Three tricks to keep your Halloween spending from getting too scary

Halloween is a shockingly expensive holiday, one that has a tendency to sneak up on you (not unlike a ghoul in the night). In fact, if the National Retail Federation’s predictions hold true, Americans are on pace to spend $8.4 billion celebrating Halloween this year. That’s a lot of candy.

That number shakes out to an average of about $83 per consumer, split between costumes, candy, decorations, and other Halloween-themed items. It’s a costly prelude to the coming winter holidays, where the price tag will only get bigger and bigger. So, with that in mind, it’s a good idea to try out a few of these completely un-scary tips for keeping those costs in check.

Set a hard budget

It’s easy to see the value in drafting a budget for larger spending affairs, like Christmas, weddings, or other large get-togethers. But treating Halloween like a casual expense can be very costly. Some candy here, some decorations there, one costume and then maybe a spare…these things add up over time. Your best defense against accidental overspending is a simple budget. Plot out what you can afford and set strict limits in every category. It’ll keep you honest and give you some solid ground to stand on when you need to say, “No.”

Avoid overbuying

Of course, you don’t want to run out of treats too early, but unless there’s a sudden, one night influx of children in your neighborhood, you can probably make a fairly accurate guess on how many kids you might expect to see. So buy in bulk, hunt for deals and coupons, and keep a supply that matches the demand. I mean, obviously it’s not the end of the world if you happen to end the night with a few leftovers (I’m sure you’ll think of something to do with them), but the less you overbuy, the better it is for your wallet and your budget.

Creativity saves

Store-bought costumes and decorations can be surprisingly expensive. And while you can’t necessarily make your own fun-sized Snickers bars, you can certainly have a go at making the rest of your Halloween accessories. Dig through your closets. Borrow materials from friends and family. If you need something, try taking a look at your local Goodwill or consignment shops. You’ll save a lot of money and, as a bonus, you’ll have a completely unique costume! The same goes for decorations. You’d be surprised how spooky you can get with just the things lying around your home and a little creativity.

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Jesse Campbell is the Content Manager at MMI, focused on creating and delivering valuable educational materials that help families through everyday and extraordinary financial challenges.

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