Halloween is back and bigger than ever, with 69% of Americans saying they are celebrating the end-of-October holiday. That’s up from 65% in 2021, according to the National Retail Federation’s annual survey conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics. The report also showed total spending on the holiday is expected to reach a record $10.6 billion in 2022, surpassing last year’s record of $10.1 billion. However, you don’t have to keep up the Jonsses. Just because someone down the street is going crazy for Halloween doesn’t mean you have to. There are ways to do Halloween on a budget.
Here are some clever ideas for enjoying Halloween on a budget.

Try Something Other Than Candy

Leave the cavity-causing candy at the store this year. Instead, you could hand out cute stickers or temporary tattoos of ghouls and goblins. Their parents, and your wallet, will thank you. Online stores such as Orientaltrading.com offer stickers and faux body art in bulk at a big discount.

In late September, you could buy 300 Halloween stickers for just $7.79. An assortment of 500 not-so-spooky ghost and jack-o-lantern temporary tattoos with were $7.49. That means, even if you had 100 visitors drop by, everyone could have between three and five “treats” and you spent less than $10.

Big box retailers and dollar stores also offer non-edible treats for All Hallow’s Eve, including, bulk bags of pencil erasers, colorful bracelets, and glow-sticks. The bonus? No one has to worry about a nut allergy and whatever you don’t use can be stored and brought out again next year.

Get Creative With a Costume

Before you head out to buy a pre-packaged outfit, scour the internet for DIY costumes. You can find hundreds of clever costume ideas that cost little to nothing. You may already have the items in your closet! For example, over at Goodhousekeeping.com, there’s a couple’s costume with one person wearing a green T-shirt and the other has a white top with the word ENVY written across the chest. Get it? They are green with envy. If you can’t find what you need at home, hit up your local thrift stores to assemble a cool look. Often, companies such as Goodwill sell wedding dresses for $10 or less. Grab a pair of sneakers, pull on a thrift-store white gown and you have a classic runaway bride costume.

Some other easy costume ideas for kids and adults:

  • M&Ms – grab some colored tshirts at a craft store and cut big Ms out of cardboard
  • A farmer – overalls, freckles, boots, and a hat
  • Bunch of grapes – brown leggings and top, blow up purple balloons and attach them with safety pins
  • Bubble Bath – white pants and top, blow up white and light pink balloons and attach them with safety pins
  • Fairy – grab some wings at the Dollar Store and put on a fancy dress

Decorating on a Budget

Just because stores across the U.S. are stocked with giant Halloween-themed inflatables doesn’t mean you need to buy one for your home. There was a time when a simple pumpkin or two was a perfectly acceptable way to mark the season that comes before Thanksgiving.

If you feel the need to do more than put out a few carved or painted pumpkins, here are some ideas for Halloween on a budget:

  • Look through your garage or attic for old decorations to see what you can bring back to life for at least one more year. Old, dirty, broken, and dusty go with the season!
  • Lights can change the mood from summery to spooky with little to no effort. Grab some purple and orange outdoor lights and wrap them around a tree. Don’t want them outside? Line the interior of your windows that face the street.
  • Make a scarecrow! Take some old clothes and stuff them with leaves from your yard or paper shredding. Close the holes with rubber bands. Make a head with a black garbage bag filled with more leaves, shredding, or whatever else you have around. Set up a chair on your porch and put the scarecrow together! Add shoes and a hat and you’re ready for Halloween!
  • Check out the ideas on Oprahdaily.com. There’s a photo gallery of 75 do-it-yourself decorations you can create from items you likely already have. Don’t miss the Halloween village crafted from old bird houses and the spooky candle holders.
  • Over at Jojotastic.com, you’ll find a tutorial on how to create a dark and quirky message for trick-or-treaters for less than $10. You’ll need a light-colored plain doormat, black paint, and a stencil to spell out your message. They used, “Strangers have the best candy” – we agree, as long as you’re not giving out Smarties.
  • Don’t want rotting pumpkins on your porch? Opt for fake ones you can reuse year after year. Check your local thrift and discount stores.

We’re Here to Help!

Need help making a budget even if it’s not for Halloween? We can help! Call, text, chat, or stop in. We’re available M-F, 9am-4pm, ET.