I love Halloween! It’s one of my favorite holidays, especially since there is so much to do, and it’s so much fun for the kids. I also love that you don’t have to spend a lot of money. Sure, you could go to the store and buy brand-new costumes and decorate your house like crazy, but it’s also a holiday you can do on a budget. Secondhand costumes purchased from Facebook swap groups? Check. Dollar store decorations? You betcha. Hitting up the free local trick-or-treating events? You can bet all of your Fun Size M&Ms on that.
Going online is a great way to celebrate Halloween without spending a penny, never mind a 100 Grand.
If you’re looking to get creative with your little ghouls and goblins this year, there are some great Halloween stencils available at the Totally Inspired blog. There are 15 free, printable Halloween pumpkin stencils which are great for creating awesome jack-o-lanterns, to decorate tote bags or t-shirts, or even to make your own Halloween decor. If you want more of this, The Spruce Crafts has a great list of free Halloween printables for kids, including coloring pages, invitations, and games.
There are loads of Halloween-themed games online at Disney.com featuring characters from movies and shows such as Toy Story, The Nightmare Before Christmas, Gravity Falls, and Phineas and Ferb. At Nick.com, you can find games and episodes from the likes of Spongebob Squarepants and Henry Danger. And, for the preschool set, Nick, Jr. has a section of Halloween offerings, including games, activities, and full Halloween episodes from some of their shows.
One of my kids’ favorite activities is to practice drawing at Kids Art Hub, which a friend introduced us to over the summer. They have a whole section of Halloween drawings to watch and follow for free on YouTube.
A new activity this year is the Grimm, Grimmer, Grimmest podcast from Pinna and best-selling children’s book author Adam Gidwitz. I’m especially excited about this treat, because I’ve been working as part of the team launching this project!. There will be 10 episodes of this spooky-but-still-kid-friendly podcast, with one released each day from October 21 through October 31. These can be listened to for free on the Apple Podcasts App.
If you are looking for some music to get you in the spooky mood, Pandora has a half dozen Halloween stations to stream, including a Family Halloween channel. You just need a free Pandora account to listen.
One thing about Halloween that I do not love is the pumpkin carving - what a disaster! ABCYa! has a fun, free virtual pumpkin carving game. However, I do love to roast the seeds from the inside of the pumpkin, and my go-to recipe for that is from The Pioneer Woman. I also use this recipe for roasting the seeds from butternut and acorn squash.
Finally, as a parent of a child with a severe peanut allergy, I applaud the work of FARE (Food Allergy Research & Education) and its Teal Pumpkin Project. This is a way of making Halloween safe for children with food allergies. Simply print out a sign and hang it on your door, indicating that you are giving out non-food treats for kids who may not necessarily be able to eat the Halloween candy given out by your neighbors. When the big night arrives, have some little toys or pencils or stickers ready to hand out to the children with allergies. I know I have a pile of stuff ready to give out myself.
Have a fun, safe, and frugal Halloween!
Jennifer Niederhoffer is the founder of Impress Media, an independent lifestyle & entertainment public relations and editorial services firm. You can follow her on twitter @impressmedia or @themommysreview.