What once was a night for little kids to dress up and collect candy from neighbors has gravely become the second most-expensive holiday following Christmas. In fact, the National Retail Federation reports record-breaking spending estimates for costumes alone this Halloween. As more consumers than ever empty their wallets on elaborate costumes, posh parties and decked-out decor, celebrants face the scariest demon of all -- DEBT.
There's nothing wrong with getting into the spirit of the holiday. Just make sure you don't blow your money for this one-night event. Celebrate without overspending by following these six simple savings tricks for Halloween essentials.
1. Stalk the thrift shop.
From costumes to accessories to decor, your local thrift shop should be your first stop in your search of Halloween essentials. Since most people only wear their costumes once, you have a good chance at picking up like-new goods and last-years looks at a fraction of the price. Why spend $10 at a costume store for a basic accessory when you can find it at Goodwill for a few bucks? No one will know where you bought it from, anyway!
2. Dig up deals and coupons online.
With shopping for costumes and decor reaching its peak, you're less likely to find many sales at your local Halloween shops. Don't give up on saving, however, as you can easily dig up deals online and in department stores. First, search for Halloween coupons from sources like CouponSherpa.com, where you can find such deals as 15-percent off Halloween costumes from Kohl's. Next, scout daily deals from sites like Groupon for half-off your purchase, like this $20 voucher for $40 worth of costumes and decor at Halloween Adventure.
3. Avoid pricing trickery.
Whether it's a costume for your kid or a bag of Halloween candy, it pays to compare prices. For example, an Elsa costume is priced at $39.99 from Spirit Halloween, while Party City has a similar style for $29.99 and Kohl's has one for $28.99 (on sale). Be sure to factor in any applicable coupons, too, and use apps like PriceGrabber to easily compare prices on-the-go. Treat Halloween candy with the same discerning eye; you can find weekly circulars online and compare prices for the best deals on the sweet stuff.
4. Hold off on your attack.
The best prices on Halloween items can be found on or after Nov. 1, but that doesn't do you much good if you need essentials for the upcoming holiday. Happily, many retailers start discounting their Halloween goods a week before Oct. 31, in an effort to clear inventory and get prepped for holiday goods. Expect sale prices starting at 20-percent off, with discounts deepening throughout the week.
5. Find freakish freebies.
One of the great things about Halloween is that perfection and cleanliness are not only unnecessary, they're discouraged. You can take a ripped pair of jeans and a threaded flannel shirt and make a fantastic scarecrow to decorate your yard. You can also download free templates for Halloween banners, labels, frameable art and more from creative bloggers around the Internet. Check out this roundup of free printables to get your started.
6. Shop the unknown.
Discount retailers and warehouse club stores are great places to find costumes, decor and even candy. Stores like TJMaxx and Marshalls have darling costumes for kids, often including all the necessary accessories for which costume stores charge extra. For example, this pirate costume costs under $20 and includes the head piece and boot covers. Club stores like Costco and Sam's Club, meanwhile, sell Halloween candy in bulk, saving consumers around 25-percent.
By Andrea Woroch
Andrea Woroch is a nationally-recognized consumer and money-saving expert for Kinoli Inc., who helps consumers live on less without radically changing their lifestyles. From smart spending tips to personal finance advice, Andrea transforms everyday consumers into savvy shoppers. She has been featured among top news outlets such as Good Morning America, NBC's Today, MSNBC, New York Times, Kiplinger Personal Finance, CNNMoney and many more. You can follow her on Twitter @AndreaWoroch for daily savings advice and tips.