How to Spend Less on Halloween

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Jack-o-lantern and trick or treater walking through doorway
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For many families, Halloween's one of the most fun nights of the year — but costumes, parties and decorations can seriously stretch a budget. In 2011, the National Retail Federation predicted that Americans would spend more than $1 billion on children's costumes alone. A spooky time doesn't have to break the bank, though. With some creativity and cost-saving tips, this ghostly holiday can spook the entire family without incurring a scary credit-card bill.

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Children trick or treating
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Candy Control

Providing tasty treats for trick-or-treaters can get pricey. Woroch recommends practicing portion control. "Make that big bag of candy last the entire night by picking a portion to hand out to each kid and sticking with it," she said. "Once the trick-or-treat traffic dies down, you can unload the rest on lucky latecomers." Waiting for last-minute deals can also save you money on candy. "The final two days before Halloween is usually the best time to find bargains at supermarkets and drugstores," said Woroch.

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Scarecrow with Autumn decorations
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Discounted Decor

Even if you plan to decorate both the interior and the exterior to spook the neighbors, the cost doesn't have to frighten you. Get creative with what you have on hand, suggests Woroch. "An old flannel shirt and a pair of jeans can quickly become a scarecrow, and pieces of Styrofoam packaging with a little paint make perfect tombstones." Dollar stores also offer affordable holiday décor so you can cover your home in orange and black for less.

Related: Get Festive for Halloween at Any Price: $25, $50 and $75

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Penny-Pinching Party Planning

If a neighborhood celebration is in order, consider planning a potluck to minimize costs. Meet with your neighbors and friends to plan an extravagant menu that can be split among the guests. From chili and chips to hot dogs and cider, you can save effort (and money) when you put your heads together and split things up.

Family carving pumpkin in kitchen
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Prudent Pumpkins

A trip to the pumpkin patch is often a treat for the entire family, but the cost can be prohibitive. Instead, pick up pumpkins at local grocery and department stores for nearly half the price. Beware of packaged Halloween accessories, too. Instead of getting an elaborate pumpkin-carving set, choose just one tool you need to carve your treasured design safely and successfully.

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