Save Big on Halloween Costumes & Decor

By Lesley Kennedy, (

For us, the crisp October air means three things: Football season, Pumpkin Spice Lattes and Halloween.  And while tickets for the games are pricey and our frequent Starbucks runs add up quickly, it’s easy to save when it comes to creating fun costumes and decorating our homes for one of our favorite holidays.

DIY or buy?

If you’re not crafty or are super short on time, go ahead and buy a costume at your favorite Halloween retailer. Most are offering deals this time of year, and, when you shop through a savings site like, you can find deals, free shipping codes and receive Cash Back, too.

But if you don’t mind manning a glue gun or hunting through thrift shops for bargain clothing and accessories, save your money for candy and make your own.

So, what to be? According to Spirit Halloween, pop culture costumes reign supreme, with “The Walking Dead,” “Duck Dynasty” and Miley Cyrus and her foam finger leading the pack. In fact, Miley requests are so high that the retailer has released a “twerking” line, with a teddy leotard, party finger and Robin Thicke-style striped suit. (Get 8 percent Cash Back from

All three lend themselves well to DIY. “Duck Dynasty” fans just need camo clothes, beards and a duck caller. Zombie wannabes should stock up on makeup (obviously!) and tattered clothes. (Find great makeup tips here from the show.) To channel Miley, follow this fab tutorial from Basically, you’ll need a white T-shirt, boy shorts, a teddy bear and some time
spent in front of YouTube learning her moves. (Don’t worry, you won’t need to watch long – as Thicke’s mom said after the MTV performance, it can’t be unseen.)

Spooktacular décor

Halloween lends itself perfectly to decorating at home, so the good news is it needn’t cost a bundle. Here are three ideas to set the mood without getting bit, vampire-style, in the pocketbook.

1.) Buy foam pumpkins

 Yes, it would be amazing to fill your porch, tables and mantles with masses of pumpkins from your neighborhood patch, but those suckers are expensive. Instead, let the kiddos pick out one or two each, and then fill in the rest with affordable foam versions from your local craft store. (Find coupons here.) Leave them orange, or spray paint them black or white – adding stripes, polka dots, felt cutouts or whatever designs you like. Find ideas from Michaels here.

2.) Paint it black

 We love this eerie candle display from Martha Stewart. Grab up old candlesticks (or find cheap ones at your local thrift store) and spray paint them a deep gray for a gothic-style arrangement. So chic, it’s scary!

3.) Centerpiece artwork

Get the kids involved the next rainy (or even snowy!) afternoon, and make these paper pumpkins out of construction paper from Better Homes and Gardens. A little ribbon and glitter personalize the creations. Cheap, easy and fun? Hard to beat that.

Lesley Kennedy writes for (