Americans are expected to spend $8 billion -- that's billion, with a "b" -- this year on Halloween. That makes it the second-most expensive holiday behind Christmas.
Sure, you could pretend to be a hermit this year and turn the lights off while cowering in your dark basement, attempting to avoid the need for costumes, candy and decorations. But, that's not very fun.
Instead, use these eight tips to enjoy yourself while saving money.
Using what you have is cheaper than buying something new. Yet no one wants to dress up as a repeat of what they've been before. So, try these ideas instead:
Swap costumes. Solicit some co-workers or Facebook friends to join you for a costume swap. Everyone brings a costume, and everyone leaves with something that is new to them.
Repurpose old Halloween garb. Take a couple of core costume pieces and find a new way to use them. For instance, my daughter's red bandana from last year's cowgirl outfit can be part of a pirate costume this year. Turn to Pinterest or a Google search for the core piece around which you are going to build a costume.
Thrift it. If you or your kids insist on bringing a new costume into the house, head to the thrift store. You'll find plenty of choices in both kid and adult sizes, and the price will be right, especially considering the mere three hours of wear the costume will get.
DIY your face paint. Skip the overpriced bottles of face paint and costume makeup. Find recipes online for homemade face paint, fake blood and pixie glitter.
Shop online. Superstores offer nominal discounts, so they aren't the best place to go for a brand-new costume. Instead, head to websites such as Amazon.com, BuyCostumes.com or HalloweenCostumes.com. You'll find clearance-priced items and refer-a-friend programs that earn you credit for use throughout the site. Even with shipping costs, you can beat a big-box store's prices.
Wait to buy it. Grocery stores have already run their best sales on bagged candy. (I watch these things and know it is true.) There is no sense buying now; instead, wait until the very last minute in hopes that your local store will have marked down its remaining Halloween items by the time you get there on Oct. 31.
Recycle it. If your kids head out trick or treating early, they may come back with quite a haul. If you are one of those parents who don't allow your kids to keep everything they get, recycle some of that candy. When your little ones hit the hay, give away their extra candy to the older neighborhood kids who are still ringing the doorbell.
Skip chocolate and choose other candy instead. In general, chocolate is more expensive than other sugary candies. So, skip the chocolate bars and go for lollipops and other lower-cost sweets when buying candy to give out to your neighborhood ghosts and goblins.
What are you doing this year to limit your Halloween spending?
Carrie Rocha blogs at PocketYourDollars.com and is author of "Pocket Your Dollars: 5 Attitude Changes That Will Help You Pay Down Debt, Avoid Financial Stress, and Keep More of What You Make" (Bethany House, January 2013). She helps middle Americans live within their means so they can get out and stay out of debt. Follow her on Twitter at @CarrieRocha.