Scare more and spend less money in the budget this Halloween


Would You Pay $40.00 For A Can Of Soup?


Is there really any other holiday that is more fun than Halloween?

It’s one day every year when we get into the spirit of Halloween and dress up in scary, outrageous and hilarious costumes, purposely try to scare people and eat lots of candy and chocolate.

Could it get any better? 

It’s that one day a year where adults get to unleash their inner child and bring their wild fantasies to life by becoming someone they want to impersonate.

If you are in a relationship you might consider a couples Halloween costume which have on more than one occasion made us all laugh.

When all the werewolves and superheroes rest for the night we pack up all the decorations and costumes and wait to do it all again next year.

Buying costumes, candy and decorating your home can get expensive quick but with some planning and do-it-yourself ambition you can save yourself a lot of money in your budget from year to year.


Budget your holidays


One great way to save for the holidays like Halloween is to save money every month in your budget as a projected expense as outlined in the Canadian Budget Binder Budget Spreadsheet.

The idea being that if you know you will need approximately $100 for Halloween candy and costumes come October that means you have from November-to-October the following year to save up enough money to make the purchases for Halloween in cash.

This helps offset paying on credit card or not having the money at all to fund Halloween and helps you enjoy the season rather than worry about it.

So you have 12 months to save until the month of October which means if you need $100/12 months= $8.33 you would need to set aside each month in your projected expenses bank account so the money is waiting to be used up come October.

It makes sense to prepare in advance and I agree that this is a much easier way to save rather than getting stressed out last minute.




The costs of some Halloween costumes are outrageously expensive and that’s because with anything geared to a holiday or special occasion you know retailers will price products accordingly as days like Halloween, Easter, Christmas etc. typically only comes once per year.

I don’t know about you but I would have a hard time paying $25.00 to be a pancake or $40.00 for a can of soup (See picture below).

Sure some of these costumes are fun and good for a laugh but one thing I have learned since budgeting is the price of food, I wouldn’t be able to sleep if I spent $40.00 on a can of soup!





Another way to get more bang for your buck would be to offer to swap costumes with your friends and family who have children or even adult costumes from the year before. This way you get to wear a new-to-you costume for a fraction of the cost.

After the initial purchase or if you design your own costume to wear it often sits around collecting dust as not many people like to wear the same costume 2 years in a row. You can opt to donate your used costume or work out a deal to swap or trade online using local forums in your community.


Make your costume


If you are handy with the sewing machine or a needle and thread you can easily design and create your own costume using pieces of clothing you find whether vintage or not. You can pick clothing that can be adapted for various costumes and used year after year.

Finish up your costume by picking up new accessories from the dollar store and before you know it your costume creation will be brought to life.

A pair of black pants and a black top could be used for a witch’s costume (I priced all accessories for a witch at the Dollar Store for $5.00), a cat, devil, or even Batman.

Most accessories can be purchased without having to buy a full head to toe costume, at a fraction of the cost.


Discount stores


One of the most popular ways to get a frugal priced Halloween costume is to shop at your local thrift stores but try to avoid the sections where they sell the brand new costumes.

The large chains of thrift stores often advertise their large selection of Halloween costumes but I find that they are not at always such a great deal. I believe prices at some thrift stores are getting outrageous because they see that more people are using them and the prices have gone through the roof lately.

Look for a rack of second-hand costumes instead or browse through the rows of clothing and look for individual items to make your own costume.

There is always a way to mix and match items to come up with a scary costume or something sexy and sultry depending on what type of Halloween function you are attending or what you want to unleash for the night.

Watch your prices and seek out alternatives if you feel you are paying too much for a used costume or new costume at a discount store.


End of Season


As with other seasonal items such as Christmas, stores tend to heavily discount items once the occasion is all finished. If your willing to pay up front for next year and save a substantial amount of money buying costumes and decorations after the fact can be worth it.


Halloween candy




When you buy candy to give to kids that head out into the darkness of the night to go Trick-or-Treating door to door and/or send candy to school with kids to share with their classmates, you may end up needing a lot of candy.

One cost saving advantage for me is where we live no one knocks on our door but with an average class size in my son’s school being 30 students, and some neighborhoods in town can have 100 to 200 kids ringing their doorbell that becomes a lot of treat bags to fill.


