Halloween is a time of great fun for young people ages 1 to 100.
Unfortunately, for people closer to 100 than to 1, it can also be a time of great spending. A 2010 National Retail Federation poll indicated Halloween-related spending of over 9,000 people polled averaged about $66. Spending was devoted fairly evenly to purchases of candy, costumes, and decorations.
Sixty-six dollars a head may not sound excessive, but some seniors tend to shell out a lot more than they can afford to during Halloween season. Fortunately, there are easy ways to help keep Halloween spending in check.
First of all, if you’re planning to indulge in a little Halloween candy this year, you may want to reconsider. While strong cases can be made for making room in your diet for such treats as chocolate, licorice, and coffee, it would stretch things quite a bit to argue that the health benefits from eating candy are even a tenth as evident. You’d be well advised to enjoy healthier Halloween treats—there’s not a candy in the world that measures up to pumpkin pie—and avoid the sugar overload and empty calories you’d get from candy.
If you’re buying candy for trick or treaters, be sure to buy in bulk. You can save a lot of money by purchasing at least 5-lb. bags. And though it’s a little late to bring this up now, you can often save big by buying in bulk long before Halloween season approaches. Most candy has a shelf life of months or years, so you don’t have to hesitate to keep your eyes open for specials on candy during the candy off-season (if such a thing exists in the United States) long before Halloween. If you’re planning to buy candy for a party or event the weekend after Halloween, you can probably save money by postponing your purchase until Halloween has passed. It’s amazing how many candy products and other Halloween-themed items you’ll find on sale—often at a 50% or better discount—during the days immediately following Halloween.
This one is easy. Make your own. If you go to a retailer to buy a Halloween costume, what do you get? Let’s turn that around. What does the retailer get? Most likely, the answer is $20 to $50 of your hard-earned money. And what do you get? Yes, you get a costume. Yes, it may look scary, it may suit you, and it may be fun to wear—but chances are there are other people in town wearing that same costume. Why not dig deep in your closet or go to the thrift store and create something that’s uniquely you? Why not do the same thing for your grandchild? After all, you know him or her a lot better than any manufacturer or store does. Besides, wouldn’t you rather put most of that $20 to $50 to better use?