NEW YORK (
) -- It's almost that time of the year when ghosts, ghouls and zombies come calling, but the scariest part of this holiday might be what you will spend on costumes, candy, decorations and parties.
In 2011, the National Retail Federation predicted that spending on Halloween related items would increase by $1 billion, making the holiday second in spending only to Christmas in the United States.
But you don't have to spend a lot of money to have a devilish good time on Halloween.
We talked to savings experts and compiled a list of ways you can save that will give you something to scream about:
1. Smashing the cost of pumpkins:
What's Halloween without at least one jack-o'-lantern's spooky glow? Jeanette Pavini, a savings expert with Coupons.com, advises not to jump the gun on bringing home the carving pumpkin. "Buy your pumpkins the day before Halloween," Pavini says. You may not get your pick of the patch, but you will save up to half off by waiting. As well, your pumpkin will not be DOA before the big day. If you don't want to mess with carving, even better, she says. "Get some mileage out of it," Pavini says. "If you have young ones, use stickers, colored markers or paint to decorate a pumpkin that will last through Thanksgiving."
2. Getting ghoulishly good deals on costumes:
Pavini says buying new costumes every year at $30 to $80 a pop can get expensive. She advises your money to rest in resale shops, where you can save up to 80% on the cost of a new costume. "Sweeten the deal by trading in your old Halloween costumes and get credit toward your purchase, or even make a profit," Pavini says.
3. Bringing costumes back from the dead:
You can also recycle costumes, says Brittney Hansen with HalloweenCostumes.com. Bee costumes are one of the most popular ones each year, but can be turned into a "zombee" costume, a queen bee or killer bee. Have an
Alice in Wonderland
costume? Hansen says it can easily be turned into a '50s housewife, Wendy from a popular fast food chain, a carhop or zombie Alice. Susie Cortright, owner of the site Momscape.com, says organizing a costume swap with family members or other moms in the neighborhood is another good way to save.
4. Create a monster:
You can make just about anything you want from items at home, says Crystal Stemberger, who blogs at
Budgeting in the Fun Stuff
. One of her favorite costumes, which she wore two years in a row -- and may be especially funny this year, given the referee controversy in the NFL -- was a blind referee. Stemberger says she made it using a black pair of pants, black-and-white striped shirt, dark pair of glasses and a dowel rod painted white. If you're short on ideas, Cortright says you can get plenty of them on