Save the green this Halloween

(Photo Illustration by Hannah Hunsinger | The Collegian)

Halloween spending has climbed $2.49 higher from last year, according to the National Retail Federation. In fact, it estimated that U.S. citizens will shell out approximately $7.4 billion (about $77.52 by the average person) in preparation for the holiday; $2.8 billion of which will be spent on costumes.

Many college students have less than $40, let alone nearly double that, to put towards anything but food. However, there are ways to keep your Halloween night fun while staying frugal.


Do-it-yourself projects make it easy to save money and allow for a touch of personal flare, so why not make your Halloween costume a DIY project?

First, you need to choose a Halloween costume that can be made at home. Ideas can be found online (Pinterest is a good source) or you can be original and make something up.

It’s important to consider your budget, as well as your crafting skill, when planning a DIY costume. For example, if you’re not skilled at sewing, making an entire outfit just from cloth may be really difficult and time-consuming.

The second step would be to decide exactly how much you are willing to spend on supplies. You can do your shopping at either craft stores or grocery superstores to find things like fabric, beads, paper, markers, paint, etc.

Finally, with your supplies, you can get to work making your costume. I’d suggest starting earlier than Friday, though.

Another costume cost that can raise the cost of Halloween for citizens is purchasing costumes for pets. The NRF estimated that $350 million with be spent on pet costumes alone this year. This cost can easily be slashed by reusing old pet costumes.

Or, if dressing up your pet in new costumes is important for you, budget for that and spend less money in other areas like candy and your own outfit.


Buying candy in bulk will lower costs dramatically. For example, buying a bag of candy that contains 155 pieces of Hershey’s candy is $25 online at However, if you buy 155 individual snack-sized pieces of Hershey’s candy, it would cost 64 cents a piece, according to the Idea Stage website. This would total $99.20 for 155 pieces of candy.

In this scenario, buying in bulk would save approximately $74.20.


Before spending money on Halloween decor, remember that a way to really cut down on spending is to print free decorations online. As long as you have a printer, this eliminates all costs except for printer ink. You can easily google banners and other decorative Halloween pictures to cut out and tape or hang around your living space.

Another option for decorations is to do it yourself. You can find ways to make different types of unique or general decorations. Just follow the same guidelines as the DIY costumes: pick decorations that relate to your crafting-skill levels and decide on the amount of money you are willing to spend on supplies before shopping.

The lifespan of the decorations is also something to consider when deciding whether to buy or make decorations. For example, printed or DIY decorations may not last as long as decorations made out of felt, wood or other more durable materials. However, in the short term, paper decorations will potentially cost less.

Consider, though, the option of investing in expensive and durable decorations, as suggested by Heather Shaw in her article, “How to Save Money on Halloween.” This could save you money in the long term, potentially for several years.

All in all, having a fairly inexpensive Halloween is completely possible. With these tips, college students can get into the spirit of All Hallows’ Eve without breaking the bank.

Emily Moore
My name is Emily Moore and I'm a senior majoring in English and mass communications with a minor in leadership. I love to read, write and edit. During my free time, I enjoy doing crossword puzzles, rock climbing and spending time with my friends.