Frugal Halloween Tips

Leaves on the ground, the smell of chimney smoke in the air, trick or treating with my kids, and colorful pumpkin patches are just some of the reasons I love this time of year. So with that in mind, I wanted to pass along some frugal Halloween tips my family has used and some I have seen done by friends and neighbors.

Halloween Decorations

  • Stuff old clothing with leaves to make scary dudes for the front porch. Add a little hay and this is a great way to make a scarecrow.
  • Use old thread and yarn for cobwebs and hang it around the house and porch.
  • Decorate windows by putting plastic wrap on them and then paint scary ghosts and critters until your heart is content. When Halloween is over you can just peel it and throw it away.
  • Shop at the .99 Cent store for inexpensive window decals and Halloween decor. Let the kids each pick out something new each year.

Halloween Activities

  • If you do go to a harvest farm, find one that let’s you pay only for the activities the kids want to do. Let them pick out 2 or 3 they really want to do like the corn maze, pony ride, or hay ride, and call it good!
  • Buy a handful of the mini pumpkins from the grocery store and let the kids decorate them with markers or paint. We did this last weekend and my son and I actually were able to carve one into a Jack-O-Lantern, we had a lot of fun doing it!
  • Make Caramel Apples, this is a fun and cheap activity that kids love.

Halloween Costumes

  • Homemade costumes can be really cool and save you a lot of money. Since I don’t have a creative bone in my body I have found some great resources for making your own costumes: Creative Costume Ideas for Kids and Great Costumes for Less!
  • I can remember raiding my Dad’s closet a couple times and dressing as a nerd for Halloween. Disclaimer: This only works if your Dad is a nerd. :-)

Please feel free to leave your favorite frugal Halloween tip as well. Have a fun and safe Halloween!


By , on Oct 8, 2008
Kyle James Kyle James owns and operate a website called which specializes in coupon codes for over 750 stores, organized in 25 shopping categories. He also has a blog, where he writes about frugal living and personal finance tips as well as other musings about the adventures and mis-adventures of raising 3 active kids.


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  1. AA:

    Great ideas!

    It won’t help until next year, but I like to buy the reusable pumpkins when the stores put them on clearance and keep them for carving the next year.

    A no sew cheap cape can be made from a flat sheet. Make sure to get one with a folded over edge then use a piece of soft rope (you can use pretty soft edging too) to push through the folded edge. Tie at neck and voila! DO be careful of having someone step on the back of the cape b/c the wearer can easily be choked. You can simply cut to size, or hem (ending the no sew bit) so that it can be let out in later years.

  2. Shymom:

    The day after Halloween is a good day to stop by stores that have Halloween displays. Last year I got bales of hay (for this year’s potatoes) for free at the nursery.

  3. Thanks for the tips! I’m planning my first ever halloween — kids are finally old enough, and we are in a bit of a tight financial spot. I’m gonna try the window decor idea.

    PS: I saw pretty cheap costumes in Walmart too, but don’t know if they have them online.

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