How to have Halloween fun on a budget!

Halloween is on its way, and all parents will be feeling the pressure to do something fun for the kids. 

Halloween is now firmly established as a UK celebration. Shops, pubs and restaurants are all now full of pumpkins, skeletons and a whole range of other Halloween decorations. So even if you don’t personally like Halloween, it seems that there is no getting away from it. You are going to have to do something.

This year it’s a bit tricky though, because Halloween is the Sunday before many schools return after half term. So you don’t want anything too wild and don’t want the kids up too late. 

Also, for many of us, we don’t want to spend a small fortune. It’s an expensive time of year in many ways, and there just isn’t the spare money to throw away on all kinds of stuff that is only going to get used once.

So in this article we look at five ideas for Halloween that will enable both you and your kids to have fun and also make sure that you save money at the same time.


Five ideas for Halloween

  • Make it a family affair

One of the reasons that many parents don’t really like Halloween is that it is too child-centred. It feels like the adults put in all the time, money and effort – costumes, treats, decorations, accompanying trick or treaters – and the kids have all the fun. 

By the end of the evening you are cold and bored – not to mention broke! And there is loads of mess to clear up as well. 

So now it’s time to change all that. Time to make Halloween a family affair. Something adults can enjoy too.

This year why not get together with a small group of friends or family and have an informal gathering in someone’s home. The idea is that everyone pitches in so it’s not yet another stress factor for someone. 

So ask everyone to bring:

  • Food and drink to share;
  • Contributions to trick or treat;
  • One or two family games to play;
  • Any spare Halloween decorations.

This concentrates all the Halloween activity into one home with a group of adults who can work as a team. Some can sort out the food and drink, others accompany the Trick or Treaters and/or fend off any visiting groups, with yet others organising games. Perhaps try some old-fashioned games such as bobbing apples, musical statues and hide and seek which can be enjoyed by all ages.

It also means there are plenty of you on hand for any emergencies or ad hoc situations that might arise. And in parallel with this you will all hopefully have some downtime during the proceedings where you can enjoy each others’ company and perhaps a drink or two.


  • Be crafty with the costumes

Read the next three words carefully. Never. Buy. New! A Halloween costume is something that will most probably only be worn once. Don’t waste money on buying something new. Instead consider:

  • Swapping existing costumes with friends.
  • Buy second hand from eBay or a charity shop.
  • Make something yourself.

If you choose the homemade route you could start by getting ideas online from sites such as Pinterest. Film characters can also provide inspiration. But in general anything like ghosts, zombies, mummies, or skeletons can be quite easy to make from everyday household items such as bedding, towels and marker pens. 


  • Delightfully wicked decorations

This is another area where you really don’t need to spend a lot of money. And if you get the children involved in decorating the home it can be fun for them too. 

You can create all kinds of decorations from everyday items. For example you can make:

  • Little ghosts from plastic cups;
  • Spooky silhouettes from black paper;
  • Skeletons from paper plates;
  • Giant spiders from black balloons and pipe cleaners;
  • Spiders’ webs from swing bin liners or cotton wool;
  • A bubbling cauldron by adding dry ice and water to a large pot;
  • Additional pumpkins from rocks painted orange. 

Don’t worry if your decorations are a bit rough around the edges! Strategically placed pumpkin lanterns and plenty of candles and fairy lights can hide most mistakes and still create a wonderfully ethereal yet spooky atmosphere. 


  • Tricky treats

Don’t spend a small fortune on sweets. Ignore any special Halloween buckets and bowls of sweets as they can cost more than you should be paying.

All you need to do is either look out for supermarket offers on multipacks of sweets, or if you or anyone you know has a wholesalers card such as Costco you could buy in bulk between you. Then just line a bucket or large mixing bowl with something suitable – perhaps a brightly coloured tea towel – and put the sweets in there.

Although it can be a nuisance answering the door to trick or treaters, don’t be tempted just to leave the treats outside for children to help themselves. They will disappear in minutes. So make the effort to answer the door to each group and ration them to one item each. This will ensure that your treats last the night.


  • Cast your sleepy spell

As we saw earlier, this year Halloween is on a Sunday night at the end of half term, so you don’t want the kids hyper and up too late. 

We’d suggest getting the party started early. The clocks will have gone back so it should be dark by late afternoon. So why not gather everyone together around 5ish for drinks then send the kids out for Trick or Treating. This still leaves time for food and games when they get back, before you need to start calming things down. 

An ideal way to do this is to all settle down and watch a family film. Something spooky if you want to, but not too scary that it winds them up. Ideally aim for something that is suitable for the youngest child present. The older ones will probably protest about watching it but will enjoy it really. This can be an ideal way to wind down after all the excitement and start preparing to get back to reality again. 


And breathe. Halloween is over for another year!

We hope that this article has given you some useful ideas about how to enjoy Halloween with your family and friends, and save money at the same time. 

Have fun! And do check back here soon for more lifestyle and financial tips from Simple Fast Loans.