A Modern Day Fairy Tale: Thrift or Treat {Halloween On a Budget}

Friday, September 23, 2016

Thrift or Treat {Halloween On a Budget}

Halloween is quickly approaching and for many of us, that's an added expense that we just can't afford. This year our budget is even tighter than normal, so I am certainly also looking for ways to cut the budget down as much as possible. I'm sure I'm not the only one! So today, I'm sharing a few ideas to help get you started on saving this Halloween season. From costumes to treats to decor, let the savings begin!

Buy Used

For many kids, Halloween costumes are worn once or twice, then they're either outgrown or kids move on to something else. So rather than buying a brand new costume every year, head to your local thrift stores. You can find barely worn costumes for a fraction of the cost. You can also often find vintage clothing that can be mixed and matched to create your own costumes! 

Do It Yourself

Now, sometimes DIY costumes aren't the cheapest option so you'll want to watch costs on this one, but there are plenty of DIY options that can help you save! Last year, my son asked to be Greg from Diary of a Wimpy Kid. He wore a white tee and black pants he already had, and a I created a mask from an old pair of stockings and a foam board. (See how I made it here.)  The total cost was just a little over $1 and everyone LOVED it! When I was a child I dressed in purple from head to toe, pinned purple balloons all over... I was a bunch of grapes! Not only was it inexpensive, but I won a Halloween costume contest that year too! Have a Minion loving kiddo? A yellow top and overalls make a simple costume, and you can often find Minion goggles for under $10. Go with a red or green top and draw on a mustache for Mario or Luigi. Get creative and have fun with it!

Need trick or treat bags? Take old pillow cases and let kids decorate them to make them their own! You can use paint, markers, or even tie dye them! 

Look at Clearance

Of course we know the best time to buy cheap Halloween costumes is after the holiday when things start going on clearance, so you can always plan ahead for next year. But what about this year? Halloween stuff might not be on clearance yet, but you may still find some items that will work! Check toy sections for dress up clothes or masks. These aren't technically Halloween costumes so they could be marked down. Two years ago we found my son some Minecraft cardboard masks on clearance for a few dollars each! Again, not technically made for Halloween but they worked perfectly!

Check Dollar Stores

Some stores like Family Dollar or Dollar General may have full costumes, but even stores like Dollar Tree have costume pieces that you can put together with items you already have for the perfect look. For instance, my daughter asked to be a witch this year. We found a witch had and broom at our local Dollar Tree which she can wear with a black dress she already has! Easy! They also had cat ears and tails... wear black and your look is complete! For the boys, we saw some turtle shells and ninja masks. These aren't licenced products, but together with green top and pants makes the perfect Ninja Turtles outfit.

Dollar stores are also great for trick or treat bags and decor. A few years back we put together a little graveyard in our front yard using foam tombstones from the Dollar Tree. We had about 5 of them for a grand total of $5! They have lots of decor to choose from- from the spooky to fun! 

Save and ReUse
Now, if you only have one little one, or you have a boy and a girl like me, this may not work out so well. Some kids don't want to use the same costume again (although my son personally went as Thomas 3 years in a row!). But I grew up in a house of 3 girls! Sometimes we'd get newer costumes, but every year they all went in the box and into storage. We had so many costumes that we could mix and match that we never were without a costume!

Buy Budget Candy

I know, I know... we all want to be the house with the best candy, right? But let's be honest... candy can be VERY expensive. Especially if you live in an area with a ton of trick or treaters. When we lived on base, ours was one of the housing areas that EVERYONE went to. We would buy several huge bags of candy to fill our huge cauldron and in less than an hour, they'd be gone! Crazy! And crazy expensive. So, don't be afraid to buy the cheaper things. I don't know about your kids, but mine LOVE Tootsie Rolls and lollipops! These don't cost as much for bulk candy, but they will still get eaten. (Stay tuned for a few fun ideas to make those 'cheap' candies even more exciting!)

What other ideas do you have for saving this Halloween?


  1. Yes!! Fabulous suggestions!! I like trying to find easy cheater ideas ;) Like my son was Charlie Brown last year!! So easy!! This year (since its my last without him having an opinion) I think we are going to make him be Braveheart which will be a little tougher ;)

  2. Good suggestions. You can always take your kids to the grocery store 3 days after & get the 75 percent off candies too. I love to stock up on all my favorites to have them all year round.

  3. Thank you for all the cost cutting ways to do Halloween!! The mask you made your son is Awesome so cute!! My Girls went more for the homemade looks at Halloween. Actually so was I when I was a child! One year my youngest wanted to be a home made clown. I put a long sleeved plaid shirt on her with her pants. I then put on her a red, Yellow and Blue Stripped suspenders we had at home. I also put 3 different colored Yarn Pom poms on her shirt!! Then I painted a clown face on her and we Bought a Different colored curly wig to put over her hear. I only paid a few dollars for it! She looked adorable That Year!! I Always had fun with my kids on Halloween! I sure Miss It!!

  4. Yep! I am all for "frugal." I hate spend more than I have to and I love a good bargain. These suggestions are all on mark. thanks


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