Halloween For The Economically Challenged

  • July 19, 2010
  • Jenna Maxwell
Halloween has been increasing in its popularity over the years.  Halloween has so much to offer in the way of fun for all ages that this fact is not surprising.  It’s the perfect time to decorate your house, have great parties with your friends and the most obvious fun is dressing up in costume. In fiscally challenging times, it can be a little bit more difficult to celebrate most any holiday, but Halloween fun does not have to be missed out on if you are on a tight budget.  I am here to help you and have many suggestions on how to have the greatest Halloween ever without spending a whole lot of money.  Halloween is a holiday for all age groups from the very young to the very old.  These tips will help you to get the most bang for your buck and still have a really amazing time doing it. Costumes: Costumes do not have to be costly.  With a little bit of creativity you can find things around the house to create a costume yourself.  Add a little Halloween makeup and a few inexpensive accessories and you have something really creative and special.  Here are just a few of my super economical suggestions:
  • Ghost: This is the old last minute costume standby.  Of course you can do it the boring way by just putting a white sheet over your head with eye holes cut out,  but for just a little more effort you can make your ghost really stand out.  Drape the fabric over your body leaving the face exposed.  Make up your face with pasty make up, dark shadows under your eyes and maybe a little fake blood.  Very inexpensive to do and the result can be very spooky!
  • Clown: The secret to a homemade clown outfit is to wear all the clothing super-large so it almost drowns you.  Add appropriate clown make up and a wig (or cap if you don’t have a wig) and you have a clown costume done very cheaply.
  • Scarecrow: An oversized plaid flannel shirt and a pair of jeans can easily be made into a scarecrow costume.  Add a rope belt around your waist.  Take pieces of straw and attach them at the wrists, neckline and at your feet.  Use a make up kit to add appropriate make up to complete your scarecrow look.
  • Various Costumes with tights or sweats: There are so many inexpensive costumes that start with matching tights and a t-shirt or turtleneck or a pair of matching sweats.  You will need a few accessories to pull the look off, but the biggest part of your costume will be created by these basics.  Here are some ideas.  Wear black tights and a black turtleneck.  Add cat ears, make up and a tail and be a black cat.  Green sweats are the start of a great turtle costume.  Make a large shell out of Cardboard and attach it to your back.   Add a mask if you want your turtle to go “Ninja”.  Brown sweats can easily become a cute dog costume.  Add puppy spots with paint or you can pin fabric spots onto the sweats.  Add a pair of floppy ears with bobby pins or attach ears to a headband.  Use Halloween make-up to create a doggie face, and you have a really simple and cute dog costume.   White sweats or tights can be used to create a really cute bunny costume.  You can also use pink sweats or tights and be a pink bunny.  You can make a cute tail out of a large pompom from a craft store or even cotton balls will work.  Add bunny face make up and a pair of bunny ears from a costume shop to finish your bunny look.
Decorations: Halloween decorations are a really fun part of Halloween.  Decorations set the mood in your yard for the trick-or-treaters and for your guests if you are having a party.   Decorations are important to set a spooky mood in your home but they don’t have to be expensive.  Here are a few ideas to get you started! For your yard:
  • Make a fake cemetery.  Utilizing Styrofoam blocks or even Styrofoam ceiling tiles from your home improvement store, you can easily cut these Styrofoam pieces into headstone shapes.  Use artist’s charcoal to write epitaphs on each of them then spray paint them lightly with grey spray paint.  If you are more ambitious you can make a picket fence to put around your cemetery.  Add lots of fake cobwebs or gauzy fabric draped over the fence to give it a really creepy effect.
  • Hang nearly invisible threads from your front porch to make it feel like cobwebs when your visitors walk to your door.
  • Change your porch light to a black or other colored bulb.
Inside your home:
  • Lighting is an inexpensive way to add a dramatic effect.  Try some black or colored bulbs
  • Use inexpensive black tablecloths from the dollar store on your tables.
  • Drape your furniture with white sheets and cobwebs to give it that abandoned, haunted feel.
  • Use fake blood to make handprints on mirrors or write bloody messages with your fingertips
  • Fake cobwebs should be put all over the place to add a really creepy Halloween effect.  A little can be stretched a long way, but the effect is quite dramatic.
  • Plastic spiders, worms and rats are a very inexpensive accessory that can be used in numerous ways.  The obvious choice is to put the spiders in the cobwebs.  But don’t stop there!  Add plastic spiders to an ice cube tray and add water and freeze.  Use these to chill drinks.  Add a random plastic rodent or bug to a bowl of candy or chips as well.   Float a few in your punch bowl as well.   My favorite idea is to freeze green Gatorade inside a plastic glove.  When completely frozen, remove the “hand” and float it in the punch bowl along with a few plastic spiders.  Awesome!
  • Find some apples that can stand up without rolling.  Take out the stems and carefully hollow out the top a bit so a taper candle will fit inside nicely.  This is a very pretty decorative touch for your food table.
  • Tilt all the pictures on your walls so they are crooked and add lots of cobwebs.
For very little money you have transformed your home into a really spooky Halloween haunt! Party Ideas for the frugal partier: Just because you are being thrifty, it doesn’t mean that you can’t have a very successful and fun Halloween party.  Here are just a few suggestions:
  • Inform your guests that there will be a costume contest “Project Runway” style. Set the budget to create the costume at 20 dollars. Have a runway show during the party where the costumes will be modeled and judged on various predetermined criteria.  Give prizes to the winners.
  • Have a pumpkin carving party.  You can use clip art patterns from your computer as patterns.  Give prizes in various categories.  (Most creative, most scary, etc.)
  • If you are having a children’s party, play “find the pumpkins”.  This is like a Halloween style Easter Egg Hunt.  Use mini pumpkins and hide them all over the yard or throughout your house.  Give prizes to the winner.
  • Keep food simple.   One great idea is to make your party a Halloween block party in your neighborhood and have everyone bring one food item pot-luck style.  If you are having an adult party and are serving alcohol, have each couple bring one beverage or spirit.
Hopefully these ideas will get you well on your way to having a fantastic and memorable Halloween that won’t set you back financially.  Halloween is about dressing up and having a spooky great time with your friends.  Now you know doing it on a budget is also really easy!  Enjoy!