Unmasking Halloween: Secrets for Saving on Costumes

If the price tag on the tattered zombie costume at the Halloween store gives you a fright, it’s time to look for ways to shed some of the cost.

Here’s how much shoppers are expected to spend on the October 31st holiday, plus ways to trim that amount with money-saving tips.

Carving up the cost of Halloween

Projected Halloween spending figures are enough to make you scream. Americans are expected to fork out $9.1 billion on the festivities this year, according to a 2017 Halloween survey from the National Retail Federation (NRF).

Participating consumers are expected to spend an average of $86.13 on Halloween in 2017, more than last year’s $82.93, according to the NRF. Some 69 percent of Halloween shoppers plan to buy costumes for a projected total of $3.4 billion.

Halloween is a big spending holiday because of its widespread appeal for adults and children alike. All that spending makes Halloween a huge money maker for retailers. Costumes are often expensive because consumers are willing to pay the prices, especially for popular characters.

Spookily simple strategies to save

So are you stuck paying a high price for something you wear only one day out of the year? Not so fast.

We find ourselves budgeting for Thanksgiving and Christmas but budgeting can work for this holiday, too. If you plan to celebrate, set aside some money to devote to Halloween and then be smart about how you spend that allocation.

To help you out, here are a few tips from experts:

Stick to a list. Being unprepared in a Halloween pop-up store is like shopping at a grocery store when you’re hungry; you’ll spend more than you planned. Know what you want to find before you let your eyes take over. For instance, instead of throwing accessories into your cart, decide you need a mask and cape – and that’s it.

Do it yourself. Sometimes accessories are all you need. Many shoppers buy a few items and combine them with pieces from home rather than buy an entire costume. Your unique creation will save money and make you less likely to compete in a “who wore it better?” contest.

Pick a different version of the same character. Superheroes and movie characters are among the top 2017 costume trends. There are often multiple versions of the same character, so find one that fits your budget.

Skip your first choice. Your second or third choice might be more affordable than your first. Trendy costumes will likely see higher demand and higher prices. Consider going with something that’s more likely to be discounted. For instance, if there are too many ghosts left on the shelf, the store will want to unload them.

Expand your search. You’ll generally pay a premium for items in the Halloween section, but you can usually find accessories or makeup in other departments for less. There’s always the thrift store, too.

Don’t lose sight of November. While decorations can be used year after year, many consumers throw away their costumes once November 1st arrives. When the expensive accessories start calling your name, remember that Halloween is just one day.

Stay true to your finances. There’s a sense of unaccountability associated with Halloween. After all, you’re wearing a costume that masks your true identity. But don’t let that unaccountability spill over into your spending. Anything that’s outside of your budget should not be included in your purchase.

Source: Nerd Wallet



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