Wondering why they’re having a Halloween segment so early in the month? Because we wanted to time it for this Saturday’s Green Halloween costume swap. That is, on October 9th, there will be costume swaps going on nationwide so parents can trade in last year’s costume and swap them for a new one–for free!
With this in mind I got to thinking about other ways we could take a frugal approach to Halloween, and here are 4 categories where you can save some bucks and have a great Halloween, too.
- Save Change on Costumes
Speaking of costumes, you can turn a board game into a costume, such as a Twister game. You wear the mat like poncho and string the spinner around your neck, all for the cost of a Twister game. You can also find deals online. Amazon.com sells “bulk” costumes (three kids costumes for the price of one), such as this action hero trio (the Rubies Costume Co. DC Comics Boys Trio Action Set Dress Up Trunk) for $16.97. That’s less than $6 per costume! According to the National Retail Federation, this year’s most popular costumes are all Disney characters, including Buzz Lightyear and Alice in Wonderland. If you want one of those, you can find them on Amazon.com as well for less than $25.
- Don’t Go Into Debt Over Decorations
I picked up some awesome and inexpensive Halloween decorations on Diggerslist.com, which is kind of like Craigslist for DIYers. Diggerslist is hooked into local Habit for Humanity Restore shops, where people donate home improvement and decorative items they no longer need and Habitat for Humanity sells it for profit. So on Diggerslist I was able to find cool frames for about a buck each, that I can use to frame Halloween-y images I might find in a magazine, a motion sensor and black light to make the outside of my house look spooky, and a lampshade for a buck that I decorated with bat cutouts. Also, starting this past weekend, Michael’s Craft Stores are offering free Halloween decoration workshops, where they’ll show you how to make amazing decorations that cost less than $7.
- Save on Trick or Treating
Definitely send your kids out on Halloween with reusable bags, such as the ones I got from Chicobag.com, which, by the way, is having a design-a-Halloween-bag contest in conjunction with the folks from Green Halloween; you could win up to $250. Then after Halloween you can reuse them when you go grocery shopping–especially if your grocery store gives you a discount for bringing your own bag (some Whole Foods give you $.10 per reusable bag used at checkout). Speaking of grocery shopping, my spies tell me that candy that does not feature anything Halloween on them costs less than the candy you find just at this time of the year. Also, think about using your kids’ candy and treat stash to supplement your lunch packing and grocery buying well into November.
- Go to Town on Halloween
Probably the easiest way to save money on Halloween is to bag trick or treating all together–or rather yoursupplying candy to trick or treaters. Instead, gather together friends and head out to a town that is known for decking itself out for Halloween. My favorite place to visit on Halloween is Lambertville, New Jersey, where you’ll find ornately decorated houses, and ghosts and goblins down every street block and alley. Best of all my kids get their fair share of candy–the shop owners give out candy to kids in costume–I have fun walking around and taking in the scenery, and I didn’t have to spend a dime on Halloween candy.
Watch Leah’s Halloween segment on Philadelphia’s “10!” Show:
Most mothers teach their kids to cook and clean. Leah Ingram’s mother taught her to compost. These days she’s passing along this green message to her own daughters as they all try to live a green and frugal lifestyle as The Lean Green Family. She’s the author of Suddenly Frugal: How to Live Happier and Healthier for Less“Suddenly Frugal:How to Live Happier and Healthier for Less.” Visit her blog, Suddenly Frugal.