The days are getting colder, the nights are coming sooner, and the leaves are changing colors. Everywhere you look you find ghosts, vampires, and zombies lurking around doors and windows. In the supermarket, large bags of sticky, chewy candy line the walls, enticing you to purchase several bags for all the creatures that will come to your door.
Just in case you didn’t get all the clues, Halloween is almost upon us. Or, as many retailers are calling it these days, Christmas Shopping Season Eve. This year, Americans are expected to spend $2.6 million on costumes and almost $3 billion on candy and other trick-or-treat goodies. In other words, getting ready for Halloween in your household can run you more money than you spend on Christmas gifts, so you want to prepare your budget accordingly. Here’s some advice to get ready for this tricky and treat-filled holiday.
Costumes – The days where you could pick up a boxed plastic costume and mask for under $10 are long gone. Today’s costumes are much more elaborate and can range anywhere from $10 to as much as $50 or more. Make sure your costume choices are made for you and your family before heading out to the local retailer. Without this, you may end up spending more on costumes than you thought when other members of your party discover an item even more enticing than their original choice.
Should you be purchasing costumes for your children there are some ways to save money. First, there’s nothing wrong with handing down costumes from one child to another, especially if you have a large family and a bagful of garments from the year before. Second, its best to snag the next year’s costumes on November 1 when they are deep discounted so stores can get rid of them to make room for Christmas items. Make sure you budget some extra money to purchase these bargains.
Decorations – Blow-up decorations for your lawn were once relegated to the winter holidays. Not anymore. Today you can purchase inflatable and lighted ghosts and pumpkins to adorn your front grass. These can run anywhere from $15 to $50 depending on their size. These items may need to be budgeted in ahead of time in order to purchase the correct amount and the ones you want.
You can save money in your budget by going much simpler in your decorations. For example, have your children cut out pumpkins and spiders from construction paper. Hang orange and black crepe paper around the door and windows for a festive look. The most economical solution is to adorn your property with pumpkins and other gourds. They may cost $4 to $5 each but they can be utilized for other things down the road.
Candy – Costumes and decorations can put a dent in your budget, but Halloween candy may cause you to take a second mortgage on your home. With prices ranging from $4 to $20 a bag, you need to take an educated guess at how many you’ll need to satisfy the trick-or-treaters who knock on your door. What you pay depends on the type of candy you get. The good candy brands — Hershey’s, Nestle’s, Mars — can cost quite a bit for a small amount of candy. Sweets from companies like Tootsie Roll and Smarties cost less for larger volumes but are not the main choice of most candy gatherers. Best to budget for a combination of each type of candy to keep the little costumed ones satisfied and avoid having toilet paper strewn across your property.