Author: Terry Severson, Director, Savings Plans Marketing, First National Bank of Omaha

Whether it’s creative costumes, glowing jack-o-lanterns, or sugary sweets that you love, Halloween time is fun for adults and children alike. But while the season’s haunted houses and scary movies may have you spooked, you’re in for a treat from the NEST 529 College Savings Plan team—we’ve created a list of financial tricks that will help you save money this Halloween. What could be sweeter than that?

  1. Get thrifty: Secondhand stores are a gold mine for costume ideas. Not only are the items cheaper, but exploring the unique assortment of clothing options can be a fun adventure—who knows what gems you could discover? In addition, many thrift stores have decorations available—so you can stock up on affordable and festive home décor while you’re at it.
  2. Try DIY: Why spend extra money on a store-bought costume for your child when you can create their own that’s one-of-a-kind? Need inspiration? Go online—the internet is a valuable (and free!) resource full of do-it-yourself costume tutorials and tips.
  3. Phone a friend: You know what they say: one man’s trash is another man’s treasure—so call up your friends to have a clothing swap. Those old blouses collecting dust in the back of your closet may work perfectly for someone else’s costume idea. Pooling your resources is an effective way to go “shopping” without opening your wallet or setting foot in a store.
  4. Be a savvy sweets shopper: Shopping for candy at a bulk foods store will help you stock up your trick-or-treat supply in a cost-effective way, allowing you to get the most for your money. But before purchasing anywhere, be sure to compare prices. You may find that purchasing candy online—or even at your local dollar store—is the least expensive option. Scope it out to make sure you’re not settling too soon and missing out on a better deal.
  5. Make it a potluck: Hosting a Halloween party this season? Don’t let all the responsibility and expense fall on your shoulders. Instead, ask your guests to each bring one passing dish. If everyone pitches in just a little, it saves you time, money, and you’ll have a killer variety of different dishes to try.
  6. Find fun for free: Having a ghoulish good time doesn’t have to cost a pretty penny. Research what kinds of local events are being held in your area. Many community centers, zoos, and other local businesses offer Halloween-related activities at little or no cost to you and your family.
  7. Plan your pumpkin purchase: Many eager buyers rush to get pumpkins before the first leaf falls. Instead of hurrying your pumpkin purchases, wait until just a few days before Halloween—that way, you can still enjoy carving a jack-o-lantern, but you’ll be more likely to score deep discounts as stores push out the last of their Halloween inventory.

The financial future doesn’t have to be frightening, and using these tricks will make for a worthwhile treat when you see your spook-tacular savings at the end of the month. Have you tried one of these tips? Tell us about it on Facebook.