Ask the Readers: How Do You Have a Frugal Halloween?

By Ashley Jacobs on 22 October 2013 (Updated 29 October 2013) 40 comments

Editor's Note: Congratulations to Tabathia, Anna, and Diane for winning this week's contest!

BOO! Halloween is almost upon us, and creatures living and otherwise are scrambling to make sure they have a frightfully frugal fun time.

How do you have a frugal Halloween? What do you do to save on candy and costumes? Is there anything you don't mind splurging on?

Tell us how you have a frugal Halloween and we'll enter you in a drawing to win a $20 Amazon Gift Card!

Win 1 of 3 $20 Amazon Gift Cards

We're doing three giveaways — here's how you can win!

Mandatory Entry:

  • Post your answer in the comments below. One commenter will win a $20 Amazon Gift Card!

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Giveaway Rules:

  • Contest ends Monday, October 28th at 11:59 pm Pacific. Winners will be announced after October 28th on the original post. Winners will also be contacted via email.
  • You can enter all three drawings — once by leaving a comment, once by liking our Facebook update, and once by tweeting.
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Good Luck!

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Guest's picture

We always try to have a frugal Halloween. We have 3 kids, and we aren't afraid to use "hand me down" costumes.

Guest's picture
Tina in NJ

I wait to buy my candy until the last week. That way I don't eat it all up before the 31st. Also, we reuse decorations, adding a little each year. This year we retired our oldest cardboard pumpkin. The sun had bleached him yellow! Now that's a return on investment!

Guest's picture
Mary Happymommy

You can save a lot on kids' costumes if you shop at the consignment stores. The costumes have only been worn once so they're in great condition.

Guest's picture
Kate

I don't buy Halloween candy in advance at a rock bottom price because I will just eat it, and then have to buy more anyway :)

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Christie

Our favorite tradition used to be to get dressed up and go to the adult care facility. The residents loved seeing our kids and the kids loved passing out little cards that said "Thank you and Jesus loves you" to the residents. We even had some family members of the residents pull us aside and tell us that their mother or father still had our card from the year before on their bulletin board. It was pretty special. Now that they're older and we don't go trick or treating, we help out with a festival at church doing whatever they need. Since we live out in the country, we've never had trick or treaters come to our house, so we don't have to buy any candy.

Guest's picture
Peg Mooers

Hand made costumes and home made treats.

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Marla Conwell

We go to the Halloween stores after the holiday and stock up during the sales for use the following year. If you buy a bunch a different things there will always be a good selection at home in the costume box. The sales are often 60% - 70% off too!

Guest's picture
Elena

I save money on Halloween candies by using coupons and shopping at discount stores

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Emily

We use simple, homemade costumes. They are cooler anyway.

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Diane

Curious to see what others have to say on this... We buy candy on sale, because we tend to get a lot of trick-or-treaters and I like to have good candy. We decorate, saving our decorations from year to year and adding something new when I find a good sale. Costumes are not an issue, since my boys are grown. When they were young we sometimes purchased costumes, sometimes I sewed them myself, which didn't really save money!

Guest's picture

Following the KrazyCouponLady helps a lot in getting ideas for cheaper costumes and sales on candy!

Guest's picture
monique

I try to make things like costumes and decorations myself. And I don't feel that candies or other goodies have to be Halloween branded. Most importantly, I look for great deals on Halloween items on November 1 for next year!

Guest's picture
Ann E

We get creative and try make our own costumes with materials we have on hand around the house. Our daughter has plenty of hand-me-down dress up clothes and we just mix and match. If we need some sort of accessory to complete a costume, we borrow from our family and friends or do some fun searching at a thrift shop. One year, my husband dressed up as Frankenstein. He made his own headpiece out of a cereal box, black felt, and green acrylic paint. He wore an old torn up shirt, jeans, and black shoes. He painted his face green with my daughter's face paint kit and voila!

Guest's picture
NJGill

When my kids were little, I used to take them out trick-or-treating early, bring them home for their baths and bed, then use at least half of their haul to treat the late-comers. Not only was it a money-saver, it got rid of a bunch of the candy before they had a chance to eat it - one was hyperactive, and none of them needed the extra sugar.

Guest's picture
Gina

I celebrate one day later on Nov 1 when all the Halloween stuff has gone on sale.

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C.j.

I shop the thrift store for costume accessories and the dollar store for candy and bags

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Rebecca B. A. R.

I have made my own costumes before, and my mom used to make mine when I was little.

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DeeDee

We don't get any trick or treaters since we live back in the woods. When our kids were small they went to a few relatives that wanted to see them dressed up and it was always in the cheapy costumes that cost under 5 dollars.

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Jennifer Marie

We buy costumes at the end of season for 75-90% off for the next year.

