Whether you think Halloween is a greeting card company creation or an event worth celebrating, the chances are that there are plenty of people around you – big kids or little – who want to mark it this year. So, how do you have a fun (and spooky) time without destroying your monthly budget?
halloween pumpkins

Costumes don’t have to be expensive

It’s easy to spend a fortune on your Halloween costume – you could even blow £40+ on a costume for the dog if you felt inclined! However, inevitably, shop bought Halloween costumes tend to be a bit of a disappointment as the quality isn’t great, they’re not very creative and, often, they don’t fit very well. Instead of buying new costumes, why not make your own – you could opt for the classic sheet-over-the-head ghost look or you can be more creative. For example, craft a Corpse Bride from a second hand wedding dress and some blue make up or zombiefy yourself as anything from a cheerleader to a nurse (depending on what you have in the wardrobe, in terms of a costume) – just add white make up and a few blood drips

Scary food comes cheap

Buy your pumpkin to make a jack-o-lantern and then use the filling, rather than wasting it by throwing it away. You can make a pumpkin soup, pumpkin pie or pumpkin cupcakes from the insides of your lantern, reducing waste and saving you money at the same time. With a bit of creativity you can turn just about any food stuff into a spooky snack – for example, freeze banana halves on lollypop sticks (with raisin eyes) to create edible ghosts or buy some cheap royal icing and make just about anything into a spectre. Invest in green or red food coloring to make fruit punch/soup/cakes/sauces into ghoulish blood or slime or buy a Halloween themed food cutter and you can turn even something simple, like sandwiches, into a witch/ghost/vampire/spider themed treat.

Decorations that work

Make your interiors spooky for less this year by draping sheets across room corners and hanging them with plastic spiders and cotton wool cobwebs. You can create ghostly shadows on the walls from cut outs attached (safely) to lamp shades or make ghostly candleholders from white plastic bottles with wailing faces painted on to them. If you have a particular theme in mind then stick to it. This could be a back garden graveyard (create RIP gravestones from painted cardboard boxes cut into grave shapes and propped up with rocks) or a gruesome science lab inside, filled with ‘specimen jars’ (old glass jars filled with colored liquids). Balloons are a great, cheap way to make a variety of Halloween decorations – draw on green balloons to make alien faces, attach pipe cleaners to black balloons for a plague of spiders and make hanging ghosts by draping white balloons with muslin or chiffon.

Games and activities

If you’re throwing a party for Halloween then you’re going to need to entertain your guests so Halloween themed activities are a must. Apple bobbling is probably the most traditional Halloween sport – and only requires a deep bowl and some apples – but if you’re looking for something a little more motivating then why not have a donut eating race by stringing donuts up to the ceiling and challenging guests to eat them without their hands? Have a competition to see which team can wrap up one team member as a toilet paper mummy the fastest or play a gross guessing game by blindfolding participants and having them put their hands into bowls of food that feel more disgusting than they are – cold, cooked pasta (brains), rice pudding (vomit), jelly (slime), lychees or peeled grapes (eyeballs) are all great options.

Trick or treating

If you’re participating in the trick and treat this year then home made biscuits or cupcakes can be a cheaper – and more satisfying – alternative to give your visiting vampires and ghouls. If you’d prefer to offer wrapped sweets then buy these in bulk and go for chocolate or sweets that aren’t Halloween themed as they will be much cheaper – most of your trick and treaters won’t notice if their chocolate is wrapped up as a pumpkin before they gobble it down! Christmas chocolate boxes go on sale, on special, at this time of year so they can be a useful option for filling bowls with colorful treats. If you really don’t want to spend money on handing out treats to everyone in the neighbourhood then make sure that you’re the one out collecting instead!