By far, Halloween was one of my favorite holidays as a child. We would cheerfully rake up leaves and stuff them into some of my father’s old work clothes to make a scarecrow, complete with a pillowcase for the head, and set it up on the front porch of our house.
Every year, my mother would ask my brother and me what costumes we wanted, often getting requests such as pirates, hippies, ghosts, superheroes and even a princess. My mother rarely bought costumes. She would use her own makeup and clothes we already had to make outfits for us. If we wanted something special, she would even help sew items for us, and we loved picking out details to make it special. My little brother loved his superhero cape my mother made for him so much it quickly became a daily used item.
Now that I’m a mother, I am creating similar memories with my children. I’m not quite as crafty as my mother was, but I still love decorating my front yard and home, planning school party bags for my children’s classes, finding costumes and gathering enough candy to supply a small army with treats.
How do I do all this and stay on a budget?
First of all, start gathering your candy early. Two weeks ago, CVS had a candy deal that started my Halloween stockpile. The deal was combining an Extra Care Buck Deal along with a coupon and a sale. The Extra Care offer stated that if you bought $10 in featured candy, then you would get a $3 coupon to use on your next purchase. Assorted bags of Mars brand Fun Size candies were on sale for $2.50 a bag, a $1.79 savings off of the regular price. The bags had a “Peelie” coupon on them for $1 off 2 bags. When I bought four bags, I only paid $8 and taxes and received the $3 coupon. That made each bag of candy only $1.25. To put it in perspective, this same size bag of candy is selling at Walmart for $2.98.
Drugstore candy deals should be going on each week. Challenge yourself to find coupons to match the deals and stock up.
I told you last week how I decorate with reusable pumpkins. I also decorate my lawn and home with shocking savings. One of my favorite decorating tricks is to buy clearance items. I search shops after the holidays to purchase statues, decorations, linens, door mats, props, etc., to set the stage for some spooky fun. A few years ago, I picked up a timed fog machine for 80 percent off, and I’ve even found some cool items at Dollar Tree.
I also go to Dollar Tree for party decorations. Plates, napkins, spoons, gift bags, wrapping paper, tissue and even helium-filled balloons are great values there. Who wants to spend nearly $10 on a bag, tissue and a greeting card? I’d rather spend more on the gift itself.
I have already picked up Halloween gift bags for both my kids’ classrooms from Dollar Tree. This year, I found some cute Halloween-themed bubbles that were shaped like eyes and pumpkins. I picked up several packs for the classrooms and plenty of extras in case we have trick or treaters with food allergies or parents who would prefer noncandy treats. I also picked up Halloween pencils, erasers, clappers and other goodies for great prices.
To find a cheap and easy Halloween costume, inspiration is just a click away. Do a search for “homemade” or “last minute” Halloween costumes to find plenty of Web sites that will get your creative juices flowing. Choices such as construction worker, gyspy, hippie or businessman might already be in your closets. I also buy costumes on clearance to put in dress-up trunks and buy up a size to prepare for next year. I won’t know what my kids will decide to be until it’s time to go trick or treating.