Guest's picture
Monica

We have a frugal halloween by making costumes and decorations and by buying everything for next year on after halloween clearance sales. We love halloween so it's always in the budget, we just try to keep it a small budget.

Guest's picture
Betty

We always make homemade costumes. It starts out with being frugal in mind, but doesn't always work out. I get really into it, and it often costs more money than store bought.

Guest's picture
Rea Liz

I try to make my sons costumes with things that we already have around the house!

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Lynda

no kids = no need for halloween!

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Bethany

We live in the in-law's basement. They have the front door usage, so they pony up the loot for the treaters.

Guest's picture
KelR1

I use coupons when buying candy to hand out, and I make sure to get some that my husband and I both like so if we have any left it will get used up. We don't dress up, but we do spend on costumes for our dogs, and that's our only real splurge.

Guest's picture
Christina

We don't have kids so we don't usually buy costumes, if we need to dress up for anything we've been creative and kept the cost pretty low. As for candy and decorating, I only decorate for autumn using the same decorations from last year (or anything I see on clearance after the "fall season" is over), not Halloween specifically, so everything is still out for Thanksgiving when we also may have people over. We don't decorate with pumpkins or anything that gets thrown out. Candy is bought on sale with a coupon if possible, and either hidden out of view if I saw a great deal ahead of time, or purchased right before Halloween so as to not eat it ourselves!

Guest's picture
Marky

It is fairly easy to save a lot of money on halloween costumes, especially if you have a lot of kids! All you have to do is get your creative mind kick started and keep it going for an hour. Thanks for sharing this post!

Guest's picture
cwaltz

When the kids were younger we'd make our own costumes like I did when we were kids(gypsy, bum, ghost,angel, etc,etc). Now that my kids are older we forgo trick or treating. The kids get a horror flick for $10 or under and choice of a candy bag at the store. We buy a second bag for trick or treaters. We usually come in under $20 for Halloween.

Guest's picture
Liisa

By not celebrating it! ;) No kids, don't eat candy, living in a sketchy neighborhood = few trick or treaters.

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kristina

I buy halloween candy on sale, with coupons.

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Heather

I don't buy Halloween candy at all, as I am a single mom and go with my 10yr old daughter to trick or treat in my mom's or her friend's neighborhood, so no one is home. Plus, we live on a street with no sidewalks, so probably wouldn't get many trick-or-treaters anyway. We always re-use decorations every year, possibly buying a couple cheap ones each year, like the spider webbing that everyone hates untangling, LOL! My daughter's costume this year is an "80s" outfit - skirt purchased at Goodwill, and cheap t-shirt from Walmart with the shoulder cut out, and some ingenuity with makeup and hair.

Guest's picture
Laura J

We save on our candy by watching for good deals and using coupons! We try to watch for sales for the costumes too! I like to buy decorations after Halloween to use to decorate next year!

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MELISSA HANSSON

I only buy candy on sale with coupons and then I hide it to make sure we don't eat it all ourselves before the big day.

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Judy S

We buy candy when it is one sale.

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Kristine R.

I look for candy coupons and start buying candy a month in advance. I also sew my own costumes.

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Florida gal

I wait until the night before Halloween to "buy" my treats. Here is how we do it...We take the kids to "Fall Festivals' prior to the "BIG NIGHT". Just before Halloween, I have the kids empty all the candy & prizes they have collected onto the bed. Now the fun begins....I look at all the candy (to make sure its all safe) and start bidding on it. It's usually for stuff they don't normally want. The kids get a bag of pocket change, and keep only the sweets they LOVE. I put all that candy in a huge bowl and give it out for treat or treaters! Should I feel we won't have enough, I have time to buy more from the store. So far I have "bought" enough from my kids that i have leftovers. This ends up WAAAY cheaper for me as candy is off the chain this time of year and my lids end up with candy AND money.

Guest's picture

Our popular neighborhood attracts 600+ kids looking for treats. Candy gets very expensive.

Instead, we have a small party for our friends who live in rural areas where they don't get trick-or-treaters. I make a big pot of chili and a dessert and all my guests bring a large bag of candy to contribute.

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Karl

I shop at yard sales all year so when I see something that might make a costume I buy it. It goes in a Halloween storage bin. A few weeks before Halloween the kids look in there and find their own costumes. So fun and they can be super creative.

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Tabathia B

My younger kids can wear outgrown outfits and buy candy on sale and with coupons and set a price limit on candy

Guest's picture
Carmen

Fortunately we live in a rural area so we don't get many trick-or-treaters. We were able to find the exact costume my daughter wanted on sale this year (20% off). It's cheap, but she's already wanted to wear it several times so it'll get it's use.