Money saving tips for this spooky season

Farm Forum

BROOKINGS — According to the National Retail Federation, Halloween is quickly becoming a retail jackpot with Americans projected to spend $7.4 billion on the holiday this year.

“As a mother of four children that love Halloween, I have become sucked into the costumes, treats, parties and decorations. Halloween spending in my household can really add up,” said Carrie Johnson, SDSU Extension Family Resource Management Specialist.

Below Johnson shares tips to help families save money this year.

Costumes: Since I have three daughters, hand-me-down costumes have come in handy in past years. Or, letting them use them more than once. Have you ever noticed that costume sizes are quite expansive (example 8-10)? My oldest daughter has actually fit into an 8-10 for the past three years.

Over the last few years it has become a little more difficult to do hand-me-downs or make them wear the same costume twice. Now that they are older, they tend to complain about this. So we started taking their old costumes and putting them in the dress-up chest in their room for dress-up fun all year round.

Another way to save on costumes is to join a costume exchange. Some libraries offer these for you to come in and exchange your child’s costume from last year for a new one this year.

Thrift and consignment stores are also great places to find gently used costumes. Maybe you can find a $40 children’s costume for $5-$10.

If you’re crafty, you can always make a costume for your child(ren). I, on the other hand, am not crafty. It is not even a remote possibility that I would be able to make anything my children would wear in public.

Treats: First and foremost when thinking of treats, we all need to make sure the kids have a trick-or-treat bag. In my house, we have pumpkins that we have used for the last four years. However, I have come to realize that every year they seem to come home from school with a bag of some sort.

Or, if you don’t get one from school – use a plastic bag you got at the grocery store. Every Halloween we start out with our pumpkins and they get too full and we have to make a pit stop at the van and dump all the candy into another container and start over. There is nothing wrong with cutting out the middle step and starting with a free container you probably already have a hundred of.

Now, when you’re buying treats there is nothing that says they have to have Halloween wrappers on them. If you buy a larger bulk bag of candy to hand out to trick-or-treaters that do not have the pumpkin or spider on the wrapper you can probably save yourself some cash.

You can check out local dollar stores to find name brand candy for less. Or, if you’re set on giving out scary treats for the occasion just wait until closer to Oct. 31. Stores start marking prices down, but you run the risk of not getting any if you wait too long.

If you take your children trick-or-treating, turn the car off and walk. I know this can be a bit of a hassle, but with gas prices still pretty high, you could save yourself some money.

We typically go trunk-or-treating first. If you are not familiar with this concept it is when a bunch of cars park in a parking lot and hand out candy from their car trunk. This is really nice because you can get half your candy quota in about 10 minutes. We then park the van and walk in a large circle.

Entertainment: Throwing a Halloween party this year? These can be costly. Try a potluck, where everyone brings something so you don’t have to feed everyone. Decorations can really add up. Reuse things you already have or purchase items at discount stores.