Have a Safe and Budget-Friendly Halloween this Year

In a very unique and sometimes scary year, families are looking to have a safe Halloween. Many traditional holiday activities may be limited, but there are still many ways to enjoy the season without breaking your budget:

Tips for Trick-or-treating During a Pandemic

Depending on where you live, trick-or-treating may not even be allowed this year. Having kids go door-to-door and grabbing candy from the same bucket might not sound like a great idea while we’re still dealing with the lingering effects of the pandemic. Even if trick-or-treating is allowed, are you comfortable with your kids doing it?

If you’ve thought about it and decided that you do want your kids to go trick-or-treating, take some precautions to have a safe Halloween. Have plenty of hand sanitizer at the ready and use it between each destination. Check on local social media, like Nextdoor, and see what precautions your neighbors are taking to keep everyone safe—stick to neighborhoods where you’re confident everyone is keeping things clean and healthy.

If you’re handing out treats, take some steps to keep everyone safe. Don’t turn the light on and welcome trick-or-treaters if you’ve been sick or had COVID-19 symptoms. Wear a mask whenever you answer the door, and consider creating individual goodie bags to hand out rather than forcing kids to reach into the same candy bowl.

All of the standard, non-pandemic safety tips apply as well. Give your kids a glow stick, lantern, or flashlight to ensure they are safe on the streets. If there are fewer kids out this year, some drivers might not be as careful as they should. Do everything you can to make sure your kids are safe both from coronavirus and as they move through the neighborhood.

Some more safety tips for trick-or-treaters:

  • Escort younger kids at all times.
  • Agree on a time for older kids to be home.
  • Make sure you know the exact route your kids will be taking in advance.
  • Advise kids never to get into a car with a stranger.
  • Make sure your kids wait until they are home to eat any treats.
  • If your kids have cell phones, use location-sharing features so you can track where they are at all times.

More Resources: Halloween Safety Tips For Your Home

Savings and Costume Safety on Halloween

Given that most kids probably won’t go trick-or-treating, do costumes make sense this year? Certainly, spending a lot of money on elaborate costumes seems like overkill, given our situation.

A better option might be to have your kids make their own costumes or masks—it’s a way to have a fun Halloween safely at home without spending too much. Consider having an online costume contest through Zoom, FaceTime, or another video conferencing app.

Masks can restrict peripheral vision and proper respiration. If used, masks should have “adequate holes,” or consider cosmetics to create fun or scary faces instead.

If the costume is going to be featured on camera, have the kids focus on make-up & spooky lighting, and don’t worry so much about a full costume.

Working on a Halloween costume can be a great chance for kids to learn a new skill, like simple sewing or crafting. If you’ve been forced to home-school this year due to the pandemic, you know that every moment can be a learning opportunity for your kids, and their education shouldn’t be relegated only to the schoolhouse.

Learn more: 6 Simple and Effective Homeschooling Tips for Parents

More Halloween Safety Tips and Money-savers

Halloween Cupcakes

Speaking of skills, cooking is a very important skill that many young people lack. A good opportunity to teach kids to cook something simple might be Halloween cupcakes. Supervise them closely, of course, but let them get creative and enjoy a home-made treat instead of store-bought candy.

Decorating the cupcakes can be a fun activity that combines cooking and crafting to teach your kids some self-sufficiency and develop their skills in the kitchen.

Pumpkin Carving

The CDC (Centers for Disease Control) has released some guidelines about Halloween safety this year, and they consider pumpkin carving to be among the lowest-risk activities for people concerned about COVID-19.

Pumpkin carving can be low-cost as well, but be on the lookout for pumpkins early, as there has been a national shortage so far this year.  It is expected that the pumpkin supply will be up to normal by Halloween and Thanksgiving, but weather in Illinois (our top state for Pumpkin growing) caused some delays with this year’s crops. The Illinois Farm Bureau assures us that there won’t be a shortage for the holidays, so there’s no need to buy expensive organic pumpkins for your Halloween pumpkin carving.

While pumpkin carving is safe from a COVID-19 perspective, be safe with the activity itself. Younger kids should decorate a pumpkin with paint and accessories, rather than trying to carve it with a sharp implement. Supervise any pumpkin-carving activities for safety.

Halloween Movie Night

Scary movies are a Halloween holiday tradition, but like we said earlier, this year’s been scary enough. Have fun with the classics this year and enjoy a fun monster movie.

To keep the movie night under budget, consider using a streaming app that lets you watch a movie through your local library. Hoopla, OverDrive, and Kanopy are some good apps that can let you stream movies for free with a participating library card. Check with your local library to see which service they use.

If you have the equipment and weather permits, you could even take the movie outdoors. This will allow for responsible social distancing and combine the feeling of a fall campfire festival with a family movie night.

Activities to Avoid

This is a year where not every Halloween activity is advised, so there are some things to stay away from:

  • Trick-or-treating if it’s not allowed in your area. If local health authorities are telling you it’s not safe, listen to them.
  • Crowded indoor Halloween parties. The virus isn’t taking the holiday off; keep any gathering outdoors and appropriately distanced.
  • Indoor haunted houses. Don’t go into any crowded houses this year, for any reason! If a haunted house is truly scary, it will elicit screams and squeals, which will only spread the virus more.
  • Parties where alcohol is served. If you’re drinking, your judgement could be impaired. That will make you less safe, and especially so during a pandemic.
  • Traveling to a different community. Whether it’s to go on a hayride or fall festival, avoid travel and stop the spread of coronavirus.

We want everyone to have a fun, happy and safe Halloween this year. We know kids grow up fast, and this is one holiday you don’t want them to miss out on, even for one year. But with some creativity and planning, you can make this year’s Halloween a memorable one.

Be sure to keep your celebration under budget, as the winter holidays are right around the corner, and this has been an unpredictable year for most people financially. If your finances have suffered, check out our free, personalized debt coaching, and take a free budgeting course from our online FIT Academy.

Speak to our certified Financial Coaches to review all of your options and discuss best strategies for getting out of debt.Speak to our certified Financial Coaches to review all of your options and discuss best strategies for getting out of debt.

About The Author

Melinda Opperman is an exceptional educator who lives and breathes the creation and implementation of innovative ways to motivate and educate community members and students about financial literacy. Melinda joined credit.org in 2003 and has over two decades of experience in the industry.