Carve your Halloween Costs

September 30, 2008 6:40:58 PM PDT
The cost of celebrating Halloween can be downright scary. But it doesn't have to be a budget nightmare.All those costumes, candies, and decorations mean big bucks for retailers. The National Retail Federation estimates Americans' Halloween spending will hit $5.7 billion this year. This year, the average person plans to spend $66.54 on the holiday, up from $64.82 one year ago.

It's no wonder around this time every year temporary Halloween superstores spring up in vacant buildings all over the Valley. But why not start your Halloween shopping at a year-round discount staple, like Dollar Tree? That's what Fresno mom Lindy Willey plans to do: "You can do a whole outfit for about 5-dollars. We have six kids and we're going to do it economically."

For fun we challenged employees at the Northeast Fresno Dollar Tree to come up with some $5 costumes. We got a princess and a pirate, two popular options. While you're there, stock up on any decor and candy to keep those Trick or Treaters happy. Willey says it's a no-brainer, "Someplace else you can go, spend $10-$15 for a bag. So you can get the same amount of candy that goes in that bag, for $3."

You can also try waiting until the afternoon of October 31st to buy candy. That's when some stores put Halloween candy on sale to clear out the inventory, since it will be outdated the next day!

Another lesser known option for costumes: consignment stores. At Mom N Me in Clovis, Halloween costumes are best sellers right now. Parents are snatching them up for 60% off retail. Owner Katrina Faapouli explains the appeal: "They go trick or treating, they need the costumes to wear them for one night and to spend $70-$75 is just ridiculous. So they'll come in and basically they recycle them. We'll get them back in the following year." We found a $40 Mr. Incredible costume for only $15. And a like-new Disney princess costume, retail $64.50, for $25.

Forget the pricey costume makeup. Mom's makeup works just fine for scary faces. A little tinted face mask, black eyeliner, and red lipstick can go a long way.

And for Halloween activities, search the internet for pumpkin carving patterns, party recipes, Halloween coloring pages and games and puzzles. We found a ton. And you can print as many as you need or want. Best of all, it's free.

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