In doing some research, I find that I’m not alone in feeling the Halloween spirit this year. With consumer confidence at a 10 year high 179 million Americans will be celebrating, each spending a record setting average of about $86. See more fun facts from the US Census. While this may seem high for Halloween, consider that it includes spending on decor, candy, and costumes. Imagine if we only spent $86 each at Christmas! I may spend that on postage alone during the holiday season. This makes the argument for Halloween being a high-value holiday.
Halloween is my favorite time of year because it offers certain qualities other holidays lack:
- It’s an opportunity to be creative and try a new look. If your new look goes awry (like dying your hair red and it fading to pink), your office is usually pretty forgiving because you’re a good sport for even trying.
- Most people aren’t expecting much from the holiday. It’s much easier to meet or exceed expectations and feel like a rock star. Thanksgiving and Christmas are delicious, but too high-pressure for me. The expectations for food, decor, travel, and gifts seems high from the start, so even minor issues feel like a huge failing.
- Fall flavors are in full force and concerns over weight haven’t set in yet. I find that my cooking efforts in the fall go over much better than in November and December. Baked apples, hearty chili, autumn lasagnas, crumbs, and sangria are delicious… and consumed! Closer to the holidays we seem to be overwhelmed with tasty treats that puts everyone on the defense against food.
Halloween Tips from a CFP®
While many suggest saving money by being a “do-it-yourselfer” for costumes and decor, I completely understand that it’s not always possible. I fall flat on both fronts – time and craft skills.
- A reasonable alternative to crafting and retail is buying a previously worn costume from eBay or a yard sale site. A costume is generally worn for a few hours once, so you’re essentially getting “like-new” quality at a fraction of the price. If you need something oddly specific you can also employ the help of a creative type via Etsy or a local mom looking for a light project for a reasonable price. Also, don’t be afraid to re-sell your costumes starting mid-September. It will free up some space and give you cash toward this year’s endeavor! So far I’ve sold 4 this year.
- Its wise to buy decor for the following season, not the current season. This makes sense 2 fold. Prices start to be slashed mid-October and stock is practically given away after Halloween. You also know exactly what you already have and what you’re lacking. For example, Halloween decor has been making a debut mid-August. I can’t remember what I have already, what I need to replace, and what I’d like to add to my collection. Buying once you’ve had an opportunity to go through your stock pile makes shopping more deliberate.
- Candy is key! My suggestions above can’t be applied to candy, despite my grandmother thinking it was ok to save my candy or buy it post-season for the following year. Buying from wholesale shops (BJs, Sams, Costco, etc) provide great savings anytime during the season. Beware of local grocery stores and pharmacies that have ongoing “sales” on candy, which is really just a huge markup with a discount to bring it to typical retail pricing. Also, keep an eye out on the quantity. A cheaper bag may simply be less candy in a deceptively large bag, making the price per ounce extremely high.
- Collaborate with neighbors for a party. Rotate or share party responsibilities within your group of friends or neighborhood. Delegate food, drinks, decor, activities, baby sitting, and candy responsibilities. It’s a great way to spend an evening together, adults and kids alike.
- Use the photos from Halloween for a seasonal card. I love the idea of Thanksgiving cards and we also have notoriously good family theme costumes. The fall colors from Halloween work well for a Thanksgiving card which I can put together in early November, relieving me of one less chore for later in the season. I also seem much less stressed capturing Halloween photos vs the perfect Christmas family portrait.
From my family to yours – HAPPY HALLOWEEN!
About the Author
Quentara Costa, owner of POWWOW, specializes in elder care financial planning. She works with seniors by helping them articulate intentions, understand asset longevity, and transition into elder care communities. In doing this she can also work with the senior's family on creating their own financial plan that addresses their immediate and long-term needs.
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