Tricks & Treats: 5 Ways to Do Halloween Festivities On the Cheap


There’s just something about Halloween, isn’t there?

It’s unlike any other holiday. The ghoulish atmosphere draws you in and delivers those iconic thrills and memories. Not only that, but what other time of year do you get to dress up as something from your imagination and have a fun evening showing off your costume? Exactly.

But then, what if you’re the one who’s actually going to be hosting the Halloween party this year? And even if you’re not hosting, you’re still going to have hordes of kids running around the neighborhood, asking you for free candy. You also don’t want to be the only house on the street that decorated with nothing but a pumpkin and a tiny scarecrow by the front door, right?

Well if you’re feeling a bit of a budget crunch already, then yes, this holiday’s festivities could get a bit creepy, especially after taking a glance at what you’d have to pay at a party-supply store.

It looks like the fear just got put back into Halloween.halloween

Why October 31st Shouldn’t Actually Be All That Scary (Even If It Is Halloween)

At this point, let’s take a few deep breaths, because you truly don’t need to fear that the money monster will come and eat your budget. In all reality, there are TONS of ways to enjoy the coming Halloween festivities on the cheap, and I’m sure you’ve already seen quite a few articles talking about creative, crafty decorative ideas that won’t cost you an arm and a leg.

But in this post, I’m going to go beyond just decorations, and I’ll be discussing cheaper ways to do all of these fun fall festivities: food, candy, costumes, and even how to throw a ghostly fun family-friendly Halloween party without taking a monster bite out of your budget.

#1 – Creepy Cookies and Crockpots from all the Friends

All you have to do is take one look at the dishes you can find on Pinterest, and it’s easy to see just how many great ideas you can come up with for your Halloween party. From spider cookies to creepy sausages that look like fingers, there really is no limit to how creative you can be on this one …but then, food isn’t cheap, and cooking for a party can take a lot of time and energy.

So instead, get the party attendees to prepare their own unique dishes! And for a great way to get everyone involved, start up a social media event that features the creative ideas, post them during the party, and tag your friends.

Because festive talent deserves recognition.

#2 – Costumes are Terrifying -ly Expensive (or Are They?)

Of course, it’s important to gather Halloween costume ideas before you go and purchase one, but if you’ve ever done any shopping for a new costume, then you’re probably pretty well aware that those packages can get unbelievably pricey.

So, here’s a question: how often do you wear a Halloween costume? The obvious answer is once a year (and maybe that classic 80s rocker-getup in your closet could be useful when Journey plays a concert in a nearby city). Aside from that, most people tend to throw their costumes in the attic …or… they end up on the shelves of a thrift store.

Shopping for a Halloween costume in thrift stores is a great way to go cheap, and at the same time, they’re amazing places to think outside the box. You just never know what you’re going to find.

#3 – Slash the Price of Candy

halloweenrideIt’s really easy to spend too much money on candy, because it can be tempting to just head to the dollar store and pick up a few bags. But, the problem is, dollar stores actually make money by selling bulk items for a buck because, in most cases, you can get a much cheaper deal through stores like Walmart and even Amazon.

Also, we tend to buy too many bags of candy, which is why we find Halloween candies in the pantry …clear into June. The cool part is that there’s actually an easy formula for purchasing the right amount. According to a Romper article by Autumn Jones,

“I live in a neighborhood that has more than 100 kiddos, and I usually buy around eight bags, but run out before the last group of trick-or-treaters come through. According to the formula, I should be buying 9.6 bags of candy, with 100 servings per bag.”

If you can get a general idea on how many kids will be visiting your house (based on how many homes you have in the immediate, walkable vicinity), then you can get an idea on how much candy is JUST the right amount.

#4 – Haunt the Dollar Store

Yes, at any Dollar Store, you get what you pay for. But, because you’ll only need these items to last you for one night, there’s no need to worry about Dollar Store quality. Here are a few really interesting ideas that Dollar Stores really can save you a lot of money on:

  • Cut eyes out of toilet paper rolls, and glue a glow stick to the inside. Then place them around the yard and even hang them from the trees.
  • Paint milk jugs orange, and give them that jack-o-lantern look. Place tea light candles on the inside to make them glow.
  • Purchase dark orange or black wax paper, and cut out web patterns, including a larger spider pattern in the middle of the sheet. Then wrap the paper around your lamps (as long as they’re not lit with incandescent bulbs, due to the fire hazard). You’d be left with ambient lighting with a spooky light pattern around the room, complete with spiders overhead.
  • And lastly, don’t forget: buy plenty of plastic jack-o-lantern pails for the kids to stash their candy while they go trick-or-treating.

#5 – Frighteningly FREE Ambience

Ambiance is everything to a party, and sounds are a HUGE part of that. Of course, it’s a good idea to get a fun Halloween playlist loaded up and ready to go on your iPhone but, in addition, don’t forget to grab a few family friendly Halloween flicks to play on the TV during the festivities. Think: Casper the Friendly Ghost on Netflix, and you’re getting somewhere.

Lastly, another great way to add a dash of goosebumps to your front yard is to hollow out a pumpkin. However, instead of placing a candle on the inside, stash a smartphone and some small speakers in there (inside a baggie, for obvious reasons). Then, all you have to do is play some eerie ambient background noise, while activating the strobe feature on the phone, and you can give those trick-or-treaters and party-goers a fun, scary welcome!

Booo-nus Tip

This last booo-nus tip is actually somewhat counterintuitive but it works amazingly well. Whatever you do, don’t shop a week before Halloween. In fact, wait right up until the 31st. Why?

Well, since retail stores will be in a dead sprint to get rid of their Halloween inventory on the 31st, everything will go on sale for a fraction of the price. In fact, you could expect to see more than 50% off.

Now go and have some Halloween fun -without your budget becoming a ghost.

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