3 Ideas for a cheap and frugal Halloween

Halloween is one of those retail holidays that can easily suck the life from your wallet until it is dry.  Mail-ordered costumes, custom stencils for artistically sliced gourds (technically pumpkins are gourd-like rather than true gourds), environmentally unfriendly half servings of sweets… oh the madness!  Don’t let it!  So many years, Brian and I tried to go all out for Halloween – we would get costumes, go to the bars, spend lots of money, and inevitably, be disappointed.  So for the most part, we’ve given up on these aspects of Halloween.  Instead, we often do a combination of these cheap Halloween activities:

  • Make your own costumes: This is a fun activity for any age!  Brian and I have been successful and not-so-successful at making costumes from themes such as Alice in Wonderland (Brian was the Mad Hatter) and ancient Rome (Cleopatra and Anthony).  We often hit up thrift stores for fabric and odds and ends.  And old suit jacket from the 60s or a cool retro top hat makes a great costume starter.  You do need to be handy with a thread and needle if you need to make alterations to shirts or dresses, but a simple stitch in the right places usually does the trick.  When I was young, my mom (who is awesome with a sewing machine by the way) made me a super cute penguin costume.  Alone among princesses and ninjas, I was a cozy and warm flightless bird.
  • Invite your friends over: Doing the bar crawl is fun when you’re 19… and that’s about it. It’s expensive, drinks are expensive, and face it – no matter how hot your slutty fairy/witch/princess/nurse costume is, there will always be a sluttier one.  It’s practically a given.  Rather than competing for the attention of cute drunken boys, have a few friends over, make some Halloween themed food and drinks, and have a go at pumpkin carving.  While you’re at it, you could play some cheesy Halloween music or put a slasher flick up on the TV for background “ambiance”
  • Ignore it completely: Let’s face it – Halloween as we know is hardly what it was intended to be.  There’s little respect given to the dead and butchering squash into aesthetically pleasing faces doesn’t exactly scream harvest festival.  Sometimes, it’s nice to just skip the “holiday” stress and enjoy 50% off candy the day after.
This year, Brian and I did a grab bag of activities.  No costumes for us this year – instead we carved pumpkins with a few friends and we also got together for drinks and scary movies with another set of friends.  It was super fun and not very expensive at all.
Happy Halloween everyone!
This post also appeared on Life as Mom: Frugal Friday
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