Beware of the Hidden Costs of Halloween
Halloween will really ding you if you let it because, well, Twix ain't cheap. But it's the hidden costs that will take a huge bite out of your budget.
The National Retail Federation says the average person will spend $86 on Halloween this year, and that includes candy, a costume, and decorations. I don't know. Does that seem low to anybody else? Eighty-six bucks might be the case for the extremely disciplined types who aren't influenced by impulse buys like talking headstones that emit fog, and buy-three-get-one-free bags of candy bars. Twist our arms.
If you have three kids who want elaborate costumes for themselves, and they want to dress up the dogs like hot dogs, all this can add up in a hurry. There are plenty of extra costs we may regret in November.
Yahoo did some analysis and suggested that we might actually be on the hook for about $320 this Halloween. It's those darned greeting cards! Why do those things have to be so expensive? The categories of Halloween spending aren't necessarily "hidden," because we know we're going to spend money on candy and costumes. It's the frills, upgrades, and last-minute oh-what-the-hecks that will end up draining the budget.
The Scary Costs of Halloween, according to Yahoo:
1. Candy -Average cost for 2 bags: $16.64
Tootsie Roll Midgies are on the less expensive side, but the premium kid favorites like Hershey’s Miniatures can cost a lot more. We'll have to fight the urge to buy the cheap stuff to pass out at the door, while we save the best gooey stuff for the pantry.
2. Kids’ costumes -Average cost for 2: $46.97
The deluxe kid costumes with crowns, shoes, and toy weapons can cost $35 each. At least we have some great social media pics to show for it.
3. Adult costumes -Average cost for 2: $89.75
Some wild Elton John glasses might get you by, but if you can't cobble something together at home and end up ordering your costume online, the models will suck you right in with how cute they look and you could spend a lot more trying to replicate it.
4. A pumpkin -Average cost: $3.42
A pumpkin for less than four bucks may happen at the grocery store, but if you take the family to a pumpkin patch you might be spending twelve on one the same size. It's easy to get sucked in by the fun fall atmosphere and lose our wits. The cost of the pumpkin depends on what's around it.
5. A bowl for treats - Average cost: $18.30
True! And we forget about the bowl adding to the cost of Halloween. Fancy, seasonal bowls look festive, but they're not cheap. You just hope the kids notice the details while they're grabbing candy.
6. A basic decoration -Average cost: $27.05
Cobwebs aren't that expensive, but glow-in-the-dark skeletons can be the equivalent of half of a grocery bill or more. The more lights, noise, and fake smoke, the more expensive it is. And in November when it's in the attic, we'll wonder why we had to have it.
7. An interactive decoration -Average cost: $78.35
You could spend $159 for a human-sized skeleton that freaks out people on your sidewalk when it rattles its chains and flashes lights. It can be reused next year, but this year's budget takes a hit.
8. A pet costume -Average cost: $11.41
Dogs and cats dressed like sunflowers, pumpkins, birds, or hot dogs may be priceless, but the costumes themselves are not. Headgear antlers may cost around five dollars, but TV and movie-inspired pet costumes might run $20 or $30.
9. Horror movie collection - Average cost: $20.67
Yahoo found that downloading a horror film collection can cost about three times as much as buying it on DVD. Streaming might be cheaper on Netflix or Hulu, or you could have everyone at your marathon party chip in a few bucks.
10. Greeting cards -Average cost for 3 cards: $9
I've never sent a Halloween greeting card in my life, have you? But Yahoo says Halloween is right up there with Christmas, Valentine's Day, Mother's Day and Easter as a major greeting card holiday. Grandma likes getting mail, so maybe we can send her one.
This spending list is already huge, and they're not even counting the school parties we have to contribute to or the second costumes that we have to buy when we learn that someone at the office costume party already has our first idea.
You know who's not spending much at all this Halloween? Those folks who bought up all of the old costumes, decorations, and greeting cards right after Halloween in 2018. All of it was 70 percent off and we'll never know it's a year old ..Unless it's a really hard Tootsie Roll. Buying Halloween stuff on November 1 might be a strategy to employ for next year.