As the nights draw in and the evenings grow colder, ways to save at Halloween aren’t usually at the front of people’s minds. Halloween offers a bright spot of fun and spooky mischief at the end of October, but if you’re not careful it can also leave a horrifying dent in your bank account.
Britons are predicted to spend a terrifying £1 billion celebrating Halloween this year, so it makes sense to look for ways to save wherever you can. That’s why we’ve compiled these tips for having a fun and affordable Halloween this year.
Follow our guide below on how to save at Halloween, and enjoy the treats without getting tricked!
Save electricity at Halloween
While spooky displays of special effects are impressive, they can cost more than you realise. The electricity used by light-up decorations varies massively based on the size, type and energy supply used. This calculator was designed for those living in the US, but it should help you see how many kWh of electricity your lighting display is using. Multiply that figure by your unit rate to find the real cost of your decorations.
Generally, the most energy-efficient decorations use LED bulbs and run-off solar power or rechargeable batteries. This article uses the calculation for Christmas trees, but the figures for a string of spooky LEDs would be the same. They estimate your lights will cost you just 62p in energy – over the whole month!
Watch out for mains-powered inflatables and special effects like smoke machines as these tend to be the most energy-intensive.
DIY Halloween costumes
The cheapest Halloween costume is one you already have. Pinterest, TikTok and Instagram are full of creative costumes you can make using items and clothing already in your wardrobe.
Some of the most on-trend costumes this year are also the easiest and cheapest to put together. Bust out the stonewashed denim and pink accessories for a simple Barbie and Ken. Grab a beret and clutch a pillow to tell everyone you’re a Parisian bedbug. Or just throw a sheet over your head, stick a nametag with “X” written on it to your chest and let partygoers know that you’re the ghost of Twitter.
If you have your heart set on something specific, make sure to visit local charity shops and second-hand sales. Basics like coloured shirts are usually easy to find. You can even get specific items like a suit or a character costume at a huge discount. Charity shops tend to save their costumes to put out at this time of year, so don’t be afraid to visit a few locations.
Buy your treats in advance
A key part of Halloween is giving out sweets and treats to trick-or-treaters, but if you’re not careful your candy bill can quickly run up. Shopping smart – and in advance of the holiday – is a great way to save at Halloween.
Many supermarkets will run generous discounts in the weeks leading up to Halloween, hoping to tempt you to a bag of goodies you eat yourself before the big day arrives. As the holiday grows closer, these offers will start to disappear, and the easy-to-handout bags of sweets will vanish from the shelves. Don’t be like me last year! I had to buy pricey chocolate bar multipacks when they were the only thing left on the shelves.
I’ve learned from my mistakes, and now I grab one or two bags of what’s on offer in the weeks leading up to Halloween. Just make sure to stash it somewhere you won’t be tempted!
Decoration hacks to save at Halloween
Second-hand stores are also great spots to shop for decor. Candle holders, old toys and homeware can all add creepy details to your decorations. At the end of the spooky season you can mix these items into your usual homeware, pop them in storage for next year or re-donate them to save space.
Speaking of sticking things in storage – before buying anything new, hunt through your cupboards and drawers to find Halloween decor from years past. The good news is pumpkins, ghosts and bats never go out of style.
If you love banners, streamers and window decorations, making your own is an easy way to save at Halloween. Use orange and black craft paper to make paper chains or cut out bats and pumpkins to make garlands. If you’ve ever made a snowflake out of white paper here’s a similar method for making creepy spiderwebs.
Make the most of your Halloween pumpkin
The UK buys around 17 million pumpkins every Halloween, but only 1 in 5 are ever used for anything except decoration. While carving your pumpkin, put the flesh and seeds you’re carving on one side. The seeds can be baked in the oven with salt and paprika to make a tasty snack, and the roasted flesh can be used in pumpkin soups, curries or pies.
When it comes to carving your Jack-O-Lantern, cut a hole in the bottom rather than the top. This will reduce the air coming in, keeping your pumpkin fresh for longer. We’d also recommend opting for an LED tea light rather than a real candle. While they’re a little more expensive up front they’ll last longer and can be reused next year, and as decor year-round.
Once you’re done with your Jack-o-Lantern, you can get even more use from it on your compost heap. Add your chopped-up pumpkin to your compost or wormery for free fertiliser in a few months’ time.
Read more tips to save this Autumn: