COLUMBIA — With the downturn in the economy, some families are on smaller Halloween budgets this year.
“This year I’m definitely cutting back,” said Columbia mom Sherri Barnes. She said she plans to economize on candy, decorations and costumes. “This year with the economy, I need to tighten up,” she said.
Parents and people from businesses shared some advice about saving for Halloween. Here are 10 ways to save money this year:
1. Exchange costumes with friends. Nancy O'Connor said this year she would probably do a costume swap between families.
2. Reuse old costumes. Jerri Jeffries said she has a “dress-up box” of costumes that accumulates every year, so this year when her two children decide what they want to dress up as, they’ll look through that box first.
O’Connor agreed. “We probably have three moving-size boxes of costumes," she said. "I have three girls, and we have saved all the Halloween costumes from the past years.”
3. Go to thrift stores. Robert Wells, store manager of the Salvation Army on Walnut Street, said the store has Halloween items ranging from 50 cents to $5. People are using the store to put costumes together, Wells said. “For example, we have people that are buying green shirts and sports jackets to dress up as the Joker.”
4. Rent a costume. Aaro Froese at Gotcha said the downtown costume store offers two-day costume rentals starting at $6. The company has recently opened a sister store, Getcha, next door, which sells costumes ranging from $5 to $50.
5. Buy candy in bulk. Barnes said she always goes to Sam’s Club and Dollar General to stock up for the trick-or-treaters.
6. Utilize stuff from around the house. Use leftover materials from your garage or shed to create a spooky Halloween atmosphere. Alicia Moore said every year she makes ghosts by sticking contact paper to glass or mirrors, creating an eerie, opaque look. "It’s a really cheap and easy way to decorate for the occasion," she said.
7. Make low-cost treats. Moore said chocolate-covered pretzel sticks are an inexpensive treat to make at home. The process includes heating chocolate and covering the pretzel sticks with the melted chocolate and then sprinkling all types of sweet things on top.” “It’s a great activity," Moore said, "and the kids just love it.”
8. Get creative with Jell-O. Moore also said she uses Jell-O to make Halloween shapes. “We do like Jell-O jigglers," she said. "The children love to cut out shapes with cookie cutters.” Buy cookie cutters from a discount store.
9. Stay away from brands. They are typically more expensive than store-name products, which usually have the same taste.
10. Fix a budget. Decide how much money you are willing to spend and keep track of spending in order to stay under budget.