Slashing the cost of Halloween

posted by in Saving money

It's easy to have some spooky fun on the cheap!

It’s easy to have some spooky fun on the cheap!

Halloween is my favourite time of year. Trick or treating, bobbing for apples, ghost stories and all those sweets! What’s not to love?

People often shy away from celebrating this great tradition because it falls so close to Christmas. If you’re dealing with debt problems or just trying to tighten up your budget, you can still have yourself a ghoulishly good time.

Check out these handy tips that’ll help you put the ‘boo’ back in your ‘boo’-dget (sorry…).

Get crafty with the decorations

Whether you’re throwing a party or simply want a spooky nook somewhere in your house, there’s plenty of ways you can deck the place up for little money:

  • Put candles around the place for a creepy look: Tea lights can be bought in bulk very cheaply. You can even take jam jars, paint them orange, green or white and draw a scary face that’ll glow with the candle inside.

  • Carve pumpkins into spooky faces: Buying them from the local market will save money. Here’s a great tutorial video on pumpkin carving by Learn How to Make Bows:

  • Be a ghostly host: A few old sheets are a quick way to make a house feel haunted. Cover your sofa up to make it look like the house is abandoned. Cover your dining chairs and cut out the eyes so they look like ghosts!

  • Create some creepy specimen jars: Ever seen those cheesy old horror movies with the mad scientist and his jars of floating creepy crawlies? You can take any old junk like a doll head, a plastic bug or a toy bat and make it into a spooky specimen!  Take an old (and clean)  jar, fill it with water along with your chosen doo-dad, add a few drops of food dye and screw the top back on. Your uptight aunt Polly will never grace you with her presence again. Job’s a good’un!

  • Spooky spider webs: If you’ve got some black string available, use it to create creepy cobwebs on your walls. Whether you cover your walls in them or just have a single web in the corner, it’s a quick and easy Halloween touch.
Zombie James has come for your braaaaaaains!

Zombie James has come for your braaaaaaains!

Halloween costumes on the cheap

Whether you want to go grand with an elaborate costume or play it simple, there’s loads of cheap ways you can put together your eerie ensemble.

  • Hit the charity shops: ah, the good ol’ charity shop never fails to surprise. From dodgy 80s dresses to vintage cast-offs, you can find an array of outfits to choose from. Let your imagination run wild!

  • Get bidding on eBay: It’s round about this time of year that you can find some great and cheap accessories for your costume on eBay. Why not check out Gumtree and Etsy too?

  • Swap with a friend: Stuck on ideas? Get your mates together and tell them to bring all their costume odds and ends. Dump them in a big pile and between you you can come up with some outrageous outfits.

  • Extra inspiration: Still not feeling it? We’ve got a list of cheap DIY Halloween costumes to get you inspired.

Fiendishly thrifty games

  • Play a live version of Cluedo: It’s the quintessential murder mystery for your Halloween party. What better excuse to wear that red gown or dress up as a cook than to take on the roles of Miss Scarlet or Mrs White? Check out this step-by-step guide on eHow.

  • Bobbing for apples: This one’s super cheap! All you need to do is fill your bathtub 2/3rds full with water, add red or green food dye, take a cheap bag of apples and dunk them in! To raise the stakes, push coins into the apples for players to keep, or drop some tennis balls in there for a naughty trick.

  • A spot of spooky bingo: Hosting a kids party? Why not play some scary bingo? These free Halloween bingo cards are dotted with ghouls, bats and cats. Simply download and print a copy for everyone that’s attending the party. Prizes can be sweets!

  • Sleeping monsters: Halloween party starting to give you a bit of a headache? Seems like the ideal time to play sleeping monsters, vampires, ghosts, or whatever else suits your fancy! We all know how this one goes, everyone lies on the floor and when someone moves, they’re out! Probably more suited for a children’s party but each to their own…

Freakishly good food

  • Jelly jeepers creepers: You can buy jelly mix for super-cheap in your local supermarket. Make up a batch and add some wriggly jelly worms for added gross factor!

  • Pumpkin pie til’ you die: If there’s a second pumpkin going cheap at the market, pick it up and make pumpkin pie, a delicious seasonal dessert that’s really popular stateside for Halloween and Thanksgiving. Here’s an easy peasy way to make pumpkin pie on the cheap.

  • Putrid popcorn: Whether you like your popcorn sweet or salty, pour it into a bowl and sprinkle some red or green food dye over the top to look like mould or blood!

  • Monster toes: At Halloween, only the most repulsive of foods will do. That’s why these monster toes are the ideal snacks for your party. All you need is sausages, tortilla wraps, ketchup and toothpicks.

If you’re battling some debt demons this Halloween, there’s no need to feel weak at the knees. Debt Remedy is an online advice tool that could put you on the path to debt freedom in just 20 minutes (garlic and silver bullets not included).

Do you have any thrifty Halloween tips to share? Tell us about it in the comments below or on Twitter or Facebook.

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Nicola came to Leeds in 2007 to study Counselling & Therapeutic Studies. She has worked at StepChange Debt Charity since the start of 2013 and loves making a genuine difference to people lives. In her spare time Nicola reads, writes and fundraises for independent charities. Her favourite book is Wuthering Heights.

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