I previously wrote about where to focus spending our money for the occasion. In this post, I write about how to lower the cost of each aspect of Halloween – the treats, the costumes and the decorations.
Halloween costs – treats, costumes, decorations
Halloween can be an expensive tradition. Parents have to buy lollies and chocolates to hand out to door knockers. There is the cost of the costumes and no costume is complete without some make-up and face paints. Add cobwebs and skeletons to decorate the home and before you know it, you’ve spent a lot of money, just for one night. All in the name of tradition and good neighbourly fun. So what’s the alternative? Well, turning out all the lights and going to bed early is an alternative. No thanks, I want to participate in the neighbourhood fun. Is there another way to do Halloween?
Halloween costs: treats
There’s probably not much we can do in the treats department. Giving kids an apple on Halloween isn’t much of a treat. A few of my friends have been quite creative when they run out of treats. One year, a friend gave $1 to each trick or treater. This proved to be a very costly alternative for my friend (though it was very much appreciated by the children). Another friend offered to buy candies from a child whose bucket was overflowing. If you have an enterprising child, this might be the start of a yearly business for him/her!
One way of lowering the cost of Halloween treats is to make sure you hand the lollies to the kids. In some homes, the host presents children with a bowl of lollies and invite the children to take the lollies. This might be okay for young children with small hands and can only take a small handful of lollies. But older kids, their much larger hand span can see the lollies in your lolly bowl disappear very quickly. To make your bowl of lollies last longer into the night, make sure you hand a small handful of lollies to each trick or treaters. Having small-sized lollies would also be more cost-effective than giving out large chocolate bars.
Halloween costs: costumes
The more elaborate the Halloween costumes (for both adults and children), the more expensive it is, if we choose to buy costumes. The more members we have in our household, the more expensive it is to buy costumes for every member of the family. The beauty about Halloween is that the worse a costume looks, the more awesome it is. If it looks like something a kid cobbled together out of a rubbish bin or out of your recycling bin, it’s a great costume. Unfortunately, in the quest to look like the ‘real thing’ (um… looking like a real ghost?!?) parents often fall into the trap of buying costumes for their little ones.
Why? Perhaps it’s to satisfy the child’s desire to dress up as a particular character? Or deep down, could it be that the parents want their neighbours to admire those costumes? For a whole 10 seconds? That’s about how long a child will stand at the doorway waiting for candies when there are so many more doors to knock on.
Are we spending on costumes for the child’s sake or for our sake? Do we want the neighbours to admire the children’s costumes as being authentic or do we want to satisfy the child’s desire to dress up to go Trick or Treating for Halloween?
Children simply want to dress up to go trick or treating. This is one night where we can let their creativity shine. A Halloween costume is supposed to look awful! Tie this creativity to a money lesson, if you like, and offer to let your child keep the money you would have spent on a real costume.
Halloween costs: decorations
This is a real tricky one. Why do we want to decorate our homes for this occasion? I’m not sure if the children actually appreciate the effort adults put into scaring them with our Halloween decorations. Children only have one thing in mind – to get as many lollies as possible and to roam the streets with their friends at night.
Halloween decorations are most likely for adult satisfaction. This is one of a few times in the year that we get to show off our creative side. Here again, we can tap into our children’s creativity and ask them to come up with ‘scary’. Of course, if you have very young children, doing ‘scary’ wouldn’t be a good idea, unless you are prepared to stay up the whole night comforting them from their nightmares!
Trick or Treat!!
How do you do keep your Halloween costs down? Share it with us in the comments!