Four easy ways to save on Halloween

While the thought of Halloween may not ignite the same level of financial fright as some of the more traditional big-ticket holidays, don’t be fooled.

Raking in more than $8 billion in sales, Halloween has become the nation’s second-largest holiday. And according to the National Retail Federation (NRF), the average American will spend about $80 on the frightening festivities this year.

So what can you do to ensure your Halloween spending doesn’t come back to haunt you come Nov. 1?

  • Conjure up a creative costume. Costumes generally consume the biggest part of the Halloween budget. Luckily, DIY (do-it-yourself) is all the rage these days. So get frugal and browse your closet, the racks at the thrift store and boards on Pinterest (Follow MMI's Pinterest boards for some great ideas!). You can also save by borrowing accessories and hair pieces from friends and family members. Better yet, invite your friends and family over for a costume-swap. You have all likely accumulated a good amount of Halloween garb over the years that could be upcycled and reused.
  • Set your budget in stone. If you’re planning a party or partaking in local Halloween events, set aside the cash in advance. In fact, set an amount you’re willing to spend and take only that amount to the store with you when you’re purchasing party supplies and Halloween goodies. This way you’ll be less tempted to stray from your budget. And remind yourself that this is not a time to rack up credit card bills, especially with holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas right around the corner.
  • Be strategic when buying sweets. You’ll want to be ready for all those pint-sized monsters coming to your door, so it may be more cost-effective to buy in bulk. Scan the ads in the Sunday paper for the best deals and coupons. And don’t forget to check the dollar store. Most importantly, stick to whatever candy is the cheapest. No one is judging you based on your candy assortment, so don’t feel the need to distribute full-size chocolate bars.
  • Ask yourself ‘WWMD?' (What Would Martha Do?) It’s easy to get carried away with elaborate Halloween decorations for your house and yard. Instead, opt to take a page out of Martha Stewart’s book and make your own decorations. In fact, her website includes a list of 50 ideas for cost-effective Halloween décor using items you probably already have!

Have no fear — by utilizing a few of these tricks, you’re sure to conjure up a Halloween that’s nothing short of a treat for all!

Jessica Horton is a former copywriter and community manager at MMI.

  • The Consumer Federation of America (CFA) is an association of nonprofit consumer organizations that was established in 1968 to advance the consumer interest through research, advocacy, and education. Today, nearly 300 of these groups participate in the federation and govern it through their representatives on the organization's Board of Directors.
  • The National Council of Higher Education Resources (NCHER) is the nation’s oldest and largest higher education finance trade association. NCHER’s membership includes state, nonprofit, and for-profit higher education service organizations, including lenders, servicers, guaranty agencies, collection agencies, financial literacy providers, and schools, interested and involved in increasing college access and success. It assists its members in shaping policies governing federal and private student loan and state grant programs on behalf of students, parents, borrowers, and families.

  • Since 2007, the Homeownership Preservation Foundation (HPF) has served as a trusted, neutral source of information for more than eight million homeowners. They are partnered with, and endorsed by, numerous major government agencies, including the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Department of the Treasury.

  • The mission of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is to create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all. HUD works to strengthen the housing market in order to bolster the economy and protect consumers; meet the need for quality affordable rental homes; utilize housing as a platform for improving quality of life; and build inclusive and sustainable communities free from discrimination.

  • The Council on Accreditation (COA) is an international, independent, nonprofit, human service accrediting organization. Their mission is to partner with human service organizations worldwide to improve service delivery outcomes by developing, applying, and promoting accreditation standards.

  • The National Foundation for Credit Counseling® (NFCC®), founded in 1951, is the nation’s largest and longest-serving nonprofit financial counseling organization. The NFCC’s mission is to promote the national agenda for financially responsible behavior, and build capacity for its members to deliver the highest-quality financial education and counseling services.