Keep Halloween from becoming a budget nightmare

This is the time of year that I typically offer consumers some tips about how to enjoy a budget-conscious Halloween. Would you believe that Halloween spending for 2007 was expected reach $5 billion, second only to Christmas? Generally, my Halloween budgeting tips encourage people to get creative, but not too creative. One tip worth repeating is to recycle costumes of Halloween’s past. For example, if your child still likes last year’s Spiderman costume, let him go as the superhero again this year. Or, ask another parent if their child would be willing to trade costumes for one night.

With the more "official" tip out of the way, I would like to add a few money saving tips that probably won’t make it into our published weekly column:

-Don’t give out full-size chocolate bars. They are expensive and the kids get too much candy already.

-Don’t buy a fancy trick-or-treat bag. Who doesn’t have an extra bag around the house?

-Don’t make treats to hand out on Halloween night. Parents won’t let their kids eat them anyway, so don’t waste your time and money.

-Don’t buy a costume for your dog. Last year, 7.4 million people planned to dress up their pets. I promise that your dog won’t be sad if you skip a year.

For some amazing Halloween statistics, check out Kiplinger’s slide show titled Halloween by the Numbers.

BTW, safety is one area where you don’t want to skimp. At a minimum, children should wear clothing with reflective markings or tape and carry a flashlight.

Kim McGrigg is the former Manager of Community and Media Relations for MMI.