Halloween Economics: Avoid Scary Overspending

Don't spend more than you need to for Halloween costumes this year.Halloween lovers are getting back to spending for this spooky evening and that’s music to retailer’s ears. Last year, Canadians spent more the $1.5 billion on everything from candy and costumes to elaborate decorations. Compare that to the $1.15 billion spent only six years ago on the holiday, and halloween economics are a bit frightening.

This increased spending has debt counsellors concerned.  “Halloween is a great time of year, but when the average Canadian is carrying more than $26,000 in non-mortgage debt it is wise to be cautious about how much money you spend,” says Jeffrey Schwartz, executive director at Consolidated Credit Counseling Services of Canada, Inc.

Turns out, the tendency to overspend on everyone’s favourite fright fest is downright terrifying.

Halloween is Exciting For Retailers

According to Statistics Canada, Canadians spend more than $60 each on their Halloween costumes and an additional $59 to dress up our pets It’s not a huge shopping affair like Christmas or Back to School, but this mid-fall event is juicy enough to get retailers amped to sell more. Store fronts of all types are filled with Halloween shopping inspiration; the trick is to stay on track with a budget and not give into the tempting displays.

 Where Can You Cut Back?

A family of four can spend close to $300 on this one night of trick or treating. Sadly, most budget conscious revelers say they are more likely to buy less candy for the kids than sacrifice on a great costume. Last year Canadians bought $322-million worth of trick or treat handouts, only 22 per cent of the total spend. The rest is spent on decorations and costumes.

If you would rather buy candy for the kids going door to door, Consolidated Credit Counseling Services of Canada has some tips to put a Halloween costume together for next to nothing.

Nothing Scary About Savings

Do It Yourself: If you are handy with a sewing machine, there are a number of free Halloween patterns that can be found online.  You can also raid your closet or children’s dress-up box and reuse parts of past costumes. The best part of a DIY Halloween project is that it doesn’t have to cost you a penny.

 Costume Swap: Most people, young and old, don’t like wearing the same costume year after year.  Get together with friends and neighbours and plan to exchange costumes this year.

 Buy Used: Swap-shops, second hand stores and online classifieds are all great places to find used costumes at amazing prices – and because Halloween only comes around once a year, most of the costumes are in great condition.

Costume Couponing: Check out Groupon, Wagjag and other group buying sites for huge Halloween savings.  As October 31st gets closer there will be plenty of deals at popular stores in your area.

Halloween, like all other holidays,  targets shoppers and wants them to spend more. The trick is understating how to get though this one night and then deal with the sugar high your kids will be on for days.

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