How To Save Money This Halloween: 27 Tricks That’ll Feel Like A Treat

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Happy Halloween (almost)!!! It’s that spooktacular time of year! Probably my favorite time of year actually! Growing up I always had a massive Halloween party and went all out! Halloween is a bit of a tricky holiday (no pun intended) in that it can easily become one of the most expensive holidays for enthusiasts like myself. However today, I’m here to give you my tried and true tips and tricks to save money this Halloween and every Halloween thereafter! It’s time to have some spooky fun without breaking the bank!

Before we get into my money saving tips for Halloween, I just want to note this is another post in my “Saving Series” that I’ve  worked closely with with Lexington Law on. The entire goal of this series on saving money is to help you reach your financial goals through everyday savings tips, the holidays, and all of life’s milestones! If you are just tuning in, catch up on all the saving series posts here

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How To Save Money This Halloween: 27 Tricks That’ll Feel Like A Treat

Saving Money On Halloween Decor & General Money Saving Tips For Halloween

Let’s be honest, if you are shopping at most retail stores, Halloween decor is going to rack up FAST. I found faux pumpkins coming in at $25+ each! With some of the larger items ranging anywhere from $30 to $500! Before you break the bank, consider these money saving tips for Halloween:

Use the envelope system (or a budget that works for you)

Start by setting up a budgeting system that works for you. The idea here is to set a limit on your Halloween festivities. Come up with an allotted number for your Halloween decor, costume, and fun. Stick to those three numbers by putting the cash for each of them in an envelope or you can set up a checking account with your budgeted amount to use a more modern version of this solution. If you’re really looking to keep your finances in check, use Halloween as the precursor to map out your holiday spending for the rest of the year! 

DIY Your Halloween Decor

A lot of those $30-50 items you find at big retailers can actually by DIY’ed with a few items from the dollar store and household items you may already have on hand. So go ahead and browse, but use it as inspo for what you can make yourself. There are loads of tutorials online for DIYing your own Halloween decor. Start with mine here:

Get your glow on

Speaking of the dollar store, get some glow sticks while you are there! Not only can you use them in loads of Halloween DIYs, they are also a great safety precaution. Pedestrian accidents on Halloween happen. Glow sticks worn effectively make you or the kids easier to spot during the dusk and evening hours. Similarly, reflective tape or stickers on your costume can work too.

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Opt for black and red light bulbs

This was my favorite hack as a kid. I literally had a drawer with all my light bulbs for the season! It’s one of the fastest ways to quickly change the entire feel of a room for not a lot of money. 

Comparison shop your pumpkins

Pumpkins are a Halloween staple, that can quickly blow your Halloween budget. Now that we bought our home and plan to be here for a while, I’m actually going to plant some pumpkin seeds and try to grow my own next year since these bad boys add up fast, and I like to have a lot of pumpkins around.

If you don’t want to plant your own pumpkin patch, check out your local grocery stores and pumpkin patches and comparison shop them all. Another tip, is to wait until October 30th if you can since a lot of stores drop their prices to ditch the inventory last minute. 

Lastly, if you like to stack your pumpkins like me, consider investing in some good faux pumpkins that you can reuse each year. Yes, it’ll cost more upfront, but if you’re spending $100 each year on pumpkins it’ll pay for itself before you know it. My tip with faux pumpkins: stick to traditional. Don’t invest in the latest trend of the season like hi-lighter colored pumpkins that will be out next year! 

Hit the thrift store

Thrift stores are kind of the perfect places for Halloween decor and often go overlooked. I’ve found plenty of creepy old dolls, dusty glass bottles (repurpose into apothecary jars!), baskets, and so much more that can be repurposed to make your very own Haunted House! 

Store with care

Store your Halloween decor with the same TLC that you store your Christmas decor. Yes, even if it’s a spider web. I meticulously and cautiously wrap my Christmas garland, so I handle my Halloween garland in the same fashion. Yes, it may only be a $5 garland, but after five years that’s $25! 

Buy for next year on November 1st

Once Halloween is over, stock up on all the clearance items from costumes to decor for next year! Often times you can get discounts anywhere from 50-90%!!

Use your rewards credit card

Rewards credit cards are something I believe we should all be taking advantage of. They allow you to earn rewards (cash back, gift cards, specific items, etc.) whenever you spend. Personally, I believe we should make our money work for us. Meaning we should be rewarded for the money we were already planning on spending. 

