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8 Genius Ways to Save Money This Halloween

Halloween can get expensive in a hurry. Between stocking up on candy, buying multiple costumes and ensuring you have the spookiest house on the block, it’s easy to spend a scary amount of money. Luckily, these tips are here to help.

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Decorative pumpkins filled with assorted Halloween chocolate candy made by Mars, Incorporated and the Hershey Company.Shutterstock / Leena Robinson

Stock Up on Candy Before October

No trick-or-treater is going to notice if the peanut butter cups you hand out aren’t shaped like pumpkins. To save money, stock up on Halloween candy in the off-season and store it in a cool, dry place. Look for sales after the Fourth of July and in late August when the first Halloween candy shipments arrive and stores put it on sale. Before you buy, make sure to check the expiration date. Most candies will stay fresh for about a year.

Bought too much candy? Here are 15 clever ways to use it up. 

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young boy in DIY vampire costumeTaste of Home

Get Creative with Costumes

Heading to the party store and picking up costumes for your clan can cost hundreds of dollars. Not to mention, you’ll likely only wear them once! To save money, raid your closet or the local thrift store for cheap, DIY costumes. With a little creativity, a set of plastic tablecloths becomes the starting point for a scary vampire costume. Got an old graduation gown lying around? Turn it into a Harry Potter robe for your ‘tween. With the right mindset, the possibilities are endless.

Need some ideas? Here are 8 simple costumes you can make in less than an hour.

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Family has fun in Halloween time Shutterstock / gpointstudio

Set a Party Budget

Hosting a spooky gathering? Don’t spend a scary amount of money. It’s easy to get caught up in the fun of party planning and spend way more than you intended. To keep costs low, set a budget and look for sneaky ways to save. In lieu of paper party invitations, send out e-vites. You’ll save on both the cost of postage and the actual invitations. Plan the party menu around what’s on sale at your local grocery store, and use coupons to save even more. (Need some menu ideas? Here are 60 make-ahead Halloween party recipes.) Set up a funny photo booth with props cut from craft paper. And finally, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Most guests are more than willing to bring a bag of candy or a dish to pass.

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Scenes from The 24th Annual Tompkins Square Halloween Dog ParadeDonald Bowers Photography/Shutterstock

Look for (Free) Community Events

You can get in the Halloween spirit without shelling out big bucks for haunted house admission or a family-sized order of pumpkin spice lattes. Look for free events in your community, such as a costume parade (some are even just for pups!), pumpkin-carving contest or outdoor showing of a scary movie. If nothing’s going on, start your own traditions. Consider “Boo-ing” a neighbor or setting up a bonfire with family and friends.

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woman pushing shopping cart in shopping mall;pixfly/Shutterstock

Look Outside the Halloween Aisle

If your child is dead-set on being Elsa this year, look in the dress-up section of the toy department instead of the Halloween aisle. There’s a good chance that the dress-up garments will cost less than a seasonal Halloween costume. And don’t be afraid to shop around! Some stores that don’t carry traditional Halloween merchandise may still offer suitable costumes. This same trick can work for craft supplies, candles, black and orange decor, etc.

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Jack O Lantern Pumpkins on table ready for carvingShutterstock / Laura Beach

Print out Your Jack-o-Lantern Pattern

Don’t waste money on a pumpkin-carving book. Plenty of printable patterns can be downloaded from the Internet for free. Plus, you’ll have way more options. Everything from political figures to your child’s favorite cartoon characters have been turned into pumpkin stencils.

Psst: Here are a bunch of cheap pumpkin decorating tips we learned from the pros.

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woman scooping out seeds from pumpkinTaste of Home

Use Every Part of the Pumpkin

If you’re carving pumpkins, don’t throw away the seeds. When roasted, pumpkin seeds make a delicious (and nutritious!) snack. Plus, the process couldn’t be simpler. If you’ve never roasted seeds before, here’s a how-to guide to get you started.

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Jack-o-lantern trick or treat jars at store shelves for sale by Halloween season;Shutterstock / Wilson Araujo

Plan Ahead for Next Year

This one’s obvious, but the best time to buy decorations, costumes and other Halloween supplies is right after the holiday has passed. Plan to stock up during the first week of November as stores deeply discount their merchandise to make way for Christmas items.

Katie Bandurski
As Senior Shopping Editor, Katie connects Taste of Home readers with the best gifts, deals and home products on the market. An avid foodie and a holiday enthusiast, Katie is an expert at cultivating meaningful moments. When she’s out of the office, you’ll find her exploring Wisconsin, trying out new vegetarian recipes and watching Christmas movies.