6 Great Ideas on How To Save Money This Halloween
Nights are growing longer; days are getting cooler; cinnamon brooms spice up the aisles next to pumpkins and squash at the local market; and, most telling of all, the Pumpkin Spice Latte is back in stock at the local Starbucks. Yes, Halloween 2018 is definitely approaching fast.
So, how will you celebrate this year? A kid-friendly Halloween party full of hayrides and high energy? A gathering of friends for a high stakes pumpkin-carving contest? Hosting Sunday football in the a.m., and pre-trick-or-treating chaos in the p.m.?
However you choose to celebrate Halloween party more personally by bringing handmade back into the mix. It’s tempting to grab that value bag of candy on your way to the store checkout, or indulge in an easy mass-produced costume, but honoring handmade or purchasing a recycled or secondhand good can not only save some money, but it can also be rewarding to indulge your creative side. You don’t have to be a full-time crafter to make your own decorations, or an active baker to create delicious Halloween party treats. You just have to be willing to bring handmade back to Halloween! These are six great suggestions for getting party-ready, eco-friendly, and creatively costumed.
My affinity for garage sales has something to do with the nature of discovery and the ancient adage, “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” Yard sales, garage sales, estate sales, moving sales- all can be the perfect place to pick up Halloween party decorations, outgrown clothes, costumes and accessories in great condition, or old cookbooks chock full of recipes for homemade treats perfect to serve at your Halloween party or gathering.
Prices are negotiable and low to begin with; items are often in good condition and are being sold out of necessity. Moving sales are an especially wonderful place to look for decorations. This alternative to store-bought gives you a fun way to spend a Saturday afternoon, effectively helps the environment by giving a second life to items that might otherwise end up in landfills, and challenges you to search for great finds.
Do you want to be Lady Gaga at your Halloween party this year? Look for a pair of wildly high boots, loud pieces, old costume wigs (you can clean them at home), sunglasses, or anything extreme or unusual. Can’t find all the pieces you need? That leads us to the next tip…
One fun way to create a costume is to put together pieces from a secondhand store. The variety and quality of items found in thrift stores, vintage stores, and donation centers like Goodwill and Salvation Army are diverse and always changing, so you have a real shot of coming across something you can use.
When it comes to a Halloween party costume, it’s a great way to purchase unconventional items without wasting money on a whole mass-produced ensemble. Need a crazy jacket or princess dress? Look early and often, and these stores can produce gems.
My boyfriend went as an 80’s tennis player last year in a thrift-produced outfit - we only cheated on the wig. The real trick to shopping these stores is interaction with the store clerks. It sounds simple, but one of my favorite thrift stores here in Tampa has an amazing “Employee Picks” rack that gets passed over time and again as people wander the store aimlessly. Talking to an employee about the type of costume you are trying to create can lead to a great result. You could easily find pieces for a roller derby girl, secretary, cowgirl, beauty queen, celebrity, or athlete, to name a few.
As a feel-good bonus, if you aren’t planning to use the costume again, you can donate the items to a charitable center of your choice after your Halloween party, promoting reduce-reuse-recycle once again.
Growing up, most of my friends and I thought that a costume made by our parents was the kiss of death. But lately, with the decline in the economy and general state of hipstery thriftiness, and vintage in the air, bringing handmade back to the mix is a fresh way to save money.
Intimidated by the thought of hand-sewing a costume? I know I am! But you can always search through crafts websites for a handmade costume to order, or ask friends with sewing prowess to customize one for you. In exchange, you can bake treats or make decorations for them.
Another option is to fish out a previously worn costume and go as “Dead X.” Whatever you were the year before, slap on some white face powder, fake blood, and call it a day
Create spooky goodies instead of buying them. Now, I know we won’t give trick-or-treaters homemade goods, but for a Halloween party, homemade beats out plastic-wrapped any day! It might sound tedious for the busy mom or full-time employee (and especially both!), but if you involve your children, spouse, or a few close friends, an afternoon or evening baking and decorating can be a fun and fulfilling way to put a personal touch on your Halloween party. Plus, you can control what goes in them and create healthy options, if you so desire (maybe low-sugar treats for the kiddies?!).
Don’t pick out complicated recipes that require extreme culinary prowess - flip through magazines in the checkout line or search the Internet for a few that allow everyone to participate: basics such as cookies, brittle, or candy. Make your own icing with food coloring, so you can customize colors. Bake fancy bread or use the fillings from your carved pumpkins to make toasted pumpkin seeds or pumpkin pie (I would buy a frozen crust, though. I’m not a martyr). One of the easy treats I love is called “Pumpkin Rice Krispie” recipe from cincyshopper.com
I’m sure that you’ve noticed the theme of eco-friendly or sustainable ideas for this year’s Halloween party.
One way to be very “green” (and an easy way to save some green!), is to create your own decorations. I’ll admit, this one is intimidating, but if you mix secondhand finds, one or two mainstream “cheats,” and handmade, you will have a unique and cost-effective decoration stockpile.
An instantly easy DIY project is repainting or restoring anything you find secondhand- don’t let a chipped paint job or plain frame deter you, just slap on a fresh coat of primer and Bedazzle away in orange and black.
You can also create a banner, such as the one shown below. A search engine can easily point you to step-by-step processes for creating fabulous banners and signs using fabric, stencils, paint, and patience.
Pumpkins, autumn vegetables, and natural wheat grass make wonderful organic décor.
If your Halloween party will be host to children, you can make a wonderful keepsake memento with a footprint ghost like the one pictured below.
Nothing offers quite such an endearing and personal touch as receiving a hand-written card in good, old-fashioned “snail-mail” format. Truthfully, this last suggestion neither saves much money or is particularly eco-friendly, but I am largely sentimental, so the tradition of sending holiday cards to a small group of people is one that I hold near and dear. Use them to invite a few close friends or family to your Halloween party, or just to wish select loved ones a Spooktacular Halloween. Beautiful handmade cards might also be framed and incorporated as a Halloween decoration for the following year. And don’t worry: if you don’t have time, the supplies, or the artistic prowess to make beautiful handmade cards (such as yours truly), there are two beautiful options available right here on iCraft.
Humane Society Pumpkin Patch, Justine Benstead
Garage Sale Signs, Roseway.org
Tennis Player Halloween Party Costume, Justine Benstead
Halloween Party Cupcakes from Bluebird Photography; Used with Permission
Halloween Party Fright Krispie Treats, Justine Benstead
Halloween Party banner and “Ghost Feet” from Bluebird Photography; Used with permission
Happy Halloween Crossstich from iCraft shop Ladybug Designs
Halloween cards from iCraft shop Spotted Paw Creations