Halloween on a Budget – Savvy Tricks for Treats

(This post was originally published 3 years ago; I felt like it was time to dust it off, update it, and get it back out there to be useful again.  🙂  )

Everywhere you look lately – it’s all about Halloween.  You need to know up front that I don’t make a big deal about Halloween.  I reserve my money and enthusiasm for other holidays.  That’s not to say that we don’t do anything for Halloween – we just don’t go all-out, full-bore like many folks.  That’s why we do Halloween on a budget.

Halloween On A Budget
decorated pumpkins, using a drill and various size drill bits!

In fact, as far as money spent on a holiday, some would say that Halloween comes in second only to Christmas.  I would say that’s probably about right.  With all the decorations that go up this month, all the kids that get dress up each year to go trick or treating, all the adults that get dressed up to go to parties and events, and all the candy/food bought/consumed for both those activities – you have a hefty price tag each year.  So how do you have fun and still have Halloween on a budget?

Halloween On A Budget - Savvy Tricks for Treats
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There is a great article I came across recently, all about budget-friendly ideas for this time of year.  And here is it:  How To Budget Your Spending This Halloween.

And it wouldn’t be a post about budgeting without input from my guy, Dave Ramsey!  Here’s a great post about 5 Money-Saving Tricks for a Happier Halloween


My favorite trick this year?  Shop for a costume at Goodwill!  My youngest daughter is now 11, and right at the age where she isn’t really sure if she’s too old for trick or treating but still wants to dress up in a cool costume.  So we went to the seasonal costume store that springs up around the first of October, and specializes in all things Halloween and spooky.  We went there to get ideas, and she got lots.

But the costume that she picked out (she wanted to be a “Sugar Skull”, whatever that is) was a nifty $50 -$60 dollars.  Mom wasn’t ready to shell that out just yet.  So a few days later we went to Goodwill.  We went looking for ideas, and again we found lots.  So now youngest daughter will be a “Steam Punk” – my oldest daughter informs me that’s kinda like Charles Dickens meets Punk Rock.  And we found a dress, new tights, and cool boots there for just $16.  Score!

Budget Costume from Goodwill
Budget Costume from Goodwill


Another great idea is to use face paint rather than a mask.  There are some hazards with your little one wearing a mask; they are not able to see as well with a mask on their face, blocking their field of vision, and masks can get hot and uncomfortable.  All you need is a little creativity and some paint.

Here’s some inspiration from parenting.com – 10 Easy Face Painting Ideas

Or this one from Hello Kids – Halloween Face Paintings for Kids

And, again, from parents.com – Step-By-Step Face Painting Ideas


What about decorating for Halloween?  Everyone loves to visit the seasonal Halloween stores each year, and get creeped out by the life-size, animatronic zombies, Frankensteins, Chuckies, etc.  But you can spend $$$ just decorating your house!  A couple of cheap ideas?  Use trash bags and fill them with leaves, then create a giant spider in the front yard.  Or use empty gallon milk jugs and artificial candles to create a spooky display for your front porch.  You can find all the “how to’s” here – 10 Cheap DIY Halloween Decorating Ideas (Indoor and Outdoor) by Money Crashers


My suggestion?  Buy in bulk.  There are lots of places that have the big bags of candy, and you can get treats at a better price.  Budget the amount you want to spend, and stick to that amount.

Here’s 7 Spooktacular Ways to Save Money On Halloween Candy from Wallet Whisperer – these are really helpful!

Or see what The Balance has to say about Ways To Save Money on Halloween Candy – with common sense tips, like “Don’t buy YOUR favorite kind of candy!”



Here’s a great tip, too – don’t let those little trick or treat-ers stick their hands in the candy bowl.  In other words, YOU be the one to dole out the candy; then you will be better able to control how much is taken and you won’t run out as early.  Sounds mean, I know.  But hey, it’s better than having to turn kids away from your door later because you ran out of candy.  🙂

With a little bit of planning and creativity, you can still have a fun time this Halloween – and not blow up your budget.

What are your favorite tips for Halloween on a budget?  Share below in the comments!


Halloween on a budget - Savvy tricks for treats. Don't break the bank this year! Click To Tweet


20 thoughts on “Halloween on a Budget – Savvy Tricks for Treats

  1. Hi! I’m her daughter! I remember this Halloween, it was so fun, but cold… really cold lol. I really do enjoy this post cause, unlike my mother, I LOVE Halloween! Halloween is my life, and I always look forward to finding a new costume and begging strangers for candy, but money is always a looming problem in our modern day society. So I really appreciate my mom coming out onto her blog and helping other people with this problem!
    Thanks Mom! Love you!
    jmerrell81@gmail.com recently posted…Halloween on a Budget – Savvy Tricks for TreatsMy Profile

  2. Haha, that’s an awesome way to describe steam punk. Nice work! This is my second Halloween ever, and I’m using a dress that I already own and making my accessories to go with it. I’m going to be Ms Frizzle from the Magic School Bus books.

    1. I love Ms. Frizzle! My daughters and I used to watch the Magic School Bus all the time! What a great idea for a costume. I need to remember that idea for future Halloweens. I bet that’s a fun costume to create, and a great one for creating on a budget. Way to go! I’d love to see a picture of it. 🙂
      Thanks for stopping by and commenting. I love hearing about how other people are making their Halloween special and economical.

    2. Great idea! I love Ms. Frizzle. My daughters and I used to watch Magic School Bus all the time. And I bet that is a fun costume to put together on a budget. I would love to see a photo when it’s finished. Thanks for stopping by and commenting. I love to hear how other people are making their Halloween special and economical. 🙂

  3. I so love the idea of drilling holes in the pumpkins. It looks so great and how much easier could you get?

    Your daughter’s Halloween costume is precious! I love Goodwill. It’s amazing what you can find for such a cheap price. Dropping by from Turn It Up Tuesday. Following you via BlogLovin, Pinterest, & Twitter.

      1. I already told my husband to pass the Dewalt. I’m so doing this! (If I fail, I’ll just blame him.) 😉

  4. This is a great post and we’re glad to have found you through the #trafficjamweekend blog hop. Tips on saving money are always appreciated but they’re especially helpful when children want to join in activities and don’t want to be embarrassed by falling short of what their friends are doing. Your suggestions make it possible to do both: have great fun and watch the budget, too. Thanks for sharing your ideas with us.

  5. I agree Halloween doesn’t have to be expensive. I love Halloween, but I also love being frugal or crafty 😉 Goodwill is such a great place to find deals for Halloween. You can find decorations or costumes and make them your own with a little craftiness, or not. In the past I purchased my son a Darth Vader costume at Goodwill that would’ve cost $40 for $10.
    This year I made the kids’ costumes, which wasn’t expensive at all.
    Hope you had a Happy Halloween.
    Thanks for sharing via Mommy Monday!
    Mrs. AOK recently posted…Thank You Notes {2} #LinkupMy Profile

    1. Thank you so much! Wow, I am honored. 🙂
      I will be checking it out, and thanks again. It’s always nice to have a blog post recognized like the on a link hop; I appreciate the feature very much. 🙂

    1. Thank you for the comments. And I didn’t do the pumpkins myself, but yes they were carved with a drill. It is something I want to do myself this Halloween with our pumpkins.

  6. Saw you on the linkup & love the post! Thanks for the best ideas to enjoy Halloween without breaking the bank! The steam punk idea is genius! 🙂

    1. Thanks! I appreciate you taking the time to stop and comment. Thanks for the kind words. Have a great weekend!

    2. Stacie – Thanks for the comment! I love to come up with new ideas, especially when they save me some $$. 🙂

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