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Halloween Fun Without Going Broke

Halloween is a conundrum.  Don’t really get why it’s a holiday.  I understand Thanksgiving and Christmas but Halloween, that’s a different story.  For many families though, Halloween is something they look forward to all year long.  I have to admit that Halloween can be tons of fun but it doesn’t mean you have to deplete your bank account doing it.  Here are some ideas to help you do just that…

Show Me the Money

It seems like every year the ante to do Halloween better and bigger goes up.  More detailed costumes.  The “good” candy;  Hayrides at farms that are more like amusement parks complete with lots of “extras.”  If you’ve ever watched your spouse lunge for the car keys because costumes are 40% off at Target today, you might have rolled your eyes a bit.  But did you know Americans are projected to spend $8.4 billion on Halloween this year?  That’s a $1.5 billion increase from last year.  It’s easy to drop a ton of money on Halloween, but is it really necessary?

Recycling Jack O’ Lanterns

First of all, if you live in a larger city (like Chicago); you’re probably paying a hefty markup for your pumpkins.  If your family likes big, round jack o’lanterns, hit a farmer’s market or an actual farm stand.  You can typically get a better price.

Also, has tossing pumpkins in the trash on November 1st given you a twinge or two over the years?  Did you know that some zoo’s feed fresh ones to animals, so if yours aren’t too old or moldy quite yet, you and the kids can do an act of service by offering yours to the zoo.  Another idea is to offer them to your friends with chickens or other barnyard animals who might enjoy them, too!

Resourceful Costume Ideas

In this day and age, it might seem like no one makes their own costumes anymore.  You might also think that a homemade costume has to be time-consuming and difficult.  But that’s not true, either.  You can use the stuff from that garage sale you never got around to planning.  Heck, you can make a lot of different costumes out of cardboard boxes!  Be creative and silly!

I know someone named Will who likes to make costumes that are a play on his name.  One year he wore a shirt with an electrical outlet on it (Will Power.)  Another year, he carried a sign that said (will to live).  It doesn’t get much easier than that.  Modeling this kind of ingenuity encourages your kids, too.  If you’ve been looking for a way to teach them problem-solving and thriftiness, a homemade costume is a great way to begin!  Use what you’ve got, then head to local thrift stores to source items you don’t have at home.

A Little Simplicity Always Helps

Finally, if you’re going to fork out some big bucks for Halloween, at least consider using your hard-earned dollars to simplify dinner!  Halloween night can be a mad rush of makeup, costumes, parties and endlessly ringing doorbells.  Order pizza, make Chili or throw some comfort food in the slow cooker.  You’ll be much more fun to trick or treat with if you have one less thing to worry about.

We really don’t need any more holidays that are big consumer events.  What we need is quality time with our family so we can have some fun and make happy memories.  Never forget that the things you buy are not what matters to your kids. The time with you is what’s really important.  So simplify, relax, and have a wonderful Halloween with your family – and don’t’ go broke doing it!

Your Virtual Life Mentor,


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