Thursday, September 10, 2009

Saving Money on Halloween

Halloween still seems kind of far away (at least to me), but you've probably noticed that many back-to-school aisles have already transformed into Halloween aisles. Although we may not think of Halloween as an extremely expensive holiday, the cost of candy for the entire neighborhood, the cutest costume on the block, and fantastic decorations do add up. And, as with most things, you can often save more money by planning ahead and getting an early start on deal hunting. Here are some tips to cut back expenses without cutting back on fun.

  • Make a costume instead of buying one. Disney's website has a lot of cute ideas for homemade costumes that require fairly simple materials. Some of my favorites were a Lego block, an airplane, and a washing machine, which all required mostly things you probably already have on hand (like boxes, cardboard, plastic cups, etc.). The site also includes reader feedback about what worked, what didn't, things they did differently, etc.
  • Check thrift stores and/or garage sales. Many Halloween costumes are only worn one year, so a lot of used ones are still in pretty good condition.
  • Organize a costume swap with your friends. Chances are, most people probably have a few costumes lying around. Ask some friends and see if anyone is interested in trading.
  • Check your local Freecycle for anyone who might be giving away costumes.
  • Check online classifieds sites like Craigslist; our area also has a "for sales" group run by the same people who run the local Freecycle.
  • Be looking out for great deals on candy. Don't just add it to your list and go into the store, committed to buying it right then and there. CVS and Walgreens usually have pretty good deals on candy at some point during the Halloween season; you might be able to get bags of Hershey's kisses (or something along those lines) for less than a dollar a bag.
  • Use coupons when you buy candy. The deals at CVS and Walgreens are much better when you use coupons! Also, if your local Kmart participates in super double coupon events (they often double coupons up to $2), that could be a good time to stock up on candy if there is a sale.
  • Don't get your favorite kind of candy. If you get your favorite, you'll be tempted to buy more "just because." Both your waistline and your wallet will thank you if you settle for something else!
  • Consider giving out something other than candy. As a kid, it might seem uncool to get pencils or stickers instead of candy, but as a parent, I would appreciate a few people doing that, and it could be cheaper if you find the right deal.
  • Again, consider making your own. Disney's Family Fun site also has ideas and directions for some pretty cute decorations that you can make yourself. Personally, I like the scarecrow standing on his head ("Pumpkinhead Scarecrow"). also has quite a few ideas for homemade crafts and decorations using common household items like flower pots and egg cartons.
  • Consider growing your own. If you have pumpkins or gourds this year, keep the seeds and plant them for next year. You could also use roast the pumpkin seeds and use the pulp for baking pies or breads.
Buy for Next Year, This Year
Post-Halloween sales often yield some of the best deals on seasonal items. Look for discounted costumes and decorations. If you wait long enough, many stores will mark seasonal clearance items down to 90% off regular price - although be warned that there may not be much left if you do wait that long.

No comments:

Post a Comment