You don’t have to spend a scary amount to throw a Halloween party that people will love. All it takes is a little ingenuity and bargain hunting, and luckily, we’ve done all of that for you. Here are some ways you can save big money while still taking part in the spooky festivities.
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Pumpkin Carving Station
This is a fall favorite for kids and adults alike, and luckily, you don’t have to drop too much money to make it happen. The cheapest pumpkins are going to be at the grocery store–not the pumpkin patch. Though the pumpkin patch can be a fun outing, often the cost of the atmosphere is figured into the cost of your prized pumpkin, adding up to much more than the store’s prices, which can range from $4-10 depending on size and location. You can also opt to have people to bring their own pumpkin so you don’t have to cover this cost. Pumpkin stencils can be found for free online so you can print them, and the carving tools can cost as little as $3 each or even $4 for a set. Plus, you can save the pumpkin seeds from carving and roast them for a tasty snack! You can also turn a hollowed out pumpkin into a decorative cooler which you can fill with ice and canned beverages.
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You can pick up decorative web for just 99 cents at Party City! This covers 40 square feet and really adds to the Halloween vibe. You can drape it over doors, chairs, tables, the fridge, and anywhere else guests would pass by. Add in some plastic spiders (you can pick up 150 of the creepy little guys at Target for $3.00) and you’re set to go. You can even throw a few in your hand soap for an extra creepy touch.
Another low-cost, high-scare option is hanging ghosts. You can make them out of cheesecloth, and cut out holes for the eyes, or buy them from Party City for just $3.00 each and hang them to greet guests at your front door. As for some spooktacular Halloween signs, there are plenty of free printables you can print at home. The Dollar Tree also has a wide array of great posters and signs for the occasion. If you already have Christmas lights, you can make them look a little more ghoulish by wrapping them in gauze. If they’re red, you can wrap them around a punch bowl for a bloody effect.
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If you have a Sam’s Club or Costco membership, you can buy a ton of candy in bulk–sometimes 500+ piece bags for under $25. If you don’t have a membership to either of these stores, Amazon offers competitive prices to the membership stores. And of course, don’t overlook the Dollar Tree for affordable treats if you’re in a pinch. A sweetly spooky goodie bag that’s totally “hands off”: stuff a rubber glove full of candy and tie it at the bottom.
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Don’t freak yourself out trying to make sure there’s enough food for all your guests. Instead, make a spreadsheet of what’s needed (appetizers, desserts, sides, drinks) and ask people to fill out what they’d like to bring ahead of time. Make something easy like pizza the main dish, which you can easily order or ask someone to order day of. As long as you have a good start of a small selection of drinks and something like chips and dip, your party can help cover the rest. If you do like to make food, go for it! It’s usually more affordable to make your entree or dessert than to buy it, so if it’s something you have the time for and would love to do for your guests, you’ll be delighted at how much money you save as well!
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If you want to make things super easy on yourself, you can buy a full costume online or in stores for about $20. For example, an Alice in Wonderland costume will come with the dress and maybe a headband or bow so you wouldn’t have to worry about a thing. However, most Halloween costumes cost more than that, and the ones that don’t are a little limiting when it comes to creativity. Making your own costume gives you a little bit more artistic freedom, and usually costs less. Pun costumes are big, and you can easily make them at home. One idea is to wear glasses and tape Smarties to your pants. So you’re a Smarty Pants. You got it. There are tons of ideas for these types of costumes online and you can make a big impression at your party for just a little money.
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Last updated: Oct. 8, 2021
This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: Throw a Halloween Party on a Budget