3 Tips for Celebrating Halloween on a Budget


Halloween is just around the corner, and that means costume parties, treats, and lots of decorating. These things can add up quickly — most Halloween costumes are around $30 – 40 — while seasonal decorations and bags of candy can easily break the bank.

This Halloween, go for the simpler, DIY route. You can do a lot with regular household items and things found at dollar stores. I’ll help break it down for you with my guide for a simple and affordable Halloween:

  1. Cost-conscious costumes

    Don’t get me wrong, there are lots of cute pre-made costumes out there, but this Halloween try out a DIY idea. For women, a classy, historical and super easy costume is “Rosie the Riveter.” The classic cultural icon from World War II, symbolizing women heading into factories to work while men were away at war, is a brunette factory worker flexing her muscles and saying “We Can Do It!” Not only is this costume empowering, but you really only need a few items to pull it off. A denim shirt is a must, and a red-and-white polka-dotted (or simply red) bandana. Put your hair back into a bun (or get fancy using these instructions) and tie the bandana like a headband. Voila! If you want to take it to the next level, get a brown wig or add some makeup to the costume. Check out these tips to make Rosie the Riveter, Sandy from Grease, Poison Ivy or Waldo from Where’s Waldo come to life this Halloween.

    For the gents: Everyone saw “The Lego Movie” this summer. It was entertaining for young and old. The main character, Emmet Brickowski, a construction worker, has a pretty easy getup to mimic: bright orange construction pants and vest over a blue button-down shirt will do to the trick. Add a construction helmet and some yellow face paint to make it more authentic.

  2. Healthy Halloween treats

    Let’s face it, buying candy for trick-or-treaters is probably unavoidable, unless you want to be that house that passes out snack bags of baby carrots, which I can tell you from the experience of being a kid isn’t so popular. If you want your candy bucks to go to a good cause, consider buying Fair Trade Chocolates for the ghouls and goblins who come to your door. Equal Exchange organic chocolate minis are a great option.

    You might also want to serve some homemade treats on Halloween night or share them at the next costume party you’re invited to. The first thing I have for you are these “Skinny Boo-nana Pops,” probably the cutest treat I’ve come across. It’s a frozen, white chocolate-dipped banana with mini chocolate chips for eyes. This treat is easy to make in large quantities and a must-have for a party.

    Craving something salty? Why not use every part of the pumpkin you just carved. My personal favorite — roasted pumpkin seeds — are high in zinc and provide your body with the “good fat” it needs. Here’s a how-to guide on gutting your pumpkin, rinsing the seeds, and doing a very simple roast with butter and salt. Simplicity is sometimes the best when it comes to food.

    Live somewhere where the weather is warm this time of year? I’m jealous! But I also have this popsicle recipe for you to try. They’re made with orange juice, pineapple juice and vanilla-flavored Greek yogurt, and when you pop them out of the mold they look just like candy corn.

  3. Scary-cheap decorations

    Last but certainly not least come the decorations. There are so many ways you can decorate your house for Halloween in a spooky, yet chic and cheap, manner! You can make just about anything with a permanent marker and some construction paper. Cut out shapes of bats and pumpkins and string them up as a Halloween garland; add construction paper or recycled cardboard eyeballs to the trees in your yard to add an element of fright to nature.

    When I was a kid, my mother used black trash bags to create a gigantic spider that hung above our kitchen table. All you’ll need are two black trash bags (the heavy duty kind for contractors works best because of the thickness, and they’re gigantic!), some newspaper, and kitchen twine. Here’s a step-by-step guide with pictures to make a spider just like mom used to do!

    Finally, scary spirit lanterns. Use recycled one-gallon milk or water jugs, some Christmas lights, and a Sharpie to create these outdoor decorations. You can line these up alongside your pumpkins or Jack-o’-lanterns.

This is one of the best times of year to be creative. Use these tips to make your Halloween fun, creepy, crawly and affordable! I’d love to hear your budget-friendly ideas, too! Share your ideas in the comments section below.