Obviously you want to spend responsibly. Meaning you pay your balance off in full every month and only apply for rewards cards you know you’ll get approved for since each hard inquiry will drop your score a little bit temporarily. If you’d like to apply for a rewards credit card, but feel unsure, check out this post on What You Need To Know Before Applying For A New Credit Card

If you’re still unsure about applying for a new credit card because you credit score isn’t great, contact the professionals at Lexington Law for your free credit report analysis today by clicking here

Ask for price adjustments & save receipts

This can be a little hit or miss, since some stores have special rules on holiday items, but it never hurts to ask! Basically keep an eye on items you’ve already bought, if they drop in price within a month(ish) of you purchasing, many stores will do a price adjustment for the lower price. I just saved $10 on my daughter’s Halloween costume by asking even though the store didn’t have an official price adjustment policy (she said normally I’d have to return and rebuy but she’d make an exception). This can be used for Halloween decor and costumes.

To the point above, sometimes stores won’t do price adjustments and you’ll have to return and repurchase. A general rule of thumb I always have when it comes to saving money is to leave the tags on for as long as possible so you can do this. Another way to save with receipts, is to download an app that will allow you to take a picture of your receipt and will give you cash back for doing so! Sometimes these apps take any receipts, other times they offer cash back at specific retailers for specific items. 

Saving Money On Halloween Costumes

DIY a costume

Use items you already have on hand to DIY a costume is always a wise choice for your bank account. If you’re feeling stuck, there are loads of tutorials on the internet. Starting with my Snapchat Inspired Costumes here

Borrow & pool

Costumes are expensive!! Consider getting together with friends and pooling everything that is a costume or could be used for a costume! This way you can all swap and brainstorm to come up with some cost effective costumes. Who knows, your bestie could have the missing item you’ve been looking for to pull your entire look together!

Go thrifting

Similarly, if you have the majority of items for a DIY Halloween costume, but are missing something that friends weren’t able to help out with, hit the thrift stores! Sometimes they carry full costumes, other times they have key elements. For instance, maybe you have all the clothing to go as an old lady for Halloween, but need to pick up a walker or cane to really tie the look together, a thrift store may be your answer! 

Reuse & Recycle!

I remember one of my first Halloween costume splurges was my freshman year of college. It was this floor length Snow White costume. The floor length costume was cheaper than the “sexy” Snow White costumes AND it was also more me… granted, I wasn’t into the idea of wearing a floor length gown. So I grabbed my sewing kit and stitched up the bottom to a knee length gown, giving it a Belle from Beauty and the Beast effect. That costume got SO many comments all night because it was so unlike what you see most college girls wearing. 

Plus, since it was very family friendly, I actually saved it and wore it for four more years in a row when I waitressed on Halloween! Hearing the little girls ask to sit in “Snow White’s section” literally melted my heart! I only got rid of it when it had too many pizza sauce stains on it. 

Say no to masks

Masks have always skeeved me out. They seem SO unsanitary with all that mouth breathing and moisture. Plus masks can obstruct your vision. Instead opt for makeup you have on hand to create your desired look.

Make it a game!

Basically each person gets a budget (say $15) and you hit the dollar store and one more store and see who can put together the best costume. Not only is it budget friendly, it’ll get you to flex your creative muscles which is one of my favorite parts of Halloween!

Saving Money On Halloween Treats

Hit your bulk warehouse stores 

Instead of going to a convenience store where you’ll often pay top dollar per piece, opt for retailers that sell candy in bulk to lower your cost per piece. 

BYOC (Bring Your Own Candy)

Neighborhood and community trunk or treat events have been all the rage over the last few years. Whether you are attending or hosting one of those or a traditional party, ask people to bring their own candy in a creative way (each witch, ghost, and goblin must bring an offering for the altar!). This keeps costs down and allows everyone to pool resources. 

Use your coupons!

Sometimes the food brand retailer will offer coupons directly on their website, sometimes the store offers them in their weekly flyer or on the bag of food itself. Another way to cut costs is by purchasing discounted gift cards online (just make sure they have a 1 year price guarantee). Shockingly, grocery store coupons are usually in stock and you can save anywhere from 3%-20% depending on the retailer and what’s in stock! Just check back frequently since purchasing gift cards online is an ever changing landscape.

Dress up foods you already have

Look around your fridge and freezer and see what creative Halloween recipes you can come up with rather than opting for some decadent Pinterest idea that will likely end in an expensive Pinterest fail. Some of my personal go-to favorites include “mummified treats” where you simply wrap some dough cut into strips around a hot dog or some jalapeno poppers to give the look of a mummified look. You can also use strips of cheese to create a similar mummified look on some meatloaf cupcakes or the like. 

Next, use one of those pumpkins as a festive dip bowl by just scooping out the middle (even better, no clean up!).

Another common and easy one is to toss some green grapes in the freezer and add them to a red punch for a ghoulish drink!

Saving Money For Halloween Fun

Purchase multi-day or season passes

If you are big on terror, consider doing a multi-day ticket or seasonal pass. We live near Orlando, so Halloween Horror Nights is a somewhat annual tradition. It’s actually cheaper to buy multi-night tickets than to do one night with fast passes. If you know you’ll want more than one night of screams, consider the options that let you keep going back again!

