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14 Ways to Curb Scary Halloween Spending

curb halloween spending

Halloween is a favorite holiday of many children, but it can be stressful for adults. Having just survived back-to-school spending, we grown-ups now get to navigate costumes, outings, décor, and spooky events – all without blowing the budget.

Here are 14 ways you can reign in scary Halloween spending before you even start.


  • Make your own haunted house: With a quick internet search, you may be surprised with how resourceful kids can be at finding their own materials!
  • Hit up local non-profits: Many churches have Halloween alternative events where kids get to moon bounce and hay ride to their heart’s content. Since congregations typically see these parties as a way to simply be good neighbors, you don’t need to be a member to join the fun.


  • Start by shopping at your friends’ and family’s houses. Ask whether older children have outgrown any costumes that can be handed down.
  • Hit the thrift stores. All year, resale shops are collecting oddball items to display in October. Give kids the option of one they see at a thrift store.
  • Make your own. Usually, the best costumes are those that no manufacturer could have dreamed up. Since you already own most of the materials, your creativity – not your budget – is the only limit to what you can be for Halloween.


  • Look to nature for free or inexpensive décor ideas: Garlands can be made from twine and pinecones found outdoors. A bonus is the woodsy aroma the soft wood pinecones will add to your home – for free!
  • Use household items: To mummify anything – anything – have kids wrap it up in toilet paper and add felt eyes (simple circles). Chairs, lamps, and even entire doors can be mummified for a few pennies.
  • Play spooky music: Music encourages an atmosphere of fun and fright, and with online streaming music stations you can tickle your family’s ears for free.
  • Use party favors: At every preschool costume parade and fall festival, kids will collect Halloween junk. Instead of tossing it, put it up. Mini-pumpkins can be turned into drip-candle holders, plastic spiders can be placed in obvious (or not-so-obvious!) places, and toy bats can be placed on the inside of any lamp to create creepy silhouettes.
  • Go googly:  For about a nickel, you can put googly eyes on inanimate household objects to bring them (half-way) to life. Not sure where to start? Think microwave, hand lotions, milk cartons, drawers, and vases.


  • Use green food coloring… often. Since a little goes a long way, one small bottle will last you the whole season.
  • Dress up sale candy. When shopping for candy to distribute to trick-or-treaters, don’t grab the Halloween-themed candy at the store. Instead, check the clearance section for marked down items that you can spookify yourself. Once home, have kids help turn unadorned sweets into batty or ghostly characters with these templates from the Hi Sugar Plum blog.
  • Sprinkle savings. Keep a small box of orange and black sprinkles handy for every dessert throughout October.
  • Shop seasonally. Produce is known for being in- or out-of-season, but holiday candy prices also fluctuate. The best price to stock up would be day-after Halloween, but if you need sweets for trick or treaters, the day of the 31st is your next best option. Often, retailers mark down candy last-minute so they’re not stuck with the extra inventory.

You don’t need to start winter in financial trouble because of Halloween spending. The same creativity that makes this holiday fun can also make it financially comfortable.

The team at CESI is committed to helping you make wise financial decisions and to helping you understand how to get out, and stay out of debt.  For a free debt analysis, contact us and find out how we can help.

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1 Response to 14 Ways to Curb Scary Halloween Spending

  1. Pamela Feltner says:

    Great ideas!

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