How to Save On Halloween Costumes, Candy and Fun

Halloween is now reported to be the 2nd most expensive holiday of the year! Even though we don’t exchange expensive gifts on Halloween, it is easy to rack up big bills on costumes and candy. The good news is that there are many easy ways to save money on Halloween expenses without compromising on the fun.


Be creative. It can cost $35 to $50 for many popular children’s costumes at party stores, which adds up quickly if you have more than one child. With a little creativity, you and your children can make easy costumes with items you have around the house. You can also shop at a local thrift store to buy vintage clothing to use as costumes.

Research ideas on-line. My favorite costume idea resource is, which lists 100 easy and inexpensive costumes you can create at home — whether you have a few hours or only a few minutes to put an outfit together.

Don’t overbuy. If you live in a neighborhood, you will most likely be buying candy to give out on Halloween night. The challenge is to avoid overbuying — who wants bags of leftover candy when the kids come home with far more than they need?  If you are nervous your stash won’t last, consider buying Hershey’s Kisses or similar chocolate candy that you can use later for holiday baking.

Look for coupons. You can also save money on candy and costumes by watching for store sales and coupons in the Sunday coupon circulars or in your mailbox. Find coupons in the Sunday newspaper ads throughout October.

Carve a pumpkin. The easiest decoration that is also fun for kids is carving a pumpkin together. For just a few dollars, you can create a memorable annual tradition with your child and decorate your front porch or window at the same time. Save the seeds and find a recipe for roasted pumpkin seeds, as well.

Get crafty. You can find plenty of inexpensive Halloween decorating projects from books in the library, local family magazines distributed free at libraries and schools.  Easier projects include making ghosts to hang in the window made out of string, glue and waxed paper. Doing a project with your children will be much less expensive and far more memorable than shelling out $100 for decorations at the local party store.

Save on admission. This is the time of year for pumpkin festivals, Halloween fairs, hayrides, haunted house tours and more. Many schools and churches offer free festivals and fairs as family-friendly alternatives on Halloween.Prices for these family events vary widely, from free to as much as $20 a head. Check the local event websites or the calendar section in community newspapers and magazines to find inexpensive events.  Be on the lookout for admission coupons in your local paper and check the web sites of Festival sponsoring organizations to find printable coupons for reduced admissions.  Your local grocery store may sell discounted tickets for these events either on their Web site or at their customer service counter in the store.

Stephanie Nelson, The Coupon MomStephanie Nelson is the Coupon Mom. Her web site,, has 7 million members, and she is established as the nation’s top expert in couponing across the country. Stephanie has been on every major national television talk show and taught millions how to save money for the past 14 years. She has been called ‘”the rock star of the recession” by the Washington Post and her book, The Coupon Mom’s Guide to Cutting Your Grocery Bills in Half, is a New York Times best seller.

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The Teal Pumpkin Project for an Allergy-Friendly Halloween

Teal pumpkin

image via Brave Girl’s Club.

For 1 in 13 kids in the U.S. who have food allergies, Halloween isn’t the carefree, candy-laden free-for-all that most kids eagerly await. That’s because many traditional treats have the potential to cause an allergic reaction – which can be life-threatening – for children managing allergies to nuts, milk, wheat, soy and many other foods.

But this Halloween, Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE) is working to help make October 31 a fun and safe day for every trick-or-treater by launching the Teal Pumpkin Project nationwide. Inspired by families in East Tennessee, the Teal Pumpkin Project allows children with food allergies to enjoy Halloween without fear.

FARE is encouraging families to paint a pumpkin teal and place it – and a free, downloadable sign – in front of their house to indicate they will have non-food treats available on Halloween. Handing out inexpensive non-food treats (e.g., glow bracelets, stickers, pencils) is a great way to include all children in trick-or-treating. More details about the project, and a free sign, can be found on FARE’s blog.

halloweensignthumbTips for Managing Food Allergies on Halloween

1. Enforce a “no eating while trick-or-treating” rule, so that you have time to review all food labels.
2. Avoid candy and treats that do not have an ingredient label.
3. Always have an epinephrine auto-injector available, if prescribed.
4. Keep in mind that the mini-size, fun-size, or bite-size version of candy may contain different ingredients than their full-size counterparts. Make no assumptions, and read all labels carefully.
5. Keep the emphasis on the fun, rather than the candy.
6. Remember that a candy that has been safe for your child in the past may now have different ingredients. Read the label, every time.

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yellow lab

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Coping With Things That Go Bump in the Night


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The Perfect Pumpkin for Cooking or Carving


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cold kit

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Two boys

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mom and baby

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Benefits of Family Councils

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cute puppy

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His Number One Girl

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The family had just finished Sunday dinner. I clanked dishes in the soapy water, while everyone else sat around the fireplace enjoying reruns of The Cosby Show. Ten minutes later, I joined the group in the family room. “Daddy, aren’t I your number one girl?” The hairs on my neck stood at attention. Our blended […]

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girl on beach

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Bullying definition

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