Halloween on a Budget


Consumer spending on Halloween-related items is expected to reach an all-time high of $10.14 billion, up from $8.05 billion in 2020, according to an annual National Retail Federation (NRF) survey. Wow! That’s a lot of money! But you don’t have to be a billionaire to enjoy Halloween. The NRF estimates the average consumer spends $102.74 on costumes, candy, decorations and greeting cards. As a result, Halloween is one of the cheapest holidays for an average consumer to celebrate.


Here are five ideas for Halloween family festivities that you won’t have to sell an arm and a leg to Dr. Frankenstein to enjoy.


  1. Poster Board Decorations
    There are two great things about poster board. It is inexpensive, and it’s a blank canvas. You’re only limited by your imagination. With a few bucks, the whole family can join in an activity of cutting poster boards into Halloween shapes. Some suggestions are Jack-o-lanterns, haunted houses, and a witch’s hat. You can add more detail and dimension to the cut-outs with markers. (If you have little ones, be sure to use washable markers, so you don’t stain clothing.) You could hang cut-outs around the house for decor or use them to make silhouette shapes in your windows visible from the outside! If you make your poster board decorations, share them with us on Facebook!

  2. Host a Movie Watch-Party
    Do you like scary movies? Pop some popcorn and invite some friends over for a movie marathon! If you have a smart-tv or standalone streaming device, there are quite a few free streaming apps, each with its selection of content. Several platforms have specially curated Halloween lists to put you in the holiday mood. We cannot endorse any platforms but suggest you perform an internet search for “free streaming services” to find recommendations from trustworthy websites. As always, exercise caution. You should only install reputable apps from trusted sources!

    If you’re like many of us and live in an area where reliable high-speed internet is hard to come by, you’re not out of luck. Most public libraries have a DVD collection. You can borrow movies for free with your library card!

  3. Shop At Thrift Stores
    Looking for decor, costumes, props, accessories and more? Don’t pay the full retail price. Shop around at thrift stores or garage sales to find second-hand items at a discount. There’s no reason to pay full price for once-a-year or one time use items. But be sure to plan ahead. Give yourself a lot of time for thrifting if you’re looking for hard-to-find or unique items. You don’t want to scramble at the last minute and pay more than you need to for brand new items because you don’t have time to locate a used item.

  4. Plan Out Your Trick Or Treat Strategy
    Save time, gas, and money by working out your trick-or-treat schedule ahead of Halloween. If you drive around just trying to wing it, you could get lost, stuck in traffic, circling around trying to find a place to park. Use map apps, know your routes, and plan your destinations ahead of time. Write or print out a list to keep in your car or on your person to stay on track.

  5. Carve A Jack-O-Lantern
    This one is a no-brainer. The timeless tradition of carving a jack-o-lantern never gets old and is fun for adults and kids alike. Pumpkins during the harvest season are plentiful and usually inexpensive. If you’re looking for more out of your pumpkin carving, search YouTube for tutorials of advanced techniques. For extra safety, consider using inexpensive, battery-powered tea lights, LEDs, glow-sticks or artificial candles to reduce the risk of fire. If you already have a string of smart LED lights, you could even make your jack-o-lantern glow to the beat of Halloween music from Bluetooth speakers for a fun and cool effect.

No matter how you celebrate October, BancorpSouth is Right Where You Are for your financial needs. Use our budgeting tool in your BancorpSouth online or MyBXS mobile platform to help track your Halloween spending! To download or update your app visit the App Store or Google Play.