Check your local events calendar

Often times, local churches, schools, and even your city will host free or by donation events during the month of October. This is a great way to get out, enjoy the cooler temperatures and  make some lasting memories.

Check the events food policy and consider bringing your own since sometimes fair/festival food can get costly quick!

Have a Spooktacular movie marathon!

Nothing screams (Okay, I’ll stop with the puns!) Halloween like a movie marathon! I’ve got The Ultimate List of Halloween Movies [100+ from Scary to Not-So-Scary!] here!

Review local deal sites

I love a good Haunted House but they can be seriously expensive! A few years back, I started checking out local deal websites and picked up some discounted tickets for our local Fright Night and Haunted House. All the fun, half the price!

Treat your credit card like a debit card

Speaking of high ticket items like season passes, I’d recommend treating your credit card like a debit card. Personally, Halloween is a mix of big ticket items like season passes, and a lot of impulse purchases for me. Getting into the habit of treating my credit card like a debit card has been one way I’ve always kept my finances in check. Meaning, I only charge what I can pay off. No going into debt over scarecrows and pumpkins because you picked up one too many items in the $1 and $5 bins while in the checkout line. 

I love to use my credit card for shopping because of the rewards like I mentioned earlier. I know using credit can be scary if you’ve struggled with it in the past. If that sounds like you, reach this post on 4 Reasons To Overcome You Fear Of Credit Cards. Lastly, if you believe you have unfair, inaccurate, or unsubstantiated negative items on your credit report, contact Lexington Law for your free credit repair consultation here

Don’t leave a bucket of candy out

Alright, before you call my a Debby Downer, hear me out. Personally, I remember the first year – and last – we left a bucket of candy out growing up clear as day! We had made it five doors down to my babysitters house. I was in the back of the pack of kids eagerly waiting for them to open the door. I felt SO excited to show my babysitter and her family my costume I could barely contain my joy! Until I overheard two boys in front of me saying, “Look at this score! Some idiots a few houses back left the entire bowl out!!” 

I knew it was my house. My heart sank and I was so upset that I ran back down the driveway to my mom hysterical that we needed to go back to our house! That none of the kids would get any candy! She told me it was okay, we could keep trick-or-treating and not to worry, but STILL I needed to go back. And I was right, they had taken all the candy from our house. 

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I was so upset that I made my mom stay and hand out candy for the next half hour or hour with me. Once I calmed down and felt like we had given out candy to the “rush,” I had us lock up our house to make it look like no one was home and we went trick-or-treating.

So that’s my 6 year old self telling you to skip the heartache of kids walking up to an empty bowl, and either just close up shop so it looks like you aren’t home, or wait it out for a little while, but don’t leave the bowl out. In that case, some kid will walk up with your $30 worth of candy and everyone else will walk off with disappointment. This leads me to…

“Sorry, we’re out of candy” sign

If you don’t want to give out candy for whatever reason, or are listening to my previous tip, just put a sign up saying there’s no candy. 

Even for a Halloween enthusiast like myself, you can enjoy the festivities without breaking the bank. Part of the fun of Halloween for me has become finding creative and cost effective ways to get into the season. That’s how I’ve truly made some of my best memories from our 5th grade haunted house, to my Halloween parties growing up, to college, and now decorating my first home! 

Catch up on the Saving Series here:

How To Reach Any Savings Goal

How To Save Money For Your First Home Purchase

41 Brilliant [+ Easy] Ways To Save Money On Travel

37 Ways To Save Money When You Have A Baby

How To Stop Overspending Money: 17 Tips To Stop Once & For All

How To Save Money This Halloween: 27 Tricks That’ll Feel Like A Treat


List of 27 Tricks To Save Money This Halloween

  1. Use the envelope system (or a budget that works for you)

  2. DIY Your Decor

  3. Get your glow on

  4. Opt for black and red light bulbs

  5. Comparison shop your pumpkins

  6. Hit the thrift store

  7. Store with care

  8. Buy for next year on November 1st

  9. Use your rewards credit card

  10. Ask for price adjustments

  11. DIY a costume

  12. Borrow & pool

  13. Go thrifting

  14. Reuse & Recycle!

  15. Say no to masks

  16. Make it a game!

  17. Hit your bulk stores 

  18. BYOC (Bring Your Own Candy)

  19. Use your coupons

  20. Dress up foods you already have

  21. Check out your local events calendar

  22. Review local deal sites

  23. Have a Spooktacular movie marathon!

  24. Purchase multi-day or season passes

  25. Treat your credit card like a debit card

  26. Don’t leave a bucket of candy out

  27. “Sorry, we’re out of candy” sign

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