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10 Ways to Make Halloween a Little Less Scary on the Budget

5. Save when saying "bone appetit": Costumes are one of the biggest expenses, but candy for the big night ranks right up there. Larry Kirchner, editor of HauntWorld Magazine, offers these tips: "Don't overestimate the amount of candy you will need, be realistic, buy in bulk and choose hard candy, which is less expensive than soft candy." Pavini also advises consumers not to open all of the bags of candy until you need them. "Open candy bags one at a time. That way if you don't finish them, you can return the bags that you didn't use."

6. Go Walking Dead for deals: If you're a coupon shopper, now is the time to look in those Sunday circulars and online for coupons that will help you save on Halloween-themed items. Stephanie Nelson, with CouponMom.com, says that all through this month there will be in-store sales and coupons as well as online coupons for candy and party-themed treats. She says to also watch for coupons to local hayrides, haunted houses, pumpkin festivals and other fall-themed activities, which can run as high as $20 per person without coupons or discount tickets offered at local retailers.

7. Find the trick to the treat bag: Cortright says instead of buying a disposable treat bag, it might be fun to get crafty with your kids and make a cloth one that can be carried from year to year. "All it takes is some fabric markers and a pillowcase," Cortright says. "Your kids may even want to add to the decorations on their treat bags each year, creating an ever-evolving memento of Halloweens past."

8. Haunt garage sales: "You can find cheap Halloween decorations at garage sales," savings expert Andrea Woroch says. "In the weeks leading up to the event, scour your neighborhood for any yard sales and see if any seasonal goods are available." Cortright says you can also find a variety of freebies online. "They are easy to find and may include anything from printable coloring pages, mazes and craft ideas to templates for decorations and stencils for creative pumpkin carving."

9. Give new life to the party: If you're having a Halloween party, says Lisa Raynolds, savings expert with RedPlum.com, you don't have to kill your budget. She advises to plan your party food around savings. "If you find a fantastic coupon, don't dismiss it simply because the item is not usually on your party list," Raynolds says. "Planning your party hors d'oeuvres at the same time as reviewing coupon offers and store circulars lets you take advantage of really great deals, and try new recipes." As for decor, cover helium-filled balloons with a white cloth to give the appearance of ghosts and replace your regular light bulbs with black ones.

10. Plan for the day after the dead have risen: Rise and shine. It's never too early to start planning for next year. As with other holidays, you can find some great deals on costumes and decorations, says Howard Dvorkin, CPA and author of the book Credit Hell: How to Dig out of Debt. "If you buy a costume right after Halloween, your friends may think you are crazy, but it's never too early to start planning for next year," Dvorkin says. We wouldn't recommend saving on candy for next year, though; it might be a little too scary by next Oct. 31.

Kerri Fivecoat-Campbell is an Arkansas-based journalist who writes for TheStreet and MainStreet on personal finance, small business and leisure/travel issues.

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