Day 16 of the Spending Freeze Challenge – The Halloween Spending Trap

My apologies for the late in the day post! If you’ve been following along on this month-long journey, you know I’ve never written this late in the day! Better late than never!

It’s October 16th and just two weeks shy of that October holiday that drains us of all love of candy corn and things orange. Happy Halloween! If you’ve allowed for Halloween spending in your freeze guidelines, then you have nothing to worry about. Even if you did budget for this holiday, you might still be considering how to handle the wallet-suck that is October 31st. Costumes for multiple children, pumpkins and 37 pounds of candy to pass out at trick-or-treating can break the bank each year. We’ve never followed a consistent pattern of Halloween spending – some years the kids have had amazing costumes, thanks in part to grandma helping out, and others we’ve scoured the thrift store for outfits. We’ve passed out candy and skipped it in lieu of taking the kids to grandma’s house instead. So, here’s my hodge-podge set of ideas to help you curb your Halloween spending:

  • Rather than take the kids to Target or Wal-Mart to pick out a costume, have them brainstorm at home. When my son decided he wanted to be a cowboy last year, we knew we were looking for pieces and parts of his costume and not paying $35 for a pre-fab deal at the store. We used a white dress shirt he already owned, jeans and hunted down a hat, a vest and some Wild West accessories. Grand total cost of costume = $10. Win!

    Toughest cowboy in town!
    Toughest cowboy in town!
  • Reach out to family members and friends for help – your sister might be holding on to an old prom dress that could help turn your daughter in to a fairy princess. Your cousin the hunter might have some great camouflage gear to loan out. Or, better yet, someone has a costume that their child wore for an hour last Halloween and can pass on to your child this year. Set up your own Halloween swap!
  • New to the neighborhood? Check in with neighbors about how much candy they bought and handed out last year so you don’t over-buy and end up with a year’s supply of Twix in the cupboard.
  • Look in to free indoor events in your area during the weeks before Halloween. Many businesses, schools and even nursing homes, host Halloween events for families in the hopes of building community.

Finally, remember that this one night is just that – one night. I can recall an early Halloween with my children when I convinced myself that I could make the perfect costume for my son – from scratch, by hand. The pressure I put on myself to sew, to cut, to glue, to make everything perfect, was certainly not worth the outcome. Enjoy the night, even if you didn’t spend a fortune!

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