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Budget-Smart Halloween Costumes and Treats

Halloween doesn't have to scare the daylights out of your budget. Have a happy Halloween with these cost-saving tips for costumes and treats.

Halloween costumes on a budget

A simple homemade ghost, gypsy, or hobo costume can be loads of frightening fun, especially if the children design it themselves. Here are a couple more inexpensive costume ideas can be made from things found around the house or at thrift stores:

  • Tacky Tourist: Hawaiian shirt, sunglasses, hat, camera, layer of white sun block on the nose (just use white face paint), large bag or purse, and maps or tourist brochures peeking out of a few pockets.

  • Soldier or Hunter: Camouflage clothing, green and brown face paint splashed on randomly, a canteen, backpack, compass, or whatever you have around that can complete the look.

  • Ladybug: Dress your child in a pair of black leggings and a plain long-sleeved black shirt. Remove the arms from a large red sweatshirt (bought at a thrift store or garage sale) and pin, glue, or draw large black dots all over and a stripe down the middle of the sweatshirt. You can also fashion antennae with black pipe cleaners.

  • Birthday Gift: Take an old box big enough for your child to "wear" and cut a hole in the top of the box for her head and two holes in each side for her arms. Wrap the box with gift wrap, attach a ribbon, and tie curled ribbon or a big bow in her hair. Cute, simple, and very cheap!

You can adapt different colored sweat suits to become almost any type of animal you can imagine: a pig, cow, unicorn, or kitten. Just attach any extra finishing pieces (spots, stripes, arms, tails, horn) to the sweat suit, add any required head gear (horns, antennae), and your little creature's good to go!

Halloween treats on a budget

When the neighborhood goblins show up at your door, how can you keep from forking over the family farm in treats and goodies?

  • Pass the candy out yourself rather than letting the kids grab their own. That way you can limit them to one or two small candies rather than a large handful — some of those preteen ghouls at the door have mighty big hands!

  • Buy candy early if it's on sale. Candy bars keep well in the freezer for several months, so if you see a sale during the summer on bags of favorite treats, stock up in anticipation of Halloween.

  • Give alternative treats rather than the candy and gum. Many dollar stores have bags full of inexpensive toys and plastic figurines for a dollar per bag or less.

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