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Budgeting for Halloween

Here are some tips to help you make a big impression without spending a lot.

Nashville, Ark. – Halloween is just around the corner. Maybe you haven’t given it much thought as to how much money the average family spends on Halloween, but expenses can really add up. This year Americans who celebrate Halloween intend to spend an average of $86.79 each. Of the $9 billion spent on Halloween this year, $3.2 billion will be spent on costumes, $2.7 billion on decorations, $2.6 billion on candy, and $400 million on greeting cards. In fact, Halloween is second to Christmas in the amount of total dollars spent on a holiday.

            Whether you’re hosting a scary Halloween party or going over to a friend’s house to celebrate, here are some tips to help you make a big impression without spending a lot.

  • Plan Ahead. Make sure you have all the costume materials, decorations and candy that you need on Halloween day to avoid last-minute splurges. Anytime you have to run back to the store, you are setting yourself up to spend more than you may have originally planned. It is very hard to stick to the “list”.
  • Make a budget and stick to it. Like any holiday, there is the temptation to overspend during Halloween. Set a realistic budget for your family in advance. Be sure to include all the decorations, food and treats you will need.
  • Reuse decorations. Every year, there are new and exciting ideas for decorating your home. If you purchase new ones, be sure to store them properly when the season is over. If you keep decorations in good condition, they can often last for several years.
  • Get creative. Want to have the scariest looking house in your neighborhood? Get your kids involved in making decorations, so you don’t break the bank making the house look frightful. Construction paper, glue and scissors sprinkled with a little imagination can go a long way in creating frightening decorations. Consider leaving that spider web up for a few weeks, instead of sweeping it away.
  • Get together. To help with the costs, have a party with family and friends so you can share the burden and the fun of hosting a neighborhood bash.
  • Shop clearance sales for next year. After Halloween, make a trip back to the store and pick up decorations, costumes, etc. that can be used next year. Most items will be marked down 50% or more. Save them for next year’s celebration.
  • Be safe. Everyone wants to have fun on Halloween, so when hosting an event, remember to keep the environment safe for both children and parents. Make sure items are not scattered around the lawn.

            For some great costume ideas that don’t cost a lot of money.

  • Skip the store. Seasonal Halloween stores can be tempting and you can get a lot of great ideas, but items bought there are usually expensive. Consider looking for potential costume ideas at a thrift store or resale shop. You might even find something suitable in your closet.
  • Be thrifty. I remember the day when you made your costume instead of buying it. Bib overalls, a floppy hat, and plaid shirt make the start of a really great scarecrow costume. Check out some websites for other great costume ideas. There are lots of websites that have ideas without having to break the bank.
  • Swap with friends. Kids don’t typically wear the same costume year after year. Consider getting together with neighbors who have kids the same age as yours and swap costumes from previous years. This also works for adult costumes too.

            Halloween celebrations don’t have to cost a lot. Be creative and look around your house for items you already have to use in decorating or for costumes. Most of all have fun! That’s what this holiday is all about.

            For more information on financial matters, contact the Howard County Extension Office at 870-845-7517 or visit our office located on the second floor of the courthouse.

Recipe of the Week

            Here is a great, low cost dip for all your fall parties. It is easy to make and best of all, it is nutritious! You can serve this with teddy graham crackers or cinnamon cracker sticks or fresh fruit. This recipe is high in calcium, vitamin A and vitamin C.

Pumpkin Dip

1/3 cup of canned pumpkin

1 cup fat-free vanilla yogurt

½ teaspoon of cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice

            Mix all ingredients in a bowl. Dip in apples, pears, or graham crackers!

Makes – 4 servings


Nutrition Information per Serving: 100 calories, 0 grams fat, 3 grams fiber

By Jean Ince
County Extension Agent - Staff Chair
The Cooperative Extension Service
U of A System Division of Agriculture

Media Contact: Jean Ince
County Extension Agent - Staff Chair
U of A Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service
421 N. Main St, Nashville AR 71852
(870) 845-7517


The Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service is an equal opportunity/equal access/affirmative action institution. If you require a reasonable accommodation to participate or need materials in another format, please contact your County Extension office (or other appropriate office) as soon as possible. Dial 711 for Arkansas Relay.

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