Each Halloween I wonder how one little holiday can be so darn expensive. The costume, the candy, the decorations, the parties — it all just makes me want to turn off the lights, close the blinds, curl up with a movie, and opt out of the whole Halloween extravaganza. And that's what I did, until I had kids. Now it's fun to see the little ones all dressed up, and with the right moves, it barely effects my bank account.

Costumes

1. Shop early and online to find exactly what your child wants in a costume at the best price. Use a site like nextag.com to search out the dream costume and easily compare prices. You will avoid the scary busy costume stores and the nightmare of not getting the right costume for your disappointed child.

2. Swap costumes with another family or use hand-me-down costumes from family members and friends. My daughter is young enough to happily dress as whatever her older cousins were in Halloweens past, and her younger sister and cousins are perfectly content with doing the same. You can also hold a Halloween costume swap with your neighbors to get an even better selection of costumes in a variety of sizes.

3. Unleash your inner Martha and make your child's costume. It can be fun, memorable and cheap, but it can also be time-consuming, so plan ahead.

Candy

4. The best way to save is to buy in bulk at a discount store. As long as you don't eat it all (like me) and have to go back out to buy more at the last minute, you can save money by avoiding the grocery stores.

5. You can also save big by buying generic candy instead of those pricier name brands. Candy is candy, and while there may be some little trick-or-treaters who turn up their noses at the generic stuff, they will probably eat and enjoy it just the same.

6. Hand out the candy yourself. Letting the ghosts and goblins who ring your doorbell reach into the bucket will ensure you of one thing — running out of candy fast. Hand out one piece to each child, and if they complain about the piece they got, tell them you are sorry and that you are sure they can trade with a friend or sibling.

Decorations

7. Stay away from the big stores when shopping for Halloween decorations. You aren't going to find any cheap spider webs or centerpieces at the specialty shops. Stick to discount stores or shop online.

8. Decorations are another chance for you to save money and get creative by making your own. There are lots of items that are simple to make from jack-o'-lanterns to candles.

Next Year

9. The best way to save on Halloween items is by starting early, really early. In the week following Halloween, shop around for items for next year. You'll be able to find deals up to 75% off on decorations and costumes.

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