5 ideas for Halloween fun that won’t scare your wallet

5 ideas for Halloween fun that won’t scare your wallet

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By Andrew Housser

Boo! Halloween is here – the season of candy corn, bobbing for apples and multi-billion-dollar expenditures.

According to the National Retail Federation, U.S. consumers will spend $8.4 billion this year on Halloween celebrations. That amounts to nearly $83 per person. There is nothing wrong with having fun on a holiday everyone can enjoy. But instead of spending a spooky $300 per household on Halloween happenings, try dressing your holiday up on a budget with these tips.

1. Establish a candy budget. If the posh neighborhood nearby is giving away full-size candy bars – let them! You do not have to keep up with another household’s candy expenditures. In fact, they might be helping rein in your candy costs by luring trick-or-treaters to their street. Buy what you can afford and want to give out, and when it’s gone, it is gone.

2. Hold a costume contest. Urge your household or group of friends to compete for who can come up with the best costume. Making it a creative one, instead of just store-bought, can make it more fun. Many costume ideas come from simple things. Jokes, puns and household items can be your inspiration. A cardboard box, some no-longer-needed clothes, paint and a trip to the thrift store can turn into a unique costume.

3. DIY your decor. If you want to update your holiday decorations, look around while you are at the thrift store or cleaning out your garage, basement or closets. A zombie mechanic is terrifying, a tattered nightgown is spooky flapping in a tree, and any trick-or-treater would be haunted by a doll with ruined hair and blacked-out eyes. Or go with friendlier classics, such as a pile of pumpkins and bouquets of autumn leaves.

4. Host a BYOF event. Keep your Halloween party low-key and, more importantly, low-cost by making it a BYOF affair – bring your own festivity. Ask guests to bring an item or two that will make the party more festive. That might mean a fun appetizer or a favorite Halloween game. Let guests know what kind of party it is – whether adults-only or a family event – and create a memorable event together.

5. Cozy up for frightful fun. You don’t have to go out to make Halloween memories. Find a scary movie or two – You’ll find a wide assortment online or on-demand for a few dollars. Make popcorn balls, brew some spooky punch and enjoy some Halloween candy. Those with young viewers can check out a reference like Commonsense.org for recommendations for age-appropriate scary (or not-very-scary) movies. 

Halloween continues to become more popular each year. After all, everyone likes to have fun, and costumes and decorations can provide distractions and breaks from the routine. Just be careful not to let all that fun break your budget.

Andrew Housser is a co-founder and CEO of Bills.com, a free one-stop online portal where consumers can educate themselves about personal finance issues and compare financial products and services. He also is co-CEO of Freedom Financial Network, LLC providing comprehensive consumer credit advocacy and debt relief services. Housser holds a Master of Business Administration degree from Stanford University and Bachelor of Arts degree from Dartmouth College.
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