Have a happy — but not ex­pen­sive — Hal­loween

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - FEATURES - Kris­ten Hagopian is a Syn­di­cated Ra­dio Talk Show Host, Colum­nist & Au­thor of Bril­liant Fru­gal Liv­ing. She co-hosts WCHE 1520’s Morn­ing Show, and “Dad and Daugh­ter Talk Real Es­tate” with lo­cal Keller Wil­liams Real­tor John Her­reid Wed­nes­days at 5:00P (www.j

As we dive into an­other beau­ti­ful October, it’s time to plan for an­other fab­u­lous Hal­loween. Lat­est fig­ures have Amer­i­cans shelling out about $75 (or more!) per cos­tumed, candy-lov­ing kid. My bud­dies with chil­dren are al­ready qui­etly groan­ing, and who can blame them? Hun­dreds of dol­lars for a bas­ket of sugar and a costume the kids wear for 3 hours? Not ex­actly a slam dunk in­vest­ment. Here’s the good news – our won­der­ful kids can still en­joy a fab­u­lous, sug­ared-up Hal­loween in an out­stand­ing costume, sur­rounded by fab­u­lous dé­cor, with bas­kets of sugar rush­ing choco­late, and we can pay about 75-80 per­cent less than the na­tional av­er­age to do it. Read on for ef­fort­less strate­gies on how to pull it off.

First things first – the costume. In most Hal­loween stores, th­ese cos­tumes weigh about 3 ounces, and cost any­where from $50$100 (or more). Don’t think so. In­stead, hit your lo­cal Good­will where racks upon racks (upon RACKS!) of fan­tas­tic cos­tumes, in per­fect con­di­tion, in all sizes, await you, usu­ally for $5 or less. The lat­est movie themes, the lat­est videogame themes, the lat­est princess themes, the cos­tumes are fab­u­lously var­ied and de­light­fully priced. Score!

Next, the dé­cor for the house – I have two words. Dol­lar Store. If you haven’t been in there in a while, stop by when you can. The se­lec­tion is fan­tas­tic. Win­dow dec­o­ra­tions, room dec­o­ra­tions, bal­loons, stream­ers, party plates and cups – it’s all there. Best part, th­ese dec­o­ra­tions are pretty sturdy – once Hal­loween is done, throw it into a bag, leave it in the closet un­til next year, and you can pull it back out with no ef­fort and no cost.

Last, but not least – the candy. I’ve heard from count­less read­ers sug­gest­ing a great money-sav­ing, healthy tip is to give small toys or pen­cils as gifts in­stead of candy. This is just me talk­ing here, but I’m beg­ging you not to be that house. We were all young once, we all re­mem­ber the house that gave out the pen­cils. Let’s not be that house. In con­trast, we also re­mem­ber the house in the neigh­bor­hood that gave out the full-size candy bars, and how we vowed pure and eter­nal love to them as we raced away. You get the point.

Now, I’m not ad­vo­cat­ing for full size candy bars to ev­ery kid, but I’d like to strike a happy bal­ance be­tween get­ting the kids ex­actly what they love, just not pay­ing an arm and a leg for it. My best bet has al­ways been the ware­house stores for the bags of small candy bars – you can buy it in huge bags, and pound for pound, they have the best prices.

Let’s face it, the most im­por­tant thing about this Hal­loween is that the kids have fun. Put th­ese few tips to work, and the kids will have a fab­u­lous time, with­out break­ing the bank. Ev­ery­one’s a win­ner!. Happy Hal­loween, gang — Fru­gal On!

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