Spooky lights, inappropriate costumes, and sugar-induced comas somehow create warm fuzzies when we think about the end of October. If we can ignore the general weirdness and occult history surrounding this holiday, trick 'o treating is a really great time to spend with friends and neighbors. Regardless of your beliefs, this time of year can serve as a big community builder. But don't ignore the inevitable. While Halloween is all fun and tasty games for the kiddies, who gets stuck with the bill?
If Halloween hasn't popped up on your radar yet, realize it's just a couple weeks away. If you care a lick about your finances, don't make a desperate run to Halloween Central for last minute expensive costumes and full-priced candy. The holiday season has just begun. Pace yourself.
Trick 'o Treating Etiquette
Before we dish on the coupons and hotspot stores for candy, agree to accept the terms below:
Rule #1: NEVER leave candy in a bowl on the front porch.
This is either ridiculously rude or just encourages gluttony. These are kids we're talking about! They usually don't bite (and if they do, they aren't rabid). Open the door and say hello. Or if you can't be home on Halloween, don't put anything out and leave the light off. Kids don't need buckets of candy, so don't dangle it in front of them.
Rule #2: Choose the lesser of two evils.
Try to buy the good stuff like 3 Musketeers or Peppermint Patties that have far less calories and fat than Snickers or Butterfinger. At least chocolate has a tiny bit of nutrient value that will feed the body in a positive way. But it's a special holiday! Give the kids whatever they want! All this "specialness" has made 30% of all kids obese. If you must buy the extreme sugar candy, choose sour ones. Kids like them better anyway and they take longer to eat. Check out more tips on the best and worst candy for trick 'o treaters before buying.
Rule #3: Don't freak the kids out.
A little big of fog and blinky lights won't send anyone to therapy. But please refrain from jumping out from a coffin dressed like a Dexter victim.
Candy and Treat Coupons
Deals change quickly! Your best bet is to combine manufacturer coupons with store deals to maximize savings. Pharmacy stores tend to have the best candy deals, but don't forget to check your local grocer's weekly ad online.
Manufacturer Coupons available from Sunday Inserts
Alternative Treats and Non-sweets
If you're concerned about the massive consumption of sweets and it's effect on your children's dental plan, you aren't the lone voice out there. Your tiny costumed visitors will welcome something different and fun (that isn't a barrel of apples or floss). Seriously consider something inedible to hand out. Most of these alternatives are much cheaper than chocolate!
Presentation is a big key to getting kids excited about non-candy treats. Decorate a box to look like a pirate chest and kids can pick from the "booty" inside, or place your treats inside a black cauldron. Your house will soon become the annual hotspot!
You know you'll need one. But if you wait until the last minute to do something about it, you'll end up making yourself into a bunch of balloon grapes. We've all seen that before and it's not a smart strategy for tight spaces. Start now so you can save some money and keep most of your dignity.
Some of us are gifted with creativity and generate awesome costumes like the Cereal Killer (a bunch of cereal boxes stuck on a bloody white t-shirt). Others of us can't brainstorm our way out of a paper bag. Don't feel guilty for admitting defeat and buying something already assembled. With a coupon code you can splurge for the fancy premade costume without paying a fortune.
Stay tuned to Coupon Sherpa for more coupons and buy quickly! As Halloween approaches prices go up while you're stuck choosing between a living-dead mini-skirted vamp or Mr. Potato Head.
Savings for a Spooktacular Shindig
If you're going to get a costume, you may as well have a party. If you're going to have a party, you need to do it for cheap. The following ideas are mainly for younger guests, but feel free to modify for a more mature crowd. Here's a menu, list of decorations, and approximate prices for everything. No excuses! Host a fantastic party for under $140 including your own costume and Halloween treats for the neighborhood! To cut a few corners, make sure your guests know you will serve sweets and some appetizers--set your party time a little after dinner so they can get more substantial food before coming.
Table and Room Decor
Position the boxes on your dining room table so that the higher ones are in the middle and the lower ones are farther out toward the edges (the idea is to make several levels with the tall ones in the middle). Lay the tablecloths on top and secure them to the boxes with tape. Stretch your cobweb across the top of the tablecloth and secure in the corners. Serve your food on the clear or white trays on top of the boxes. Punch will be served from the cauldron, so make sure you put it and the cups toward the edge. Randomly place spiders on top of the cobweb.
Drape the other cobweb in the corner of another doorway in the house and decorate with spiders. If you're short on money, get a bag of orange balloons and draw jack 'o lantern faces on them. Attach to furniture or leave them on the floor. Using plain pumpkins, large and small, as well as various gourds arrange a beautiful fall display on a side table, then eat them for dinner the next night! For an impressive bat emergence, trace and cut several bats using this template and paint both sides with glow-in-the-dark paint. Tie several specimens to your ceiling fan and after the guests are assembled, let the bats circle overhead.
A party is only as good at its food. Make yours especially ghoulish and folks will chat about it for years. Party food doesn't have to be catered and it doesn't have to be cheap either. Check your imagination at the door if you want--see below for a ready-to-go Fall Fest menu!
Get things loosened up with some fun. If folks are willing to show up in tights and painted faces, they're willing to be foolish and ghoulish all night!
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