The cost of celebrating October 31 shouldn’t be spooky. Here’s how to say “Boo!” without breaking the bank.

By Ingela Amundson
 David Prince


Steer clear of the costume aisle. Try some of these homegrown options instead.

  • Dancing With the Stars: Cover a tutu and leotard with glow-in-the-dark star-shaped stickers.
  • Breaking News: Staple torn newspaper sheets to old clothing.
  • Sick and Tired: Put a bicycle tire around your neck and a thermometer in your mouth.
  • Stick in the Mud: Wear an all-brown outfit and sew a large twig onto your chest.
  • Smartie Pants: Glue rolls of Smarties candies onto a pair of old pants.
  • Iron Chef: Wear a chef’s hat and carry an iron.
  • Quarter Pounder: Carry a quarter in one hand and a hammer in the other.
  • Tickled Pink: Don a head-to-toe pink ensemble with a pink feather boa.

Trick-or-Treat Supplies

Sweeten the deal. Drugstore “fun size” candy assortments average about 14 cents apiece. Oriental Trading Company ( offers lesser-known brands, like Wonka’s Laffy Taffy, at 12 cents a pop.

“Change” your approach. Younger tykes love to get money, so dole out loose coins in a small Baggie with a note reading, “Spend it any witch-a-way you want.”


Head straight to local farms. You’ll save $5 to $10 per gourd, since grocery stores mark them up at this time of year. (Go to for listings in your area.)

Give them a hand. Create a deliciously macabre (but fun) centerpiece by stuffing latex gloves with cotton balls, then adorning them with faux nails or costume rings.

Liven up your home with glow-in-the-dark paint. Decorative lights can cost $26 per string, so use the water-based paint ($5.95 for one ounce, to personalize pumpkins.

Be a bloody good host. Turn drinks ghoulish by adding red food coloring to ice trays before freezing the water, then plop into clear drinks. Word to the squeamish: It gets creepier looking as the ice melts.