Buy in bulk


Load up on super-size boxes of candy or ask a friend or two if they would like to share the cost of buying in bulk from a place like Costco or even the Superstore or Zehrs. The idea around this is that you get a larger quantity for a cheaper price and split the cost.

Some families also team up if they are neighbours and give out candy and decorate one house each year and flip to the next house the following year.

This way the adults get to hang out with other adults to enjoy some scary Halloween beverages, have a laugh, dress up and hand out candy rather than sitting alone at their house waiting for kids to come knocking.

Another great idea is to turn it into an outdoor Halloween party for the adults while the kids are out getting candy with their friends.

You can have a mini potluck where the adults bring scary Halloween recipes they created and play Halloween games and scary music.

If you haven’t seen Mr.CBB’s Scary Witch Fingers you must have a look. The cookies are easy to make and perfect Halloween party food that everyone will love along with swamp dips and creepy eye ball punch.

Don’t go overboard giving out candy. Kids do not need 3 or 4 mini chocolate bars at every house on average 1 or 2 treats is more than enough per child. Not that I would complain as I love chocolate bars and have no problem enjoying a few and only a few (I swear) of the kids chocolate bars.

I’m watching out for my kids, regulating their sugar intake or so I tell myself. I love chocolate.

When we went trick-or-treating as kids if we were given more than one chocolate bar it was usually followed by the direction to give it to our dad waiting at the end of their driveway.

Lucky guy had his share before we even had a chance to dip into ours although most parents can openly admit to sneaking candies and chocolates from their kids Halloween candy stash.




Halloween decorations

Don’t throw out your Halloween decorations each year especially if you can reuse decorations from year to year.

Halloween is a time to express your creative side, see what you can do by changing your set up and only having to add  1 or 2 things each year if needed to achieve your desired spooky decor. For Halloween enthusiasts I’m sure the thought of this may be hard!

Again use the internet and look for some do-it-yourself ideas or head to your local library to read through books or magazines to get the creative juices flowing.

There are lots of homemade decoration ideas from decorating plastic drinking cups and mason jars to making cheesecloth ghosts if you are on Pinterest where the ideas are endless.

Pinterest is another great source for everything DIY including how to make Halloween decorations.

Some cities you might find set up a Halloween superstore or Halloween express store in the parking lot for a major mall or empty shop that they can fill with discount accessories and costumes so keep an eye open for these seasonal stores in your area.


Shop the dollar store


We talk about the dollar store on CBB quite a bit and that is because you can find just everything at the dollar store these days although you have to pick and choose keeping quality in mind. Not everything is made to last but you might find some Halloween costume ideas for kids and other items in the dollar store which are identical to what you would purchase at a retail store.

Mr.CBB said he picked up a Halloween decoration at the dollar store yesterday for $2.00 only to find the almost identical item at Shoppers Drug Mart the next day for $7.99.

Many dollar stores devote an entire aisle to Halloween, making for a rather large selection of decorations and items for DIY projects so don’t pass up the savings if you think you might find what you are looking for.

Decorating to the extreme is something Halloween enthusiasts will always do, but if you want to decorate and simply can’t afford it or desire the big displays get the family together and make your own Halloween, keep the costs down while maximizing the fun since half the fun of Halloween is just getting ready for it!

Halloween is supposed to be fun not straining on your budget. Planning ahead and exploring your creative side can save you a pile of money.

How do you keep down the cost of Halloween?

Remember not to forget your reflectors to ensure you and your children can be seen and safe while out trick or treating.

Have a safe and Happy Halloween!!


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  1. I can’t “dress up” for work so I pulled a black and orange ensemble together from the work appropriate garments in my closet. That’ll have to do.

    We’re in an apartment building now, so no trick or treaters, and the grandkids are all getting to old for making the rounds so we don’t fuss about it much any more. We used to, though. I’d decorate big , we’d deliver homemade cupcakes decorated with marshmallow skulls to the grandkids’ classrooms, my fella would wear a costume, and we’d hand out treats. We always did it on a budget though.

    Our decorations were homemade, as was my fella’s costume; cobbled together from stuff we had on hand.

    Our treats were most often not candy. (Those dinky little chocolate bars have always seemed cheesy to me.) For several years we gave out bags of microwave popcorn. We bought it by the case and the kids were really excited to get it. One year we handed out little Halloween colouring books I’d bought for $0.25/each the year before, together with small boxes of crayons also purchased by the case.. They were well received too. Even tins of soda (bought in flats) are less expensive than full sized candy bars.

