When did Halloween start to rival Christmas as one of the most expensive holidays on the calendar? South of the border, for example, Americans are spending billions to get spooky this year — buying candy, costumes, and scary tchotchkes to decorate their porches. That’s all to the tune of $5.8 billion, according to one estimate I found. Now that’s scary!
Eons ago, when I was a kid, Halloween was fun but definitely more low-key. We scrounged around the house for our costumes — a bed sheet, a belt, and hair tied up in buns on the side of my head meant I was Princess Leia. We carved a pumpkin into a Jack-o-lantern for the front porch. Our biggest expense was candy — and of course, change for the UNICEF boxes we used to carry (the program ended in Canada in 2006). If you didn’t buy candy, it was still okay to hand out popcorn balls, apples, and other inexpensive homemade treats.
Not so today. Now that my own two kids are old enough to start trick-or-treating, the bar has been raised — stores are packed with pricey costumes and other Halloween accessories. Apparently no one uses an old apple basket or pillow case to collect candy anymore. And a big box of Halloween candy can set you back as much as $10 — in our kid-packed neighbourhood, we need four or five to get through the night.
To cut our costs this year, my kids will wear hand-me-down costumes from my sister. To make it more special, we’ll use some face paint to give them spooky faces. We’ll also forgo decorations in favour of a simple Jack-o-lantern on the porch.
Do you like to spend a lot of money on Halloween? If not, how are you cutting costs?