How to Celebrate Halloween on a Budget

Halloween is creeping around the corner. Having fun and a spooky holiday doesn’t have to cost an arm and leg if you plan it correctly. We’ll share some tricks on how you can treat yourself to an exciting day or evening of fun while still being able to stick to a budget.

The Cost of Halloween

Did you know that the average American spends roughly $90-$103 on Halloween? So, it is one of the most expensive holidays of the year. But the numbers can get scarier than that. Based on data from the National Retail Foundation in 2019, households spent an average of over $300 when considering decorations, candy, costumes, and pumpkins.

From decorations to costumes, parties, and supplies, a single day could become a grueling nightmare for some people’s wallets (but it doesn’t have to be that way).

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Tricks to Save on Halloween

Instead of digging yourself into a financial “grave” to have an exciting Halloween this year, consider the following tricks to help plan Halloween on a budget.

DIY Decorations

Of course, it’s hard to celebrate a holiday right without getting in the spirit (no pun intended) and decorating your residence. However, decorations can end up costing a fortune. So instead, you can use everyday household items or create your decorations by infusing some creativity into the mix. For example, you can use old wine bottles and paint them to create candlesticks, blow up black balloons with unfurled wires to make a giant spider, or use black ribbon to create a witch-inspired wreath for your front door.

Shop Wisely

When shopping for anything Halloween-related, avoid specialty holiday stores at all costs (literally). Instead, spend time shopping for your needs at dollar stores or thrift stores for discounted pricing. Aside from potential costumes, thrift stores may be where you can find someone’s used Halloween decorations from previous years. Another good thing to look out for at thrift stores is glass bottles or jars, which you can fill with certain items (i.e., plastic spiders, eyeballs, or slime) for a Halloween feel.

Pumpkins, No Patch

While pumpkin patches can be a fun outing, they aren’t the most cost-efficient way to get your pumpkins for the big day. Local pumpkin farms sometimes charge more for pumpkins than grocery stores or even farmer’s markets. Plus, they typically also charge an entrance fee. And, once you’re inside, your kids could take you down the rabbit hole and cost you more on hayrides and corn mazes. So, if you’re looking to stick to a budget, it may be worth skipping over the pumpkin patch this year.


Be sure to utilize coupons at grocery stores and wherever you may shop for materials for decorations. For example, the popular arts and crafts store Michaels often has coupons online (in their aptly named Coupons  & Promos section) or in direct mail. In addition, you can use coupon apps and direct coupons from stores or booklets like ValPak. These include apps like Rakuten (where you can earn percentage cash back from participating retailers) or RetailMeNot.

Stock Up for Next Year

You may come across something you want, but it could be too expensive right now. Instead of losing all hope, practice patience and buy it after Halloween when it goes on sale for next year’s use. Alternatively, if you are unsure of your Halloween plans a year out (which is understandable), then focus on stocking up on generic decorations once they go on clearance. After Halloween has passed, it’s worth checking out the specialty stores at this point because they’ll be trying to clear out their inventory.

Reusable Decor

Rather than buying Halloween-specific decor like ghosts and goblins, consider choosing more Autumn decorations. For example, you can get a fall-inspired set that can be used for Halloween and Thanksgiving. Some ideas for this dual usage include autumn leaves, pumpkin-spiced candles, and dried corn stalks.

Make Costumes

A large majority of Halloween spending comes down to costumes. So instead of buying costumes from the store, see if you can work on making one yourself. Whether or not you know how to sew, you can pull together apparel to make something out of nothing. For example, consider Rosie the Riveter, which calls for a white tee shirt, red bandana, denim shirt, and jeans. Or another option is to use face paint to transform yourself into whatever you want.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Buy in Bulk

The closer you wait until Halloween, the cheaper the candy will become. This is also the case if you buy in bulk. But, when purchasing in bulk, check that the candy is individually wrapped, so it’s usable to hand out. Sweet deal, isn’t it?

Light It Up

Another way to set a mood on a budget is to use lighting to your advantage. For example, replace your front door’s lights with red bulbs for a frightening feel. Or, for Jack-o-Lanterns, you can use LED tea lights or glow sticks in different colors.

Be Financially Savvy, Not Scary 

Halloween presents the opportunity to be whatever you want; while doing so, you can stick to being financially savvy. Although it’s easy to splurge or go over budget when you get in the zone, adequate planning and setting a limit in advance can help you avoid having to go down that scary path.

With the tips above and a little creativity, Halloween can be a holiday without financial burdens.

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