Eight ways to save on Halloween candy, costumes, and decor

Lifehacker

Halloween is right around the corner, but looking at your recipients after over-spending doesn’t have to be the scariest part of this spooky holiday! If you are searching for some simple ways to save this Halloween, this Lifehacker article by Erin Coduti shares eight ideas you can take advantage of now. 

Consider Going Non-Chocolate for Candy

In 2013, Forbes estimated that $39 was the average amount spent by Americans on Halloween candy. That’s probably crept up since, but it’s still likely in the $40 range. How can you cut that down and still have happy trick-or-treaters?

First off, let’s set our baseline. While you can easily hand out more or less, two fun-size bars per house seems to be common, and such bars weigh half an ounce to 1.5 ounces. Chocolate treats tend to cost between 20 and 30 cents an ounce at full price, giving you an average spend-per-treater of about 50 cents.

One thing you can do is avoid the chocolate. Dedicated chocoholics may be frowning, but hard candy like Smarties and Jolly Ranchers ring up at closer to 15 cents an ounce. You could spend only 30 cents per kid to hand out the same amount of candy by weight. (Your handout would be much bigger in quantity – instead of two mini-bars, two ounces of Jolly Ranchers is 10 pieces of candy.)

Clip Coupons and Buy Last Minute

Of course, you can pay less for any type of candy by shopping smart. Halloween candy coupons tend to be released throughout October, while prices in-store often drop in the last day or two before the holiday. If you clip coupons early and buy last-minute, you can sometimes stack your savings.

If you’d rather buy early, choose your store carefully. Some good bets include hitting up the dollar store, buying in bulk from an online seller, or going to a membership store like Costco or Sam’s Club.

Control Portions Yourself

Another tip is to put the candy in Trick-or-Treaters’ bags yourself, ensuring the greediest ghosts get the same goods as the most polite pirates, and helping you avoid either running out or overbuying. Don’t do that bowl-on-the-porch thing; it just takes one bad-spirited Trick-or-Treater to ruin the fun for everyone. If you’re new to your area and don’t know how many trick-or-treaters to expect, ask your neighbors! (But keep in mind that weather could throw off estimates.)

Buy Decorations in November for the Following Year

Our best decor tip won’t help you this year. Why? Because the best time to buy Halloween decor is after the holiday. For the past three years, we’ve seen stores like Home Depot and Kmart cut 75% off Halloween decorations in early November. While you’ll likely see some pre-holiday sales as well, waiting to buy means you don’t get to display the decorations for as long, so that’s a trade-off.

When choosing decorations, don’t head straight to the cheapest stuff; if you can’t re-use it for years to come, you may be losing money over time. Many cheap items wear out quickly, and it doesn’t take long for even modest yearly spending to add up to more than you would have spent on more durable items.

Buy Costumes Last Minute

Costumes usually plummet in price after Halloween too, but those are harder to shop for a year ahead of time. It’s still a good bet for adult costumes for next year, but it’s often hard to predict what a kid’s size or interests will be. (Saving 75% on a costume that never gets worn is still a waste of money.)

The next best option? Last-minute shopping. Many retailers will cut 30% to 50% off costumes the week before Halloween. Trendy costumes—like those that are popular due to a recent movie release—are a particularly likely target for markdowns, as a retailer can’t be sure how well they’ll sell next year.

If you’re buying a kid’s costume, consider buying a size up. First, if it’s a chilly October 31, they can put that sweatshirt or coat on under their tutu or turtle shell, rather than spoiling the look by putting it on top. (Very disappointing to spend good money on a costume only to barely see it.) Second, you can give the costume some extra life by throwing it in the dress-up box after the holiday passes. Finally, you might get lucky—if your kid is still obsessed with the same thing the following year and hasn’t sprouted up too much, you might get by with re-using the same costume.

[Read the full article here]

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