If you’re a parent, then you know just how stressful the holiday season can be. Fortunately, the kickoff is one of my personal favorites, Halloween. The holiday where children get an endless amount of candy and parents secretly steal some while they sleep; where neighbors show their true colors with full size candy bars or mini apples; and where pumpkins get smashed and spooky things go bump in the night.
The less-than-glamorous aspect of the holidays is surely not found in the fun-having, but in the finances. Expenses tend to rack up from the months of October to January as families celebrate another year of memories and love. If only that cozy feeling would stay after the holidays end, rather than be replaced by fear, anxiety and stress. Make this Halloween an opportunity to save some extra money for the coming months and choose frugality over fear. Your frequently-updated credit score will thank you.
Shopping vs. Shipping
Everybody is different when it comes to shopping. Some people prefer to stroll lazily through the aisles and pick out what they want; others plan ahead, bringing a list and coupons to stay on budget; and busy folks take advantage of carside shopping, placing an order ahead of time and picking it up later. All of these ways will eventually lead to a purchased good, so none of them are wrong. But most of the time, people don’t want to spend their busy days running around stores in search for the perfect thing.
That is why online shopping can be such a blessing during the crazy holiday season. Not to mention, online shopping often comes with additional perks like clearance items that aren’t available at a store near you and discount codes that are only for online purchases. Apps like Amazon and Etsy have made buying your favorite things easier and more affordable than ever. Take advantage of sitting on your couch and browsing dozens of stores for that extra special something all while listening for the oven timer and entertaining the kids.
Let’s Talk Costumes
Costumes, costumes, costumes. The most important part of Halloween and the most annoying. Before you can even begin shopping you have to decide what you want to be, but then you find out Karen is also doing Mike Wazowski, so you have to switch gears to Tinker Bell, but dangit, you were Tink two years ago, and on and on in this vicious cycle until eventually you throw in the towel, literally, and wrap a white towel around your body like a toga. Bada-bing, ancient Grecian. But where’s the fun in that?
Getting a Halloween costume should be exciting. The best way to make getting a costume better is by making a costume. Yes, with both of your bare hands. Making a Halloween costume can be as simple as finding unused stuff in the garage, under the staircase, or in the back of closets and turning them into something fun and creative. Turn your old toilet paper rolls into mac-n-cheese by painting them golden yellow. Use your old tupperware and glue them onto cardboard boxes to make Legos. Cut an old, black shirt up the middle and turn it into a children’s wizard cape. Use your kids’ creepy crawlers to glue onto stockings for a buggy costume. There are a million and one ideas for turning your old stuff into fun stuff, and all you need to do is be creative.
On to Hor d'oeuvres
Luckily for most moms, Halloween is a holiday for finger-foods versus of a fully-prepared meal. Instead of making a 20-pound turkey with all the fixings, you can focus your table on a few key appetizers. Halloween offers up a lot of creepy, crawly treats that are both easy to make and easy on the wallet. The scarier, the better.
Growing up, my mom loved making all of the Halloween food look like body parts. She sort of prided herself on her creativity. My favorite treat of the bunch: eyeballs made from boiled eggs, pinned with olives. Ghosts on a platter are the perfect sweet treat complete with reese’s peanut butter cups and whipped marshmallow topping. Go to the local grocer and pick up a couple pumpkin pies to decorate; choose your colors and make a witch, a skeleton or jack-o-lantern. But no Halloween snack table is complete without caramel and peanut butter popcorn, colored with reese’s pieces candies. Making delicious food really doesn’t have to break the bank.
Decorations are the one place where things always get a little out of hand. Either there is far too much to fit in the space and things go wasted, or there isn’t nearly enough and the space looks empty and unfulfilled. Thankfully, decorations don’t have to be biggest part of budget this year. Make a decorative pumpkin out of orange yarn and pipe cleaners. Use candy corn to make any clear flower vase pop. Turn white paper bells into cute ghosts using cheesecloth. Do you have an old candelabra in the attic? Use ebony tapers to spook it up. Make your living room look positively eerie by covering all the furniture in white sheets.
Halloween doesn’t have to be the hardest thing to plan if you have a few odds and ends lying around the house. Everyone knows kids love arts and crafts so recruit your little ones to join in the Halloween fun and help put together some of the cute decorations that inspire you.