How to Save Money During the Halloween Rush

Photo: Little House

With the Halloween season upon me, I realize that there is a great push to spend money. Even if I'm on a budget and saving money, that temptation to blow my budget isn't too far out of my reach. So, I've had to get creative with decorating and gift giving.

Being a teacher, I can usually throw together a craft project out of paper plates, construction paper, glue, and wiggly eyes. Using what I know from teaching, I incorporate these ideas into craft projects that always seem to keep kids occupied and enjoying themselves. It also provides great homemade holiday decorations with a little adult help.

Over the past few years, I've also gotten some very creative, inexpensive gifts from colleagues that have inspired my own gift ideas. There are usually colleagues I purchase gifts for in return, and I use some of these past ideas to keep me under budget. Below, I've detailed Halloween decorations, costumes, and gift ideas that are creative and economical.

Quick and Simple Costumes

When I was little, my mother would make my Halloween costumes. She was a superb seamstress, and my costumes were always much more beautiful than any store bought costume. Some years, if she ran out of time, we would gather things around the house and make a hobo or ghost costume out of old clothes or a sheet. As I've grown, I've taken these tips and expanded upon them. Here is a short list of ideas for homemade, quick and simple costumes:

The Easy Ghost Costume

Take an old sheet, cut out eye holes, spray paint glitter on the sheet or smoky gray hair spray for more detail. If you have an old bike chain hanging around in the garage, or on your bike, take it along with you to clank and bang

The Hobo Costume

Select some old clothing that you were thinking of donating to Good Will, rip some holes in the jeans and roll up the bottoms. Rub some gray charcoal on the pants and shirt. Layer old shirts and coats, giving you the rumpled look. Take an old hat, crumple it up, add some of that charcoal to your face and hands, and off you go.

Masks and Leotards

If you want to go a bit further, you can make masks out of paper plates. This is especially great for small kids. They can help decorate their masks. Cut out eye holes and use a large rubber band to attach to either side of the paper plate so that it will stay on. With a little construction paper, glue, and scissors, you can make just about any mask you like. Check out EnchantedLearning for more detailed information on paper plate masks, it's a great resource.

Every year for Halloween, my husband and I decorate our home simply with luminaries and some fake spider webs. We keep it simple. The biggest surprise at our house is my husband wearing his leafy-hunter suit laying in the yard with a very scary mask. He waits until the children have gotten their pencil or candy, then on their way out, jumps up and scares them. Luckily, I usually warn the little ones, or I say very loudly to my husband, "These are some very little kids, be nice!" He then waits until they are outside the gate before he pops up.

Decorating Ideas

If you want to go a little further with decorating, and have kids who love to make crafts, here are a few craft ideas you can make using some basic supplies:


Luminaries are easy to make and help light our path. Here is a simple way to make them:

Using brown or colored paper bags, the size of lunch bags, cut out a jack-o-lantern face using basic shapes such as triangles and rectangles. You can make a pattern first to trace on each bag before cutting them out. Then, place tea lights, real or battery operated, inside them along your path.


Using the small paper plates (6" if you can find them), paint one side of the plate black. Then, using black pipe cleaners, glue or staple 4 long pipe cleaners to the back of the plate, criss-crossing them to make a total of 8 legs poking out each side of the plate. (You can also use black construction paper cut in strips then folded to make accordion like legs.) Glue on 8 small wiggly eyes, or paint 8 small white or gray dots to make eyes. Cut out two red triangles for fangs out of construction paper. You can make a few of these to hang in your windows or on your porch.


Using white tissue paper, or actual tissues, lay out your tissue and put a few cotton balls in the center of the tissue. Gather up the rest of the edges and secure them with a twist tie or rubber band just under the balled up cotton balls. Then, using a black marker, draw two dots for eyes. Hang your ghosts throughout your yard or windows.


Have your child trace and cut their hand about 4 times using yellow, red, and orange construction paper. Then, draw a half circle on brown construction paper for the owl head. Draw two small circles for the owl's eyes and one triangle for the owl's beak. Take the hand cutouts and glue the tops of them to the back of the semi-circle head, so that the hand and fingers will be the owl's feathered body. Glue the eyes and beak on the front of the owl. Small children will need help tracing and cutting out their hands.

This guest post is by Little House.

No votes yet
Your rating: None

Disclaimer: The links and mentions on this site may be affiliate links. But they do not affect the actual opinions and recommendations of the authors.

Wise Bread is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to

Guest's picture

So far this has been the best article on Halloween savings on Wise Bread this year. The focused presentation is refreshing. Simple and to the point. I enjoy the practicality of each of the tips.

Guest's picture

I love the economical halloween ideas, but please don't encourage your children to dress up like homeless people for halloween (nor to call them "hobos"). People who are in extremely dire circumstances should not be fodder to halloween costumes.

Guest's picture

I'm Sorry, You're Right! Thank you for pointing this out, I should have caught that this was slightly insensitive.

-Little House

Guest's picture
Ghosts say Boo

Nothing wrong with the term hobo. My sister in law was a hobo for several years, and called herself such. She was a homeless train-hopping bum, and was proud of it. She's no longer homeless...but she still doesn't bathe nearly enough.

Guest's picture

@Great Tips-Thanks for the positive comment on my article. I hope you can use some of these tips as well!

Little House

Guest's picture

No offense, but your owl looked like a jelly fish at first glance to me.
Love the blog though

Guest's picture

That's funny, my husband said the same thing. However, when small children with small hands make one of these owls, it looks more like an owl. I had my class create these and they came out really cute!

thanks for the comment-
Little House