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.
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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 being the first of several big holiday season celebrations to budget for, we've put together some money-saving tips ahead of Oct. 31.

On Tuesday, we found cost-cutting ideas for costumes and candy, today we look at decorations and pumpkins.

Decorations

The consensus seems to be that to save money on decorations the best way is to do as much as you can yourself. We've picked out some interesting tips on how to decorate and where to buy supplies.

Head to dollar stores: These are among the cheapest places to pick up arts and crafts supplies as you plan and execute your homemade decorations, US News says.

Investopedia also suggests the "sale bins" at shops like Michaels and Hobby Lobby.

DIY decoration ideas:MoneyCrashers has a list of tips for home-made decorations, including how to make "creepy glowing eyes" for your garden using empty toilet paper rolls, and a bat cave using construction paper.

One of our favorite tips from the same page is swapping out lightbulbs around and outside the house with colored bulbs, which makes the atmosphere spooky without costing a whole bunch. Plus they can be used year after year.

Investopedia also suggests a "cheap pair of dishwashing gloves, rubbed in dirt, sprinkled with red paint and stuffed with newspaper" is a cheap alternative to dismembered hands that sell for $7-$22 on Amazon.

CountryLiving has a gallery of more than 40 easy DIY Halloween decorations, which includes making mummies out of gauze, turning wine bottles into magic potions, and making your hand soap "spooky."

But if you do buy from more expensive retailers: If you do want to get your Halloween decorations – or costumes for that matter – at a big-box retailer, the best time to actually do it is in the week or so after Halloween when goods will be heavily discounted.

Also, if you're going to buy expensive decorations, make sure the quality is there so you can use them for future Halloweens.

Make use of your fall decorations: Again, something to plan for next year, as US News advises you plan your fall decorations in such a way that a few minor changes can make them suitable not just for Halloween, but also Thanksgiving.

It advises having a long-term plan when shopping for next fall and select items that are capable of being "augmented and turned into Halloween, then pared down and turned into Thanksgiving.

Pumpkins

Carving Jack O'Lanterns? Well here are some tips on where to buy, and when to get carving.

Don't buy from a pumpkin patch: Yes, we know they're fun to visit and when you're there you can't help but buy a pumpkin – you're helping small, local business after all.

But if you're buying several pumpkins for display, then the cheapest way is to get the bulk of them from grocery stores, with Momtastic saying they can cost half as much as from a patch.

Reader's Digest also suggests farmers markets could be a good place to pick them.

The best time to buy them, Investopedia says, is just a few days before Halloween or even on Halloween itself, when prices are discounted more as the big day approaches.

Grow your own: Admittedly this is a long-term commitment, requires a bit of garden space, and for many will be completely impractical, but Reader's Digest suggests having your own pumpkin patch in future years is a way of saving a bit of money as well as being a fun project for your kids.

Don't carve them too soon: Uncarved pumpkins still serve as Halloween decorations in the run-up to Oct. 31, so hold off on carving them until a few days before or on the day itself. US News reminds us they are prone to rot if you carve them too early.

Prolong their life: If you do plan on carving early, MyScienceProject has some ideas on how to prolong the life of the pumpkins for as long as possible, with options including spraying it with a bleach solution.

Up next

On Thursday, GoMN will take a look at saving money when entertaining and going out for Halloween.

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