WRAL SmartShopper

WRAL SmartShopper

Thursday thoughts 9-30: Frightening truth about Halloween spending

Posted September 30, 2010 3:00 p.m. EDT
Updated September 30, 2010 3:10 p.m. EDT

As a child, I loved Halloween. We made costumes from stuff we had around the house, spent the whole evening walking around our large neighborhood and hanging out at our friends houses. It was a big deal and we had a great time for very little money. My favorite Halloween was the year my group of friends and I all dressed up as Fruit of the Loom characters. I was the grapes and my mom and I sewed together purple grapes with fabric she had and stuffed them with pillow stuffing we also had on hand. It was a tad labor intensive but it looked great! I was about 11 years old and we all had such a great time parading around the neighbohood in our combined homemade Fruit of the Loom costume.

This year, families are expected to spend an average of $66.28 on candy, costumes and decorations, according to RetailerDaily.com. That's an increase of 17% from last years average. I don't know about you, but $66 seems like a lot of money to spend for this particular holiday. I usually buy candy using sales and coupons and gift cards (earned by transferring a prescription or cashing in credit card reward points) so I spend very little money on the very yummy candy. Costumes are always at least partially homemade and most of the purchased items came from the Halloween clearance the year before. You know I don't pay full price for decorations. Most of those came from the 75% after holiday sales and I usually buy a couple pieces each year to supplement what we already have. I would say we spend about $25 each year on candy, costume pieces and clearance decorations.

I realize that there are some folks who see Halloween as THE holiday of the year. They start decorating  on October first and they have spent hundreds of dollars by the time November 1 rolls around. My neighbor puts on a cute Haunted House each year and they spend a ton of time getting it ready. Of course, her teens do all the work, which suits my neighbor just fine!

The girls and I went to the mall the other day and we walked through the store with all the Halloween costumes. I was shocked to see adult costumes for over $150.00! I could not imagine spending that much money on a costume, but someone must be buying them or they wouldn't carry them, right?

So now I am wondering about how everyone else views Halloween. Take a minute to think about these questions and if you are willing, please share your answers!

  • How much do you spend each year for Halloween costumes, candy and decorations? 
  • What's the most you have ever spent on a costume?
  • What have you done in the past to keep the Halloween budget under control?

Next week I'll focus on some frugal Halloween costumes so please share your ideas.