$156. Let me spell that out for you so it really sinks in: One hundred and fifty-six dollars. According to the Today show, that’s how much the average family will spend on Halloween this year. And what exactly does this cover? One kids costume, one bag of candy, a pumpkin, and decorations. I’m not sure where the Today show staff are shopping, or how they determine who the “average” families are who are spending this insane amount of money on two hours of sugar-fueled legal trespassing, but hearing this number I
nearly soiled my britches.
That’s a week’s worth of groceries from the fancy organic store we can’t afford to shop at.
That’s a car payment.
That’s a round trip plane ticket from Seattle to Las Vegas.
But don’t fret! They also offered up some helpful tips for how to save money this year, like, for example, shop around. Some bags of candy, they said, could be found for $3 dollars cheaper at certain stores. By my calculations, that still brings your Halloween total up to an outrageous $153 dollars, but hey, I’m not exactly a math whiz. They also recommended shopping early, as prices on this years crop of limited pumpkins will just go up, as will the cost of a can of the good stuff when pie season rolls around. Now that’s some helpful advice!
So what’s a non-average family like mine supposed to do this holiday season, after changing our soiled britches? First, I’d say have a good old chuckle. Suggesting the “average” family can (or should) comfortably afford $156 for polyester, peanut M&Ms and a pumpkin is absolutely ludicrous. Like, really, really bat shit insane.
I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not what people would call crafty, but being in possession of at least one half of a brain, I do have some ideas about how you can enjoy this holiday without wasting 10 hours of wages on garbage.
Two words: Dollar Store. This place is amazing. Everything is a dollar. I don’t even know how that works, but they have bags of candy, for you guessed it, one dollar. You don’t have to be the house that hands out full-sized Snickers. Let your more “average” neighbors bear that burden.
Two more words: Consignment shops. Halloween is pretty much the only holiday where the worse you look, the more compliments and candy you get. And if you want to go a more traditional route (read: Elsa dress) their racks are loaded with perfectly good costumes just waiting for their encore appearance. Or, have a throwback Halloween and make your costume from crap lying around your house like we had to do when we were kids. True story, by using a white sheet and a colander, I was a milk jug one year. Before you make fun of me, take into consideration that our costumes had to fit over our snow suits.
If we’re being honest, decorations are only for the neighbors. The adult neighbors, that is, as the kids really only care about the candy. But if you must, let’s not underestimate the spook-factor of a dark house with a few candles in the windows and scary music playing. And ghost tissues. Lots of ghost tissues.
Regarding the purchasing of the pumpkin, if, as the segment suggested, you are buying a single pumpkin, you should come in well under the projected $156 total as long as the pumpkin you select is smaller than a smart car, and you keep your ghost tissue numbers limited to the amount of tissues in one box.
Halloween is awesome. Don’t let the scariest thing about it be the cost.