With witches, werewolves and vampires stalking the streets, Halloween is frightening enough already. And that’s before you check your bank balance.
But the cost doesn’t have to be scary.
With the spookiest night of the year right around the corner and Bonfire Night following shortly after, we take a look at ways to keep costs down without missing out on the fun.
1. Pick a low-price pumpkin
Supermarket fruit and veg aisles have been overflowing with piles of plump pumpkins since the start of carving season. But where are they the cheapest?
Our analysis of the UK’s largest online supermarkets found Morrisons, Sainsbury’s and Tesco all selling medium pumpkins for £1, but if you’re prepared to go into a store we found Lidl selling pumpkins for just 99p.
Waitrose was twice as expensive as its rivals, with medium pumpkins on sale for £2 each.
Asda doesn’t sell medium pumpkins online, only large ones for £1.50.
Tesco was the only store that had pumpkins on special offer, with large pumpkins priced at £2 each or two for £3.
- Find out more: is Lidl launching online grocery delivery?
2. Find the cheapest Halloween treats
Keeping tricksters at bay doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Especially if you keep your eyes peeled for sweets on special offer.
Wilko has halved the price of its pick and mix for the Halloween season. Until 31 October, a regular cup will cost £1 instead of £2, while medium and large will cost £1.50 and £2, respectively.
If you’re looking for treats that are slightly more terrifying, B&M has a range of themed sweets on offer under its ‘#Squad Ghouls’ promotion.
Marshmallow brains, gummy eyeballs, and even candy blood are all available at low prices.
For healthier snacks, Tesco currently has ‘easy peeler’ clementines and mandarins on special offer at 79p for a 600g bag.
You can compare prices on Halloween-themed treats at all the major supermarkets using mySupermarket.
See where you should shop with our reviews of the best and worst supermarkets.
- Find out more: what was the cheapest supermarket in September 2019?
3. Try DIY decorations
Cheap plastic decorations aren’t hard to find in the lead-up to Halloween. But to save money, and get more creative, you could craft some yourself.
Of course, you could have a go at carving pumpkins, but you don’t have to stop there.
Search your attic, or some charity shops, for old dolls. Some of these are creepy enough on their own, and most can reach Chucky-level scariness if you apply a bit of paint.
You could also print out paper decorations – such as skulls, spiders’ webs and personalised gravestones – to stick around your home.
Search YouTube for step-by-step tips on DIY decorations, like the video below from HGTV Handmade:
4. Make your own Halloween costumes
Decorations aren’t the only thing you can make yourself.
There are loads of videos online that show you how to create terrifying looks using your everyday makeup, without buying fake blood and face paint.
Similarly, you can find online inspiration for ways to make creepy costumes out of clothing and materials you already own. However, you might have to ruin some of them in the process.
From the immortal ghost costume made from a sheet to a more complex bat costume made from an umbrella, there really are endless possibilities.
This article from Good Housekeeping has dozens of ideas for inspiration.
If you do decide to buy a costume from a shop, though, make sure you know it’s safe. Which? testing from 2018 found that some kids’ Halloween fancy dress outfits did not meet British safety standards.
- Find out more: Halloween kids costumes fail flammability testing
5. Find free fireworks displays
Fireworks displays can be explosively expensive, but luckily some of them are free.
The website Free Events lists several free bonfires and firework displays over the next few days.
Browse the site to find something free to do in your area on Halloween, or over the weekend and Bonfire night.
6. Watch scary movies for less
No Halloween is complete without watching a scary movie.
Rather than paying for a trip to the cinema, you could catch up on a classic at home.
The Which? Film Finder Tool can help you figure out which of the many streaming services have what you are after. Search for your favourite horror film and you’ll be able to find the cheapest place to watch it for free (using a subscription), rent it or buy it.
7. Save on scary games
Traditional Halloween games, like taking it in turns to tell scary stories, are completely free. But if you want to make things a little more high-tech, Halloween is a great time of year to save on video games.
Steam and GOG have discounts on hundreds of PC games – mostly scary ones – for the next few days. The PlayStation Store is also offering up to 60% off across a range of creepy and thrilling classics such as Resident Evil 2 and Devil May Cry 5 until 1 November.
8. Stock up on next year’s supplies
Other than pumpkins, which are unlikely to last until next October, you can save money by buying almost everything you need for Halloween right after the season has passed.
Most shops will want to clear out their themed products quickly in order to make way for Christmas goods, so at the start of November you might find major bargains on treats, costumes and decorations. Buy them now to cut next year’s Halloween and Bonfire Night costs to almost nothing.
- Make your money go further all year round with our money-saving tips section