Skip to main content

Budget Halloween: Save scary money on parties and going out

GoMN takes a look at cheap ways to entertain on Halloween, and places to go out in Minnesota.
  • Author:
  • Updated:

Americans are expected to spend $8.4 billion celebrating Halloween.

This frightening statistic was revealed by the National Retail Foundation last month, after shoppers told the organization they expect to spend almost $83 on average for the holiday this year. But with Halloween just the first of the three big holiday season celebrations to budget for – not to mention the Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping in between – we've put together some money-saving tips ahead of Oct. 31.

On Tuesday we covered candy and costumes; Wednesday it was decorations and pumpkins; now we're looking at cheap ways to entertain, and places to go out for Halloween.


If you're planning on entertaining for Halloween, which you'll probably do a couple days early given Oct. 31 is a Monday (boo!), you'll probably need to decorate, cater and entertain your guests.


If you're feeding your guests then you'll probably want to provide some spooky twists on everyday snacks.

CountryLiving has a wide selection of ideas that won't break the bank, including "poison" candy apples, candy corn cookies, an impressive looking pumpkin mousse trifle and healthy(ish) gum and teeth snacks made with apples, peanut butter and marshmallows.

Food website Delish similarly has some good ideas for savory snacks, including wrapping a baked brie in pastry to create a "mummy" effect, as well as serving pork dumplings in a jar so they look like preserved brains.

For those on an extremely tight budget, the LivingOnADime blog revealed how to have a Halloween party on $25 by making use of things already around the house. For food, this included turning franks into octopi, and also wrapping them in pastry to create "monster toes."


Woman's Day has an extensive list of cheap party ideas for both adults and children, including making a spooky looking punch using lemon and lime selzter and lime sherbet.

If you're going alcoholic, raid your liquor cabinet and figure out recipes for what you've already got before rushing out to the liquor store.

Real Simple has 13 (of course) Halloween cocktail recipes which include "Black Velvet" (using stout and champagne, which to be honest, sounds like a waste of champagne), and using apple cider and spiced rum to make a "Caramel Apple Punch."

Esquire also points out that every Minnesotan's favorite brunch tipple, the Bloody Mary, is already macabre enough to make the cocktail list.


We covered Halloween decorations in Wednesday's guide so we suggest you give that a look for some cheap ideas.

SavvySassyMoms suggests picking a theme, colors and patterns before you start decorating to keep things consistent, and try and use as much decor already around the house as possible to keep costs low.

LivingOnADime says the same, with the author saying she used Christmas lights, colored sheets and tissue paper to create a cool effect.



The Balance has put together 43 party game ideas for adults, which range from the complex (a murder mystery evening, scavenger hunts) to the simple (Halloween jinx, hide and seek) to the physical (candy corn relay).

Reader's Digest goes a bit more traditional in its suggestions for kids parties, which includes "pass the pumpkin," "build a scarecrow" and the "mummy wrap." If all else fails, chuck a bunch of apples in a big bucket and have kids bob for them.

Ghost stories

I guess you're meant to come up with your own, but if you're struggling then here's a compendium of scary stores to tell courtesy of American Folklore.

And if you want to keep it short, here's a list of 20 chilling two-sentence ghost stories.

Movie night

For smaller parties, get your food and drink together and sit down to watch some scary movies. Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime have a wide selection of streamable horror movies.

It's the horror genre, so chances are many of them will be fairly terrible, but this writer suggests Oculus, The Babadook, It Follows, and The Conjuring for modern horror, and IT and Halloween among the classics.

CinemaBlend has a list of the 13 best horror movies currently on Netflix.

Going out

Rather than spending money staying in, why not save on the hassle and money by going out to celebrate.

There are scores of events going on in the Twin Cities and Greater Minnesota for Halloween – both for adults and kids.

The Pioneer Press has this extensive guide to Halloween and fall-themed events happening in the Twin Cities over the coming weeks, many of which are free or cost less than $10.

You can also find a list of events on the City of Minneapolis website.

Minnesota Haunted Houses has a long list of, wait for it, haunted house experiences across the state, which you can find here.

And how about visiting the "Halloween Capital of the World"? Yep, it's Anoka, Minnesota, which has a full schedule of events in and around All Hallows' Eve.

Next Up


Ferocious winds, possible tornadoes leave destruction in MN

Numerous reports of tornadoes and nearly 100 mph straight-line winds.


Canoe carrying 4 overturns near St. John's University

Of the four, only one was wearing a lifejacket when the boat capsized Wednesday.

pexels beer bar craft brewery

MN's craft alcohol makers back new push to loosen state's liquor laws

The pushback includes loosening restrictions on growler sales for bigger craft breweries and a more direct line of spirit sales to customers.

Screen Shot 2022-05-12 at 8.02.19 PM

Severe thunderstorm warnings in the Twin Cities

It's the second night in a row that severe storms are hitting the metro.


Twin Cities placed in tornado watch ahead of intense line of storms

Photo above is a view from Marshall as the line of storms moved through Thursday evening.

fire pixabay stock

1 dead, 1 escapes western Wisconsin house fire

The single-story home was fully engulfed in flames when first responders arrived early Wednesday morning.

Wind storms tree

Rare 'particularly dangerous situation' weather watch issued in SW MN

The warning covers an area of Minnesota, South Dakota, Iowa, and Nebraska.

fire, firefighter

Dad and 2 children killed in western Wisconsin house fire

A devastating house fire happened early Thursday morning.

Screen Shot 2020-08-14 at 6.45.53 PM

2 suspects involved in Brooklyn Park armed carjacking

The incident happened Wednesday night near a shopping center and Cub.

Alexander Odegaard

Man sentenced to more than 10 years in prison for child pornography

Alexander John Odegaard was sentenced in U.S. District Court Tuesday.

Screen Shot 2022-05-12 at 12.15.21 PM

Victim in I-90 crash was storm-chasing meteorologist from Mexico

Martha Llanos Rodriguez died in the wreck on I-90.


Budget Halloween: Tips to save scary money on candy and costumes

Americans will spend $8.4 billion on Halloween this year. GoMN has some tips to help you cut costs.

Budget Halloween: Ways to save on decorations and pumpkins

Americans will spend $8.4 billion on Halloween this year. GoMN found some tips to help you cut costs.

It's Halloween! Pumpkin carving trends, election masks and why everyone wants Eggo

To mark the spookiest of holidays, GoMN takes a look around the internet to find some interesting tidbits about Oct. 31.

It's Halloween! Pumpkin carving trends, election masks and why everyone wants Eggo

To mark the spookiest of holidays, GoMN takes a look around the internet to find some interesting tidbits about Oct. 31.

The Tip Jar: The best ways to save money at the Minnesota State Fair

Cheap tickets, discounts and food bargains to know before you go.

The Tip Jar: The best ways to save money at the Minnesota State Fair

Cheap tickets, discounts and food bargains to know before you go.

The Tip Jar: A beginner's guide to setting up and saving into an IRA

Want to get an IRA for retirement but the prospect is too daunting? Check out this guide.

The Tip Jar: Is staying with Airbnb a better deal than a hotel?

It certainly looks that way in the Twin Cities...