(updated from the original Oct. 10, 2015 post)
Halloween spending has been picking up speed and this year is expected to reach a record high of $9.1 Billion for Americans. It certainly has become a more and more expensive holiday to celebrate over the years with spending spilling over from costumes to spooky spectacles for the yard. Store-bought costumes, haunted house decor, and giant inflatable lawn decorations can really add up. The average planned Halloween spend per household is $86.13, but you can do Halloween on a budget with all the fun and at a fraction of the cost.
Homemade costumes are always more interesting and creative than the store-bought variety, so plan ahead and make it a project that you and the kids can enjoy together. And a great place to start is the thrift store, where you can find all sorts of unique, inexpensive clothes for re-purposing.
For girls, pick up some scarves, a long skirt and a peasant blouse for an easy gypsy fortuneteller costume. For boys, an old suit and studious eyeglass frames (no prescription lenses) can easily become Clark Kent with a Superman t-shirt peeking out from underneath.
If DIY costume making is a stretch for you, then try visiting your local kids resale boutique. Bring your old costumes to sell and you might have an even swap! You can also try setting up a costume swap on your community Facebook page if you have loads of school aged children in your neighborhood.
Create a spooky mood around the house with black lights and green, purple and red bulbs that can be bought inexpensively at your local home-improvement center. Eerie lighting will give all of your other decorations haunting ambiance. Bags of fake cobwebs that you can stretch across doorways and furniture (tip: the more you stretch them, the more realistic they look) can have a lot of impact for very little money. In general, cluster displays in a few focal areas — like the mantle, entry hall, or dining room table — for greater impact.
Lawn decorations can cost a lot when bought at retail stores, but you can create your own cemetery of styrofoam tombstones for less than the price of one fancy inflatable. Buy thick sheets of styrofoam and cut them into an array of tombstone shapes; then paint your forms a dingy greenish gray and letter funny sayings on them. Use wooden dowels to stick them in the ground. Skeleton hands from the party store reaching up through the earth will add posthumous personality to your display.
Don’t worry about going nuts on decorations if this is your first year decorating for Halloween. Half of the fun is collecting these items through the years and swooping up heavily discounted items after October 31.
Do you have any great inexpensive and creative Halloween ideas? Share them!