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.
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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.

Parties

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.

Food

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

 Credit: Delish.com

Credit: Delish.com

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."

Drinks

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.

Decorations

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.

Entertainment

Games

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

 One of the spooky garden displays in 'Halloween capital' Anoka last year. (Photo: Anoka Halloween, Facebook)

One of the spooky garden displays in 'Halloween capital' Anoka last year. (Photo: Anoka Halloween, Facebook)

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.

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