Spooktacular Tips for a Fun and Thrifty Halloween
It’s that time of the year again: witches and goblins come knocking at the door, hands held out seeking treats they’ll eat until their stomachs pop out like a pregnant belly. My kids begin talking about Halloween as soon as school starts. As my oldest daughter says it’s her favorite time of the year because, “I get free candy!”
Of course, that candy isn’t free for those of us who have to buy it. Neither are the costumes, which seem to double in price with each year that goes by. I complained to my mom this year that most costumes range from $15-20, even at the cheapest of department stores. Multiply this by two children, throw in several bags of candy, and pretty soon you are taking out a second mortgage on the house.
My mom’s idea, and I love her for it: throw a sheet over their heads and call them ghosts. The girls didn’t go for this, so I turned to Teri Gault, money-saving guru and CEO of TheGroceryGame.com, for tips on cutting down the costs of Halloween without cutting out the fun.
- Start buying candy now! Don’t wait until the last minute. “Check sales circulars every week for drugstores and supermarkets,” Teri suggests, and remember that most stores will allow you to stack coupons – use one store and one manufacturer coupon – from the Sunday paper. I use couponmom.com and southernsavers.com to keep track of the sales and where to find the coupons. Most candy bargains I find at CVS, Walgreens, and Publix. They’ve already been hitting the shelves, too. Here, Jenny of Southernsavers.com lists a candy coupon roundup: http://www.southernsavers.com/2011/09/available-candy-coupons-round-up/
- Dress your children for less by starting the hunt now for a great costume. Online, look for deals with free shipping, or shop used. My oldest wants to be a witch, and I did a quick search on ebay several days ago and found numerous witch costumes for under $10. Of course, shipping costs on ebay can really push up the price, but by creating a list of places to get the costume and then comparing the total cost, including shipping, helps keep the cost down. I also love Joann fabric store because they often offer coupons for 40%-50% off of items both in store and online. Another place to look? Consignment shops.
- Finally, my favorite idea of all: have a costume swap party! Teri recommends getting together with other moms and their costumes from past years and exchanging costumes from previous years. “Make it a casual gathering,” she says, “where all parents bring and exchange their kids’ costumes from previous years. My kids loved looking through all the “new” costumes.” Treat it like a party and the kids will have fun; best of all, you’ll gather great costumes for next to nothing!
How do you cut down on costs during Halloween?