Halloween promises tons of ghoulish fun for people of all ages, but with the holiday suffering from increasing commercialism, it can be more of a “trick” than a “treat” to come up with inexpensive ways to get in on the festivities. With a little effort you can make the next Halloween memorable not only for your kids, but also for you!
Get creative with treats in the kitchen.
Spend some time with your kids making cookies, mummy dogs (hot dogs wrapped in crescent rolls), bloodshot eyes (deviled eggs with food coloring) and more. It’s a great opportunity for you to go over basic math as you measure, and you can work in talk about money by letting them create the grocery list for the goodies, figure out unit pricing and calculate savings from coupons.
Take some fall pictures.
Memories of a good holiday can last a lifetime, and photos are an easy way to help you and your kids remember what you did on Halloween. Grab your digital camera (you can always borrow one from a friend if you don’t own one) and snap some shots of your kids carving pumpkins, making Halloween foods, putting on their costumes, enjoying a hayride or just being silly in some leaves. Create a photo mix or slideshow on your computer or print a few photos out so your kids can use good old glue and other craft items for a traditional collage approach.
Check your community calendar.
Almost every community hosts at least one area to trick-or-treat safely, such as at a community center or fire house. Local farms sometimes host hayrides and other events such as haunted hay mazes and pumpkin carving contests. Churches often put their own spin on these activities. These are usually free or have an admission fee of just a few dollars per child.
Indulge your sweet tooth in bulk.
All through October, retailers sell loads upon loads of Halloween candy, and some people get enticed by the sales offered. Although some good deals are out there (especially when you factor in manufacturer’s coupons), you might be able to stock up for less at your local bulk food store. Have your kids figure out how much you saved based on competitors’ prices and figure out unit or per piece costs on whatever you purchase, and make a game out of challenging your kids to mix and match options to get the most ounces (weight) of candy for the cheapest price.
Check for used costumes.
What would Halloween be without a good costume? Still, costumes these days aren’t always cheap. Most people wear their costumes just once, so check with your neighbors or community thrift stores to see if you can get something for a less exorbitant price. If you do shop for something new, have your kids comparison shop between shores and look online to find the cheapest version of the costumes they want. Teach your child to resist the impulse to buy their costume as soon as the stores are stocked—retailers typically take as much as 50 to 75 percent off costumes in the week immediately before Halloween.
Host a party.
Trick-or-treating is awesome, but eventually your ghosts and goblins have to come back home. They’ll be wired with excitement from their venture out, so refocus their attention with a party. Your first option is a pumpkin carving party. Have everyone bring their own pumpkin. Your kids will have something constructive to do with carving and won’t be running around too much. Then have everybody count their candy loot as you roast the pumpkin seeds. If you don’t want the mess of the pumpkins, pop in a “scary” movie and crack out your Halloween-themed foods—a piece or two of the kids’ Halloween loot can be a desert. You can get decorations like cobwebs and spiders for just a few bucks at most stores.