Halloween is easily one of the most popular holidays in the United States only next to Christmas and Thanksgiving in spirit and revelry. A study by the National Retail Federation has found that Americans spend about $9 billion a year on Halloween related purchases. See here for more on the survey. That means an average person spends anything from $78 to $90 on these festivities. For an average household, that spells EXPENSIVE.
Halloween has a relatively humbler origin in the United States where Irish immigrants in the 19th century took to trick or treating their neighbors for food or money. They often played elaborate tricks dressed in costumes. It was only by the 1920s that the tricks became less common and the treats became more prevalent. As the costumes got more elaborate and the treats became extravagant, the tricks became tamer to suit the tastes of a changing society.
How do we then go back to the simpler times when Halloween was about spook and fun but also easy on the wallet?
Here are some money-saving tricks on Halloween treats.
• DIY or Do It Yourself
All of us at some point or the other have watched DIY videos on the internet and wondered if those are indeed imitable. However, don't let the complexity of some ideas deter you. There are just as many doable ideas. DIY is often the best way to cut costs while keeping the spirit of the holiday intact. If you find your imagination failing you, you can find some innovative and fascinating ideas for costumes on the internet. Here are some doable costume ideas.
Masks are often expensive, instead, paint faces, a little bit of imagination or a handy YouTube tutorial can carry you through the process. You won’t miss the mask while your wallet will Thank you!
If you are creative, then here is your opportunity to let your imagination flow. Cardboard boxes, chart paper, plastic, tissues, latex, polyester, muslin, and velvet - most of which are available around the house - are some of the commonly used materials for making unusual and exciting costumes. Add a little bit of humor to your creations for an extra punch.
• Reuse & Share
The thing about Halloween costumes is that they are relevant only on a single day in a year. Which means what you pay for, is essentially used once a year. So, it makes sense to conserve these costumes to be reused later for costume themed parties. They can be used by other children a few years down the line as well. Sharing costumes with children in the neighborhood or your friend's circle is an effective way to save.
• Thrift stores
Avoid going to the stores, with expensive costume choices, that crop up just around Halloween. Have you noticed how the popular costumes are almost always sold out, then later reappear with higher price tags? Instead of the stores dedicated to party costumes, head to your nearest thrift store. You'll be surprised by the variety you find in thrift stores.
Children may have costume preferences that are well above your budget. Instead of allowing them to choose their costumes without looking at the price tag, hand the responsibility of finding a costume within your budget to them. Leave the decision on the choice of costumes to the kids but do not forget to hand over the amount allocated to them. It is amazing to see how empowering your children enables them to make decisions that fit your budget.
When children come dressed up in princess dresses and superhero costumes looking cute as buttons, you can't just send them away empty-handed. You can always put up a note on the door that says you are out of candies. That's something people opt for too, especially if you are severely money crunched or are not in the mood to be disturbed. In all other cases, you'll find that you need quite a lot of candies. To ensure that you don't run out of them, the best choice would be to buy the assorted bag of candies. There will be enough skittles and peanut butter cups around not to mention chocolate bars, so your assorted selection of candies will blend right in.
Candies can get boring, sometimes dreadfully expensive too. How do you save on one of the nearly unavoidable expenses of Halloween? If you need treats in large numbers, it would be ideal to find alternates to candies. Alternatives to candies include squishy toys, glowsticks, stickers, colorful erasers to name a few. These are usually available at very reasonable rates, especially when bought in bulk. Here's a list of alternates to candies.
Baking Halloween treats are always easier on the pocket. If you can involve your children in the process, then nothing like it. Doughnuts, hot dogs, pizzas, cupcakes or cookies - with a slight Halloween twist is what you need to have a smashing party. Adding a little bit of fun to the baking activities, even if it means letting your toddler add googly eye to a cookie will make it way more exciting than store-bought, fancier Halloween themed food.
Pumpkin carving is a lot of fun and a must-do for Halloween, but if you're on a budget would it be wise to go to a nearby farm with its ticketed hayride to buy pumpkins? Maybe not. Most often, your favorite grocery store will offer pumpkins at a better price. You have your value for money and a fine pumpkin to carve.
Last but not least, decorations are a choice you need to make. If you aim to save up, then avoid fancy decorations. Else, just as with costumes, DIY methods work best - be imaginative and resourceful. Recycle and reuse. It is advisable to buy great quality decorations as a one-time investment and reuse it year after year.
The most important part of any festival is to enjoy it and make it enjoyable for all those around you. Money can often pull you down but there are always tricks to save up while enjoying your treats. Happy Halloween!
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