How to Save Money on Halloween

posted in: Holidays

According to the National Retail Federation, Halloween spending is predicted to be up a modest 5% over last year.  While many of us won’t be spending much more than last year, those of you who have multiple kids and/or live on a popular trick-or-treating block, will be spending a pretty penny Rather than breaking the bank, try one of my favorite ways to save money on Halloween:

DIY Halloween Decor

Sure, you can buy beautiful Halloween decor, or you can head to a store like crafting destination Michael’s or and pick up supplies for some fun, family-friendly DIY projects! You and your kids will exercise your creativity, have a great time making decorative items – with sentimental value – that can be re-used year after year.  You can even make a teal pumpkin to indicate that your treats are safe for trick-or-treaters with food sensitivities.

DIY Halloween Costumes

See what you have on hand. Last year’s Harry Potter cape can be re-purposed into a vampire cape with minimal effort. You probably have black clothes to wear underneath, so all you need are some fangs and face makeup. If you need inspiration, Google “Best DIY Halloween Costumes.” You’ll be shocked by how many great ideas there are that are easily doable, regardless of your skill level. 

Consider Swapping

Because costumes are only worn a handful of times (or once), they are usually in like-new condition. You can organize a swap with friends and classmates or use a platform like Facebook to cast a wider net. Someone in my local Facebook group posted a swap thread, and in a matter of days, there were almost 400 comments.

Try Thrift Stores 

Swing by your local second-hand shop or Goodwill to check out their selection of gently used costumes. And don’t forget to take a peek at the formalwear section; there may be gowns, suits and tuxedos, which can be used for a whole host of costumes.

Hit the Halloween Sales

A great basecamp for all the best Halloween sales is deal site With a community of 11 million users constantly sharing, vetting and voting on deals, Slickdeals is your secret ingredient for saving money on all the snacks, costumes, and decorations you’ll need. Check out their Halloween page or set deal alerts to be notified about sales on specific items or brands. Download their mobile app for quick and easy access to deals, coupons, and alerts.

Buy in Bulk

If you get a lot of Halloween traffic at your house, buying giant bags of at your wholesale club will save you a ton. Warehouse stores like Sam’s Club and Costco may also have budget-friendly costumes.

Throwing a Spooky Bash?

Hosting a party doesn’t have to be expensive. First, there’s no need to go high-end on the decor and serving items. Try Oriental Trading or the dollar store for inexpensive options.  Also, just because you’re hosting, doesn’t mean you have to foot the entire bill. If all your guests contribute a dish and bring a bottle of something festive, you don’t have to bear the full burden.


The closer we get to Halloween, the more you’ll save on costumes, decor, and candy.  The selection will be thinner, but the prices will be significantly lower. And if you wait until after Halloween (if your Reese’s chocolate peanut butter pumpkin craving is not yet satisfied, for example), everything Halloween-themed will be discounted to Clearance levels.

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Trae Bodge is an accomplished lifestyle journalist and TV commentator who has specialized in smart shopping, personal finance, and retail for more than a decade. She has appeared on TV over 1,000 times; including Today Show, GMA3, NBC Nightly News, Inside Edition, and network affiliates nationwide. She has been named a Top Voice in Retail by LinkedIn, and her expert commentary has appeared in Forbes,, Kiplinger, Yahoo Finance, and numerous others.