Consumer Comeback Blog

Don’t Let Halloween Suck Your Family Budget Dry

The spookiest season is fun for ghosts and goblins of all ages, but Halloween can play tricks on your family budget. Americans are increasingly embracing Halloween by opening their wallets a little wider this year, a National Retail Federation survey shows.

The survey showed that seven out of ten, or 71.5% of Americans celebrate Halloween and related fall festivals, a record number in the survey’s 10-year history. The average person will spend nearly $80 on decorations, costume and candy this year, which adds up to an estimated $8 billion nationwide.

From the traditional to the topical, the average person will spend $28.65 buying or making a costume. People seek costume inspiration trends from the news, stores, social networks and do-it-yourself websites. More than one-third will purchase their costumes in a store, while 23.7% will consult family and friends, 15.2% will check Facebook and 7.1% will snag ideas from Pinterest.

There is any number of do-it-yourself Halloween costumes that cost next to nothing. Sure, you could do a number on the sheets and go as ghost or wear a toga, but here are a few costumes from household items you might not have thought of:

Bat: Bring that old black umbrella back to life by giving it wings – bat wings to be exact. Cut two segments of the umbrella along the spokes and apply a few loose stitches to the underside of a black sweatshirt. Make some pointy ears and hone your night vision for All Hallows Eve.

Grapes: Halloween may be all about sweets, but don’t forget about nature’s candy – grapes! Get a red, green or purple shirt, coordinating colored balloons, and fake greenery. Pin the balloons to your shirt, and make a headpiece from the greenery, and you’ll be the most nutritious snack at the party.

Cactus: A green sweatshirt and sweatpants, (inexpensive from a discount store) and white pipe cleaners. Bend and safety pin the pipe-cleaners all over the costume. Stand with your arms bent at the elbow and adopt a prickly attitude. Adding a flower, fake bird or lizard to your head would make it even more believable.

“Magic Mike”/Chippendale dancer: Black pants, bowtie, no shirt –no problem. Practice your hip thrusts and body rolls you are ready to go. If you really want to commit to the costume, you could shave and oil your chest and contour (i.e. draw in) your abs with some bronzer. If your chest isn’t in Channing Tatum shape, you could always channel Chris Farley’s skit from Saturday Night Live.

Adam and Eve: Get Biblical with your costume. All you need is underpants, glue, some greenery, a relatively good physique, a healthy dose of confidence, and high tolerance for cold.

Rosie the Riveter: Emulating this symbol of female empowerment could not be easier. Roll up your sleeves (navy blue button-down, if you have it), tie up your hair in a red bandana, and flex those biceps. You can do it!

Jellyfish: There’s something ethereal about jellyfish, perfect for Halloween. A clear vinyl umbrella and some bubble wrap can easily be transformed into a quick costume. If it rains on Halloween, you’re already set!.

Corpse in a body bag: For those who prefer their costumes to be a little more macabre, the corpse in a body bag is easy and quick. Raid the closet for an old garment bag, and hit the hardware store for some reflective stick-on letters. Cut a slits for your head, arms and cut off the bottom of the bag. Spell MORGUE across the front and back of the bag in stick-on letters. Give yourself a deadly makeover with pale/blue lips and some under-eye bruises, and even some fake blood.