12 Tips and Ideas for a Fun, Easy, and Inexpensive Halloween

Halloween is here! And although it's one of our favorite holidays, it can be time-consuming and expensive. Make it easier and cheaper while still adding unique creepy touches to your celebration with these tips and ideas.

Bruce and Jeanne Lubin
4-minute read
Episode #11

Finalize Your Thanksgiving Travel Now to Save

If you want to fly home for Thanksgiving, but don’t want to spend your savings, then you’ll love this tip from our friends at The Penny Hoarder. The best time to buy Thanksgiving airline tickets is about 60 to 70 days ahead. But it’s OK if you missed that window. Travel experts say prices don’t vary much until about a month ahead. As long as you finalize your Thanksgiving air travel plans by Halloween, you shouldn’t be paying ridiculous prices. You could also plan your travel for less popular days; specifically, Monday, November 21 through Friday, November 25. These hacks could save you 20 percent on flights, so be sure to mark your calendars! For more money hacks, visit ThePennyHoarder.com.

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Cheap and Easy Halloween Decoration

Adding stretchy cobwebs to the doorjambs and corners of your home is a great way to add Halloween flair to the entire house. Instead of buying the ones packaged as spider webs, though, simply go to a craft store and buy a bag of fiberfill. It’s the exact same stuff, and a 16-ounce bag of fiberfill is less than half the cost. You can usually find bags of plastic spider rings for super-cheap at party supply or superstores—add them to the webs and on tables around your house for more atmosphere, and encourage your guests to take them home!

Make Jack-o’-Lanterns Last Longer

A problem we used to have every Halloween was that our pumpkins got soft and mushy soon after they were carved. It turns out that this happens because air comes in contact with the inside flesh, allowing bacteria to grow. So to solve the problem of every jack-o-lantern looking like an old man, we now spray the inside of the hollowed-out pumpkin with an antiseptic spray, which slows down the bacterial growth and increases the time it takes for the pumpkin to deteriorate. Just make sure no one eats a pumpkin that has been sprayed! You can also try using WD-40 spray instead (just don’t use a real candle inside!).

Jack-o’-Lantern Candle Alternatives

A candle looks eerily beautiful when burning inside a carved pumpkin, but electric lights last longer and burn even more brightly. To give your pumpkin a long-lasting glow, curl up a string of Christmas lights, stick them in a clear plastic bag, and place the bag inside the pumpkin. Carve a small hole in the back of your pumpkin to plug the lights into an electrical outlet. Or, use a “wickless candles” which is a battery-operated fake candle, made to imitate the light from a real one.

To give your pumpkin a long-lasting glow, curl up a string of Christmas lights, stick them in a clear plastic bag, and place the bag inside the pumpkin.

Pumpkin Goop Scooper

When you’re carving your pumpkin this fall, rather than using a spoon or your bare hands to scoop out the goopy insides, try an ice cream scooper instead! Less labor, less sticky mess, and more time for the actual carving.

Estimate Your Trick-or-Treater Turnout

If you’ve ever stood in the Halloween candy aisle asking yourself, “How many bags should I buy?” you’ll love this tip. As you refill your candy bowl this Halloween, keep track of how many empty bags you’ve got at the end of the night. Record this number somewhere safe, such as on your computer or smartphone calendar. (You can even set a pop-up reminder for next year’s Halloween.) That way, you’ll know approximately how much candy to buy ahead of time!

Save on Last-Minute Candy Runs

If Halloween is coming up and you still haven’t picked up your candy, don’t worry! (There will never be a candy shortage in America.) The timing might be just right for discounts: Wait until the day before for eleventh-hour flash sales. Buy chocolates candies right after Halloween to use in baking projects! Put in the freezer and they’ll last for months.

Face Paint Remover

Face paint is an important part of our kids’ Halloween fun. But getting it off easily can be a problem. One trick that’s worked for us is olive oil: Simply rub it onto the skin with a dry cloth, then wipe off with a wet cloth.

Safe Storage for Vinyl Decals

Vinyl stickies look great on windows, doors, and other surfaces around the house. But when you remove them, they tend to wrinkle and stick to themselves, making them unusable for future Halloweens. Prevent damage to your decals by laying them flat on a sheet of aluminum foil; then top them with another sheet of foil and fold the edges over to protect them. Store the decals flat with your other Halloween decorations, and they’ll be in great shape for next year.

The floating goblin hand is sure to give your guests the creeps!

Halloween Punch Bowl Gag

Put a little fright into your Halloween party with this clever punch-bowl gag. Pour some punch into a latex or rubber glove, tie it closed, then place it in your freezer. Once it’s frozen, tear off the glove and put in in your punch bowl. The floating goblin hand is sure to give your guests the creeps! Do it in a different color punch for an even creepier effect.

Creepy Halloween Drinks

Getting dry ice to put at the bottom of the punch bowl is a bit difficult, so to make your punch seem haunted quickly and easily, freeze grapes to use as ice cubes. Once they’re frozen, peel off the skin and they’ll look like creepy eyeballs.

12 Tips and Ideas for a Fun, Easy, and Inexpensive Halloween

More Halloween Tips and Ideas

For more Halloween ideas from all over the internet, including ideas for food, check out our Halloween Pinterest board!

These tips are even more fun when you listen to them on our podcast—which also includes a Lifehack Lightning Round and more! Check it out on iTunesStitcher, or Spotify. And don’t forget to sign up for our newsletter and follow us on Facebook!

Photo by Who Knew?

About the Author

Bruce and Jeanne Lubin

Bruce Lubin and Jeanne Bossolina-Lubin are the proud parents of three boys and more than a dozen books. After saving thousands per year using everyday tips and simple lifehacks, they started their own business in the hopes of sharing their knowledge with others. They have been known to go into their friends' refrigerators to turn their eggs upside down so that they last longer.