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4 ways to save on your kid’s tricks & treats.

article-halloween-budgetHalloween can quickly turn into a scary season for your wallet, when you factor in costumes, candy and devilish decorations.

Approximately 171 million Americans will celebrate Halloween this year and spend an average of $82.93Third Party Link, with total holiday spending pegged at $8.4 billion, according to the National Retail Federation.

But don’t get spooked by the cost: We’ve got a number of Halloween crafts, treats and costume creations to make your family’s Halloween season an affordable treat.

Creepy crafts:

Whether you’re throwing a Halloween party on Oct. 31 or just want to decorate, these crafty creations will help transform your home sweet home into a haunted house:

  • Paint some pumpkins: Skip the mess of carving and let kids design spooky scenes, famous characters’ faces or other drawings with acrylic paint.
  • Dish up bloody place settings: Don’t spend extra money on special Halloween party-themed dinnerware. Drip wax from a lit red candle on inexpensive placemats, the edges of paper napkins and plates, and other items to add an eerie effect.
  • Create scary (or funny) cardboard gravestones: Prices for headstones at seasonal Halloween stores can be shockingly high. Convert your lawn into a spooky cemetery with a few homemade grave markers. Simply cut pieces of Styrofoam, carve in “RIP”, paint them grey and glue to a wooden stake.
  • Make more gore: Check out 50+ more DIY decoration and craft ideasThird Party Link from Good Housekeeping.

Ghastly grub:

Spend some quality time with your kids making devilishly fun — and delicious — Halloween party treats, including:

  • Frightening finger food: Buy a bag of pretzel rods, chocolate and a pack of sliced almonds. Dip each pretzel in melted chocolate and place a sliced almond “nail” near the top.
  • Mummified pigs in a blanket: With some hot dogs, canned crescent roll dough and condiments, you can make some spooky snacks. Wrap strips of dough around half of each hot dog, leaving an opening for a mini-mummy face. Bake for 10–15 minutes (follow package instructions), and add two dots of ketchup for the eyes.
  • Ghoulish garnish: Use chocolate syrup to drizzle a cobweb on a plate (or atop a dip). Create mozzarella-ball eyes with black-olive pupils. Or rest a plastic skeleton hand on the edge of a bowl to make it look like someone’s crawling out.
  • Scary good snacks: For more frugal Halloween snack ideas that’ll cost less than store-bought appetizers, see sinisterly savory and sweet recipesThird Party Link from Parents magazine.

Thrilling treats:

Buying all those bite-sized candy bars, individually wrapped caramels and other sweets for trick-or-treaters can add up — so save on Halloween chocolates and other snacks with these tips:

  • Search for sweet bargains: Sign up for candy manufacturers’ email lists, compare prices on sites like PriceGrabberThird Party Link, and look for candy promotional deals on sites like Coupons.comThird Party Link, SmartSourceThird Party Link and The Krazy Coupon LadyThird Party Link. You can also use these 8 ways to save on Halloween candy (and other items) with coupons.
  • Buy in bulk: Buy your Halloween handouts at a bulk store to stock up on larger quantities of goodies for less.
  • Give trinkets instead: Check online to compare the price of buying Halloween candy to purchasing bulk novelty items, such as small glow-in-the-dark toys or stickers.
  • Plan ahead: To prepare for next year, stop by stores on Nov. 1, when they slash prices on their leftover Halloween candy (check expiration date), décor and more. Hold on to your decorations and store Halloween kids’ costumes in a bin in a basement or closet. The more you accumulate, the less you’ll have to spend!

Chilling costumes:

Halloween costumes for kids don’t have to break the bank — or require you to have the talents of Martha Stewart. Consider the following ways to save:

  • Swap Halloween kids’ costumes: Email parents you know to see if anyone wants to swap costumes your kiddos wore for past Halloween celebrations.
  • Find some frugal frights: Thrift stores — you can find local options via TheThriftShopper.comThird Party Link — and dollar stores can be goldmines for kids’ costumes, decorations and even candy. Chances are, you’ll make out like a bandit (and maybe dress like one, too).
  • Scope out online offerings: If your child has a specific costume in mind, shop for gently used versions on resale sites like eBayThird Party Link and CraigslistThird Party Link.
  • DIY: With just a little creativity, you can create your own version of your child’s favorite movie princess or superhero for a lot less. A few easy-to-assemble ideas:
    • Clark Kent turning into Superman: Have your child wear glasses, a cape and a breastplate with the letter S under an open dress shirt, with a tie askew.
    • James Bond: Pair a black blazer and shirt from a thrift store with a plastic martini glass filled with unflavoured gelatin.
    • Where’s Waldo: All you need is a red and white striped T-shirt, red or white winter hat, and jeans.
    • Statue of Liberty: Drape a sheet over one shoulder as a dress, and top the look off with a homemade foil crown and torch.
    • Perfect princess: Use a flower girl or other fancy dress, if you have one. You can also belt a long tutu to make it into a dress or glam up a plain long dress with beads and jewels, then add a homemade flower or glittery paper crown.

Searching for Halloween season deals is just one way you can reduce your spending. If you’re trying to save money, check out 5 ways to cut costs and save hundreds of dollars at home and 7 tips for throwing your child’s birthday party on a budget.

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