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:
Original:

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.

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

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

covid-19 testing site sign

Here are the 4 free COVID-19 testing sites in MN for the week of Nov. 2

People don't need to have symptoms or insurance to get tested for free.

Apple Valley High School

ISD 196 moves to full distance learning for grades 6-12

The decision was announced as infection rates in Dakota County rise.

minnesota zoo

Minnesota Zoo launches activities to get people embracing nature

The zoo is hosting a pumpkin scavenger hunt and a "Do the Zoo, Not Zoom Day."

teacher, coronavirus, covid-19, school, classroom

25 counties have COVID-19 infection rates associated with distance learning

County-level data is no longer the only source districts have to rely on to make informed decisions about which learning model to use.

Jason Lewis and Tina Smith

Election 2020 preview: Minnesota's Senate race

Incumbent Tina Smith will take on former Congressman Jason Lewis.

President Donald Trump

President Trump railing against capacity limits for Friday's Rochester rally

A contract with the city limits capacity to 250 people, but Trump says they were expecting 25,000.

st. paul shooting - oct. 30

Man injured as his gun goes off during pat-down search from St. Paul police

The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension is investigating the incident.

ballot voting vote

Appeals court changes rules for MN absentee ballots received after Election Day

Pending a further challenge, votes received after 8 p.m. on Election Day may not be counted.

Donald Trump

Confusion over where Trump campaign rally will be held Friday

It sounds like it'll be held at the airport in Rochester.

Screen Shot 2020-10-29 at 3.19.05 PM

This video of the Lowry Hill Tunnel walls being cleaned is oddly satisfying

The tunnel will be closed overnight Thursday for cleaning.

Related

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.

6 ways to save money on your Christmas decorating

It's the time of year when everyone is decking their halls.