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Everyday Cheapskate: Last-Minute Tricks to Do Halloween on a Budget This Year

Mary Hunt on

Hear that sound? It's the first of the major shopping holidays at the door. Halloween is the fourth most popular holiday that gets consumers to open their wallets -- the kick-off to a lot of shopping before the end of the year.

According to the National Retail Federation, Americans spent north of $10 billion on Halloween last year. Yes, billion. Talk about frightening!

There's no denying that we love Halloween. What other night do we get to eat, drink and be scary? The problem is we've come to love it a little too much. Sadly, much of the spending translates to new credit card debt that goes on long after the festivities have been forgotten.

I know we can do so much better this year if we stop, think and then find ways to keep all the fun while doing Halloween on a budget.


Even if your neighborhood attracts busloads of kids, that doesn't mean filling their bags with gourmet chocolate is up to you. Between our sons and now our grandsons, I've been on the receiving end of trick-or-treat bags for many years. Here's the cold, hard, sugary truth: Most of it ends up in the trash. It's the fun of getting treats and guessing the final weight of a kid's haul that matters, not the quality of its contents. Think of that before you drop the big bucks on candy.


Buy what you can pay with cash, period. Dollar stores are rife with knockoff lollipops and nondescript candy. And do not worry about running out. Adopt a guilt-free attitude that when it's gone, it's gone. That's it. Shut the door and turn off the light.


Halloween is a really big deal for many folks, and I get it. There's one house in my community where the owners start months ahead getting their front lawn display ready. It's massive in both size and effort. I cannot even imagine the time and money required to put on their annual spooky show.

Be careful if you find yourself somewhere between that and my two-pumpkins-on-the-porch choice of decor. Halloween decor can quickly rip the heart out of a budget. Check the dollar store where you can stretch your decoration dollars until they scream!


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