Last year, Americans spent about $8 billion (yes, with a “b”) on Halloween costumes, candy, pumpkins and decorations. The pet industry took over a $300 million chunk of that! The average American spent just under $80 on the spookiest day of the year. Those numbers are downright scary, but we are here to help you throw a goblin-fest for your little ones that won’t break the bank.
Right out of the gates, let’s get this fantastic fountain of freebie knowledge out of the way. Pinterest has become every mom’s new best friend. Simply type in “Halloween party” and be wowed by other people’s cleverness. A cursory glance will be met with peach fruit cups that have jack-o-lantern faces drawn on them, bananas cut in half with chocolate chips eyes and mouths that look like ghosts and baby mandarin oranges with tiny celery stalks sticking out of the top meant to resemble pumpkins. We also love these skeleton gingerbread man cookies from 7 Layer Studio — it is crazy what other people come up with in their spare time.
Don’t stop there. Also check out diynetwork.com, where you’ll find adorable and inexpensive ideas like small clear cups filled with green jello and plastic spiders (for the older kids who know not to eat the spiders, of course!) and cotton swab skeletons on black construction paper. The brilliant thing about these sites is that you can either use other people’s ideas as is, or let them serve as inspiration for your own version.
Deck the haunted halls
Your corner Dollar Store is an excellent resource for tablecloths, napkins, cups and plates. You’d be surprised how festive their decorations are too! Don’t discount them (pun intended) because you think their merchandise is lame. It’s worth a look. Also, the Dollar Store is an excellent place for game prizes.
Discount online party places like Oriental Trading Company are invaluable when you are on a budget! Be wary though, their decorations and crafts are so tempting you can get into trouble. Decide before you let your fingers do the walking how many games, crafts, decorations, etc. you need. Do you really need three craft projects or just one?
Halloween party festivities
We covered a few resources for festivities like crafts and games you can find online, but getting creative with basic concepts is a unique and inexpensive way to make sure your little ghouls have a frightfully good time. Play a short movie like Disney’s 1949 The Legend of Sleepy Hollow (it’s timeless, and a crowd pleaser). Watch it before the party and pick out times where it might be fun to switch the lights on and off, or play sound effects from the internet like a creaking door or thunder.
Why not have a neighbor or relative dress up in a costume (that makes them unrecognizable) and have them bang on the door during the party? They can read the kids a scary ghost story and pass out candy afterward. Maybe your guest is a fortune teller or a witch who needs ingredients for her witch’s brew (which could be grounds for a scavenger hunt).
Halloween can get horrifically expensive if you’re not careful, but with a little forethought and creativity (or other people’s creativity) you can host a party that your kids will talk about for years.