Halloween isn’t just for kids; according to the National Retail Federation, the age group with the most plans to celebrate Oct. 31 is millennials. In fact, 81 percent of 18-34 year-olds plan to do something for All Hallow’s Eve, compared to 64 percent of the general population. 70 percent of millennials plan to dress in costume, and nearly half of us will throw a party.
While this annual event is intended to be light-hearted, spending can quickly get heavy-handed as we attempt to one-up our friends’ costumes and throw memorable parties. To avoid spending an arm and a leg this year, read on for practical ways to host a Halloween party.
Plan a Progressive Dinner
Instead of bar-hopping this Halloween, consider house-hopping! Plan a Progressive Dinner with your friends, where different courses are served at different houses. This enables everyone to show off their Halloween decor and culinary or mixology skills without being burdened with the cost and planning associated with hosting the entire bash. Plus, you’ll blend right into the crowds of costumed kiddos dashing from home to home.
Host a pre-party costume swap.
Pulling together a thrift-store ensemble isn’t terribly costly, but millennials on tight budgets can take frugality further with a costume swap. You likely have a few costumes for Halloween’s past still haunting your closet, so plan a time to exchange costumes with friends and family. You can rock their look from last year or put your own spin on their ensemble — zombie Katniss, anyone?
Organize a cheap costume contest.
Instead of focusing on the prettiest, scariest or most detailed costume, help everyone cut costs by rewarding the partigoer with the cheapest-yet-cleverest costume. Parameters are helpful in keeping this fair, so suggest costume costs can’t exceed a certain amount, like $10. After all, anyone can drop $70 on a pre-made ensemble from a costume shop, but it takes creativity to pull together ideas like these.
Let sales dictate your menu.
This advice is good for any time of year, as savvy shoppers know to create a menu based on what’s on sale (and not just what you’re craving in the moment). Since Halloween is a popular holiday, you’re sure to find deals on festive ingredients including pumpkin-inspired snacks and confections. Plus, you can search for grocery coupons online for additional savings, like $1 off Kettle-brand chips or $1 off fun-size candy bars.
Potluck for the win.
Considering the first question after accepting a party invitation is, “what can I bring?”, there’s no shame in accommodating your friends’ need to contribute. Craft a signature cocktail and ask everyone else to bring appetizers to share, or put together a simple spread of finger foods (pun intended) and request guests bring their favorite drink.
Compare prices and cut costs with coupons.
Comparing prices is the number-one way to save money on everything from food to decor to costumes. While millennials are big fans of Amazon, you should still shop around before you buy. For example, Amazon sells a popular ladies’ wig for $17. Not bad, but that same wig can be purchased from eBay for $10, including shipping. What’s more, coupons increase your savings once you find the best price.
DIY or dollar store decor.
Decorating for a Halloween party can quickly get out of hand if you head to the specialty shop first. Instead, leverage the tattered, unkempt spirit of All Hallow’s Eve and make some decor items yourself. Since the possibilities are endless, I’ll defer to the Queen of Crafting for top DIY Halloween decor projects. If crafting isn’t your thing, head to the dollar store for inexpensive decor items including festive party supplies like paper plates and cups.