Frugal Halloween Ideas

Family having fun carving pumpkin for Halloween

Do you wish you could have a great Halloween celebration without howling in fright over the sight of your empty wallet? Whether you're planning a small family get-together or throwing a bash for the entire neighborhood, careful planning is key, and these frugal Halloween ideas will help.

Frugal Halloween Costumes

Dressing up is part of the fun of Halloween, but purchasing costumes from a specialty shop can be very expensive. Save money by using items from around your home to create costumes. For example:

  • An old party dress can become a princess costume for a little girl with the addition of a wand and tiara.
  • A flannel shirt, overalls, and a straw hat can be a farmer costume for a boy carrying a stuffed cow or pig.
  • For adults, focus on costumes that feature a play on words. For example, a woman wearing a white dress with a pipe cleaner halo and smudges of dirt on her face or leaves in her hair can be a "Fallen Angel."

Homemade Face Paint Recipe

mother applying homemade face paint on daughter for Halloween costume

Face painting offers a great way to create frugal Halloween costumes, but it can be expensive to purchase makeup kits. Make your own face paint by combining the following ingredients and applying with a cotton swab or paint brush.

  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • ¾ cup light corn syrup
  • ¼ cup water
  • Food coloring of your choice

Combine all the ingredients in a small bowl and stir with a small whisk until smooth. Repeat the process for each color you make.

DIY Spooky Decorations

Obviously, the best way to save money on Halloween decorations is to make them yourself, and you can do this easily with a few craft projects and Halloween decoration ideas.

If you're not into complicated craft projects, keep in mind that spray paint makes it easy to create dramatic yet frugal Halloween decorations. For example:

  • Paint twigs from your yard and put them in a thrift store vase with a few black silk flowers to create an interesting centerpiece.
  • Paint rubber spiders, snakes, or insects silver and arrange them around the edge of a serving tray or your punch bowl.
  • Add a few carved pumpkins and some spider webs purchased from your local dollar store to complete the effect.

Easy Halloween Party Food

When throwing a Halloween party, it's helpful to set a firm budget for food before you go shopping. Otherwise, it's too easy to start throwing things into your cart without considering the total cost of your meal.

Inexpensive Main Dish Suggestions

Hot dogs are easy to prepare and sure to be a hit with young partygoers. Homemade pizza or chili may be options to consider as well, since these can be made in separate versions for children and adults.

Halloween Dessert Ideas

family eating homemade caramel apples at Halloween

For dessert, popcorn balls and caramel apples are fairly inexpensive Halloween treats. A Halloween dirt cake is also a good choice for a budget-friendly sweet treat. Halloween cupcakes are cute, but can be time consuming to create if you're not an experienced cake decorator. Overcome this factor buy frosting them in one or more colors and topping them with inexpensive Halloween picks, plastic spider rings, and similar items.

Halloween Snacks

When you're carving pumpkins for decorations, don't throw away the seeds! Oven-roasted pumpkin seeds make a delicious and healthy snack. If you don't think your guests will enjoy munching on the seeds by themselves, incorporate them into a snack mix that also includes dried cranberries, mini chocolate chips, and unsalted peanuts.

Cheap-but-Fun Drinks

Don't blow your entire party budget on beverages. Use drink mix and ginger ale to make a Halloween punch instead of serving expensive sodas to your guests. Float an icy hand made from a disposable glove in the bowl for a spooky finishing touch. If punch isn't your thing, try a spiced apple cider witches brew instead.

Have a Creatively Spooky Halloween

A successful Halloween party doesn't need to involve blowing your monthly budget on costumes, decorations, and food. By planning ahead and using items you already have around the house, you can entertain your guests in style while keeping your out-of-pocket expense to a minimum.

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Frugal Halloween Ideas