Written by Spotloan

Of all the traditional holidays that we celebrate, Halloween is a favorite for many young people. After all, who among us didn’t love dressing up and devouring candy for an entire night when that was all that was expected of us? From sugary treats and pumpkin carving to decorations and costumes, there are plenty of things to look forward to in October. But what to do when your Halloween budget is looking a bit slim? You bust out your favorite budget-friendly Halloween activities for kids.

Five Tips to Help You and Your Kids Celebrate Halloween on a Budget

Get creative with costumes

Halloween costumes are pricey, and the costs associated with this holiday tend to sneak up on us, making it an annual budget buster. American families spent roughly $8.8 billion on Halloween-related purchases in 2018, down only slightly from the $9 billion spent the year before. If you’re looking for low-budget Halloween costumes, there are plenty of ways to save some money, and make it fun for the whole family, too. Get creative with items that are already inside of your closet, or ask a family member with kids around the same age to swap costumes from last year.

You can also do some safe and socially-distanced thrifting. Stores like Goodwill often have entire holiday sections, and the discounts are astronomical. Facebook marketplace, apps like OfferUp, and websites like eBay offer significant discounts, too. If your family is really creative, you can always search for low-budget Halloween costume ideas on Pinterest. Packed full of DIY tips, tricks, and tutorials, there’s something there for everyone. As a bonus, you and your little ghosts and goblins can spend a night listening to a Halloween playlist and crafting costumes – a savings and a memory-maker all in one.

Make Your Own Halloween Decorations

There are countless ways to make or buy Halloween decorations on a budget. Break out your craft box and get ready to fill your home with DIY spooky bats, smiling pumpkins, and ghosts galore. All you need is scissors, tape, and construction paper or felt. If you’re out of any of these items, you can pick them up at your local dollar store. For next to nothing, you can also pick up the ingredients for some DIY Halloween slime, paint to decorate rocks you’ve collected from the yard, or a decorating kit for the pumpkin you picked up over the weekend.

When you’re done, you can use your painted rocks to play tic-tac-toe or decorate the table, fill a festive bucket with your home-made slime, and pop your pumpkin outside for everyone to see. If you’re running low on time or crafting isn't your thing, you can throw on your masks and take your little one to the closest dollar store to pick out pre-made decorations there and have fun putting them up all over the house. Most dollar stores offer everything from paper plates and strings of felt ghosts to light projectors and candy buckets.

Put Together a Halloween-Themed Scavenger Hunt

Whether you’re spending time inside the house or out in the yard, Halloween scavenger hunts are budget-friendly fun for the whole family. Plus, with less trick-or-treating anticipated this year due to COVID-19, a scavenger hunt will create a nice diversion and make you feel like you’re out and about.

You can work together with your children to create your own or choose a printable Halloween scavenger hunt list from the ones on Pinterest. Most of the lists include easy-to-find items like bats, ghosts, and scarecrows. If you’re missing any items on the list inside or out in the yard, take a walk down the street to see if any of your neighbors’ decorations can help you cross off the last few items.

Bake Together

If you bake regularly, you may already have all of the ingredients you’d need to make fun Halloween treats at home. And if you don’t, a quick masked trip to the grocery store will solve that problem. You can find tons of festive and kid-friendly recipes online for everything from monster cookies to festive mini doughnuts. This one activity could easily fill half of a day, and then you have a delicious treat to enjoy when you’re done.

Scour Your Streaming Services for Fun Halloween Movies

After the costumes and decorations are made, you’ll need something to wind down the night with. Choose your favorite streaming service and scroll through until you find something that the whole family will enjoy. Netflix and Hulu both have full sections dedicated to Halloween to make your search even easier. Grab some popcorn, kick back, and enjoy your favorite Halloween movies in your freshly and affordably decorated living room. 

As a bonus, now that you know just what it takes to create a fun and affordable Halloween at home, you can update your Halloween budget for next year.