Don’t let Halloween overspending come back to haunt you

Halloween provides an opportunity to look outrageous. And while it may be fun to go incognito, it is important not to lose your head. After all, with an average wig costing $20, Halloween expenses can quickly become unsettling. While the total amount spent on Halloween has fallen from last year, it is still considered one of the most costly holidays. The National Retail Federation predicts that consumers will spend $4.75 billion on Halloween this year. However, you don’t have to spend a lot to enjoy Halloween. Following are some tips to make sure your budget stays intact this holiday season.

Make a plan. If you’re hosting a party or partaking in local Halloween events such as haunted houses, set aside cash in advance. Consider shopping with a list when purchasing party supplies and Halloween goodies, then commit to sticking to it. This is not a time to rack up credit card bills when Thanksgiving and Christmas are right around the corner.

Reuse and Recycle. Halloween costumes generally consume the biggest part of Halloween budgets. 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. Borrow accessories from your friends and family members. Don’t forget to check garage sales and second-hand stores for gently used attire. (I got my daughter the most amazing vampire dress at Goodwill yesterday for $5.99!!)

Be a smart shopper. Skip the full size candy bars—they are expensive and the kids get too much candy already! Buy in bulk to assure that you’re ready for all those pint-size monsters coming to your door.

Do it yourself. Skip the party stores’ elaborate Halloween decorations for your house and yard and make your own decorations. You can create ghosts to hang in the window with string, glue, and waxed paper. For more inexpensive decorating tips, check-out FamilyFun.com.

Make the most of it. Why limit the fun to just one night? Halloween costumes make fun dress-up clothes any time of the year. And, according to Hershey’s, you can store chocolate for up to a year. Saving collected candy to disburse throughout the year will save money and stomachaches. Keep uncarved pumpkins around for a while—they are perfect fall decorations.

While saving money is great, 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.

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