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Halloween hero
• Oct 11, 2021

Most Americans celebrate Halloween, and the holiday is a big deal for retailers. In 2020, 96% of those marking the day planned to buy candy, and 75% expected to buy decorations. Altogether, consumers were projected to shell out more than $8 billion on holiday products and goodies.

It can be tempting to spend a lot in October when Halloween items are advertised everywhere but there are many ways to enjoy the occasion that don't cost an arm and a leg. Follow these tips to have a fun night while sticking to your budget.

Make costumes yourself

Design your own costumes to keep your expenses low. If sewing isn't your thing, cut holes in a cardboard box for your neck and arms, and decorate the box with construction paper, glitter, paste-on googly eyes, pipe cleaners, or whatever other craft materials you like. Alternatively, start with a plain smock and jazz it up with fabric paint or iron-on patches. Another option is to search thrift stores for vintage attire.

Compare prices on candy and buy reusable decorations

Shop around to find deals on candy. Check dollar stores, online retailers, party supply stores, and big box stores. Compare prices per ounce to see which products are less expensive by weight. You may find that store brand candy is more affordable than the name brands.

Balloons and paper streamers usually don't last longer than a night, so you end up paying for new ones year after year. Save money in the long term by stocking up on sturdier decorations like rubber spiders, cloth bats, LED candles and lanterns, and plastic skeletons. When Halloween is over, store them in a safe place, and take them out again next October.

Bake sweet treats at home and don't waste your pumpkins

Bakeries usually charge a premium for holiday-themed desserts. To keep your food costs manageable, whip up some cupcakes, brownies, or other snacks in your kitchen.

Use chocolate chips to create faces on marshmallow "ghosts," or turn cookies into witch hats by placing chocolate kisses on top. Make festive frosting by mixing cream cheese, confectioner's sugar, and an orange food like shredded carrots, mango puree, or powdered turmeric.

Over 1 billion pounds of pumpkin are thrown out each year when people carve jack-o'-lanterns and discard everything inside the gourd. Get your money's worth from your pumpkins by roasting the seeds and using them in granola or trail mix. With the pulp, you can make pies, bread, hummus, soup, or risotto.

Team up with friends and create your own haunted house

Trim your holiday budget by celebrating with a small group of friends or neighbors. Invite people to spend the evening at your home or host a block party outdoors.

That way, you can split the cost of decorating one house and keeping a candy bowl stocked for trick-or-treaters. Divvy up expenses like food, candy, decorations, and paper products so each person pays for part of the festivities.

A visit to a haunted house can set you back $75 or more, but you can create your own haunted basement or garage for a fraction of that amount. Play spooky sounds on phones or audio recorders, and create a trail of fake blood using water, food coloring, and cornstarch. Print out some creepy old photographs, turn down the lights, position mirrors for jump scares, and dare participants to stick their hands into bowls of "zombie guts" that are actually clammy spaghetti, peeled grapes, or homemade slime.

Play inexpensive party games

Save money on Halloween entertainment by playing games you can assemble with affordable supplies. Make a ring toss with witch's hats, or a bean bag toss with black cat bean bags. You could ask participants to guess how many candies are in a jar or how much a pumpkin weighs, play spooky word games or take turns telling a ghost story "round robin" style. Go on a scavenger hunt around your neighborhood or set up an obstacle course in your backyard. DIY games like these can be just as much fun as costlier outings, and they make for great memories.

For more on personal finance topics

If you have more questions about savings and other personal finance topics that matter to you, visit the Learning Center on TD Bank's website.

We hope you found this helpful. Our content is not intended to provide legal, investment or financial advice or to indicate that a particular TD Bank product or service is available or right for you. For specific advice about your unique circumstances, consider talking with a qualified professional.

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