    I think it’s very silly what folks spend on Halloween these days. It’s one day, and not really an important one, at that. Surely not worth blowing the budget over.

  2. I buy the girls costumes at Once upon a child (a second hand store for kids) at a fraction of the price for a new one. Then I sell their old ones on a facebook group. Ive done this the last 2 years, and ended up almost even.
    We are also very fortunate that we live in the country, so we do not have kids coming to our door, but we will take the girls for a walk in our old neighborhood as our old neighbors would love to see them dressed up and that way they still get some candy (when we lived there we got 100+ kids at the door every year).
    And I buy the pumpkin last minutes as well – last year we got it for free from sobeys!!!! and the girls honestly dont care if we do it a week before or the day off.

    1. Once Upon A Child really is a great store, some things are a little expensive for second hand but if you have the time to look through the racks you can find some great deals.

  3. Hello there!

    This is such a great post. Thank you very much for sharing this. Anyways, I agree with you. Another way to get more bang for your buck would be to offer to swap costumes with your friends and family who have children or even adult costumes from the year before.


  4. Great article Katrina!, when my kids were small I made the costumes. I had a pattern for a jogging suit with the top and pants, plus I had a Halloween costume pattern that were combined. I used fuzzy fabric, (anyone remember blanket fleece??) and went one size up from what they were wearing at the time to allow room for a coat or heavy sweater underneath which took up a bit of the extra room. The Halloween pattern gave me helmets and mitts to go with the rest of it. The kids wore these as Jammie’s after Halloween. The fuzzy fabric made for a warm pair of pyjamas that lasted a year or two!! My kids loved it!!!!! I kept all those outfits and a couple of years ago my daughter took them, picked out a couple for the grandson and the rest went to work with her at the daycare and it’s dress up bin. The kids have fun and everything is washable just in case they get dirty or what ever can happen there.

  5. People know that will spend money at Christmas and Valentine’s Day but I think they tend to underestimate how much Halloween costs. Between candy and costumes, it adds up pretty quickly! I definitely wouldn’t pay $40 to be a can of soup either 🙂 But I do love dressing up and helping my girls dress-up too.

  6. We don’t do a lot for Halloween as we live in the country and so people don’t go door-to-door. Basically, I let the kids each pick out a bag of candy of their choice (something we usually don’t have in the house), and we watch a movie and eat junk. Doesn’t cost a lot, and it’s fun. 🙂

    1. Sounds like a great time Laurie and budget friendly! We only get the neighbour kids where we are and that’s a total of 4 kids. The kids go into town and trick or treat with their dad.

    1. I don’t get dressed up myself these days. I get the fun of picking out costumes and getting them ready but their dad likes to take them trick or treating, I enjoy a coffee while they go!

  7. Since the dollar store just opened up a block away I’m looking forward to what kind of candy I can pass out since I get a lot of kids in my neighborhood. Of course it’s not always the BEST candy but I’m sure they will live. 🙂 My budget this year is $5. I do love dressing up, but if I don’t have any parties I’ll probably skip that part of it this year. If I do go out, I’ll just find something I already have.

    1. You can get some neat looking candy from the dollar store, like you said not always the best tasting but still cool! Have fun having a dollar store close to home!

  8. Well I wait til last minute for my pumpkins as thats when they sell them at their cheapest so that I can carve them. I also make skeltons out of milk jugs which is cool as the kids get to add their feet and hands. I also mix candy and the halloween treats together so as you said its not all candy! I did one year make candy apples and monster hands from popcorn and clear gloves which was great! Last year we bough a couple of outfits for $2 for this year. We bought a spacesuit for my eldest from Big Lots (liquidation world) for $10 a third of the price at the superstore. You just have to know when to look and buy your gear for next year!

    1. I’d love to see what your milk jug skeletons look like, they sound cool! I remember making the monster hands in school. You have found some awesome deals Nicola!

  9. Wow, I couldn’t imagine going out as a pancake. 😉 We do many of these things – mainly budgeting. But, we’ll also go to discount stores or second hand stores and always buy the day after to score some really good deals.

    1. I don’t think I could be a pancake either! Shopping the day after is not a good idea for me with all the discount candy!! But certainly a great time for some awesome deals.

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