween rolls around? Celebrate on the cheap, of course. By finding more affordable ways to decorate, dress, snack, and party, Halloween doesn’t have to be a budget-busting night. In fact, you might find that a little DIY spirit actually makes it a lot more fun.
Costumes can be the priciest part of any Halloween, thanks to markup from stores. To save on outfits and accessories, skip the mad rush on October 30th and get creative with your kids.
- Use Items You Already Own. For the best DIY costumes, use what you already have. From articles of clothing, to makeup, to cardboard pieces, to props, there’s a chance you already have the makings of a great costume around the house. Take a look in your kids’ closets and also your own – you never know what castoffs you might have that would make the perfect funky costume.
- Swap With Friends. One of the reasons buying Halloween costumes is so painful is because kids only wear them once or twice. Chances are, you know parents who feel the same way and would be happy to swap and lend costumes accordingly. Remember that if you borrow a costume, make sure to keep it in good condition. After a night of running around outside and eating candy, it may need a good washing before you return it.
- Buy “Dress Up” Instead of a “Costume.” Don’t want to spend $50 on a deluxe princess dress? Try this little secret: Leave the costume section of the store and head to the toy section. There, you often find “dress-up” costumes not branded for Halloween that are much cheaper than the seasonal versions. A princess dress in the dress-up section usually runs around $20. There may be some minor differences, but the $30 savings is worth a little shopping around.
- Skip the Masks. Not only are masks a pricey part of a costume, they can be dangerous. In fact,Safe Kids Worldwide warns that masks obstruct both vision and breathing in kids, and should be avoided. Skip the cost and the risk and opt for face paint instead. It’s safer and cheaper, especially when you use products that you already own. Eyeliner is especially great for drawing on mustaches.