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How to enjoy Halloween on a budget

While the streets in your neighborhood begin looking dark, grim and scary with Halloween decorations, what is freaky is how much Halloween costs nowadays.

The National retail Federation estimates Americans will spend some $6.9 billion on Halloween this year. On average, consumers will dish out at least $75 on decorations, candy and costumes.

To make it less scary for you and your wallet this year, here are a few areas where you can save to enjoy Halloween fun for less.

1. Costumes

With costume prices easily hovering above $50 for adults and just a few bucks below for children, a lot of may feel stressed just buying a costume. Instead, get creative. Dressing up as a celebrity or famous person can be as easy as going through your closet or rummaging through your friends’ old stuff for accessories. Use Facebook or Twitter to look for missing pieces to your costume that other people you know might have and can share. Have a costume exchange party with your buddies or hit the thrift stores. Some costumes never go out of style!

2. Decorations

Here’s another spot that can rack up a big bill. First, recycle what you have. There’s nothing wrong with putting up last year’s decorations. Get creative: Instead of buying colored light bulbs for your porch lights, consider adding cellophane sheets (if you have LED lights that do not give off heat) or some sort of coloring barrier that changes the light. Household items like cereal or cardboard boxes can turn into art projects. Paint them gray and write “RIP” on them for fun tombstones. Make ghosts out of sheets on a hanger and hang them from trees. On Halloween night, play some scary music at the door to frighten up the mood.

3. Halloween night in

Skip the costume shopping and party favors, stay at home with some popcorn and your favorite drink as you tune into a scary movie marathon. Each year a new Halloween movie comes out. The selection is varied and the scary parts are just as frightening. Make it a fun family night, or a date night, with Halloween classics and the safety of your own home.

4. Candy

It’s easy to overspend on candy. If you can wait until the last minute to buy it (except for risking the store being out), oftentimes you’ll find prices slashed down considerably the day of Halloween. Also, hard candy is usually cheaper than chocolate. Buying in bulk is often a better deal, with the exception of special sales or using coupons. Oftentimes, smaller bags will be cheaper if you pair them with a fantastic sale and a coupon. Monitor store ads the weeks before Halloween and grab great deals when you see them. Don’t over do it. It’s OK to run out of candy. Otherwise, you might end up with extra candy. Translation: Wasted money or a bigger waist.

5. Shop for next Halloween on Nov. 1

Practically all stores will immediately have clearance sales the day after Halloween. Most will begin offering everything left over from Halloween at 50 percent off! Remember, they need to make room for Christmas decorations. Shopping the day-after sales for cheap decorations, costumes and more can help you be better prepared for next year. Don’t over do it. Little by little, year-by-year, you’ll build an arsenal of decorations at low prices if you shop after the holiday is done. By next year, you’re all set.