HOUSTON - Parents, you know that by the time you buy costumes, candy, and creepy decorations, Halloween can scare all the cash out of your wallet.
Just for fun, I thought I’d show you how Halloween spending compares to other holidays.
The National Retail Federation says people spend an average of $998 on Christmas. Mother’s and Father’s Days went way up this year, $220 and $174 respectively. $180 on Easter, $165 on Valentine's, and Halloween will be up to $10 this year at $102.
Here are ways to ghost some of those high costs.
Some people go all out for All Hallows’ Eve.
"Halloween is as big for some people as Christmas is for other people," said financial empowerment expert Bethany Hollars with deal-finding website BrickSeek.com.
If you buy a costume, don’t shop only in the Halloween section. A character costume there might run $40. You might find the same character in the "dress up" section of a toy store for half that.
"These outfits are usually way cheaper than what you’re going to find in those dedicated Halloween aisles," said Hollars.
Cut the cost even further, by going DIY. Use clothes and makeup you already have.
"Don’t forget to check out thrift stores and consignment shops as well for some of those props and accessories," she added.
Free is even better. Have kids wear their older siblings' previous costumes or swap costumes with families you know.
"They’re used one time. So they’re usually in mint condition and it’s a super simple way to trade costumes back and forth. You get a new costume every year and it's free," said Hollars.
Candy will cost you more than calories. It will cost you cash - $25 in cash. Consider handing out something else.
"Pencils, stickers, knick-knacks, and prizes you can pick up at your local dollar store are a great alternative and a really easy way to save money," she said.
Rather than pay premium pumpkin prices at the patch, where a carving size gourd may cost you $16 to $25, you could find one in the grocery store for $5 to $10. And inflatables are fun, but they can blow out the budget at $100. Try a string of colored lights for $10 to $20.
"It sets the mood for that trick or treating. You can get them in any color you can think of. They’re super cheap and available at your local home improvement store," added Hollars.
One more tip on costumes: you can buy some second hand at consignment shops or on sites like Thredup, Ebay, Poshmark, Facebook Marketplace, OfferUp, or Nextdoor. You can also sell your costume when you’re done with it.