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Cheap Halloween Party...
Now That's Not Scary!

Trying to figure out how to have a cheap Halloween party without it seeming...well, cheap?

cheap halloween party ideas Look through our ideas below to help keep your family budget on track. Use 'em or modify 'em - just be sure to have one scary celebration!

Getting started
You have a theme, right? Halloween, of course! But what about all the little details of that theme? Make sure you consider:

  • Making a budget. Before you even start getting excited about all the creative ideas, you need to know what you can and are willing to spend.
  • Involving the kids. They can have some of the best and most creative ideas. Depending on their ages, you can give them a part of the budget to spend or just have them make a choice between several options that already fit in the spending plan.

  • Having fun! The party isn't about the stuff - it's about fun. And that can be free.

Once you have those things covered, you can move on to the other cheap Halloween party details.

The cheap Halloween party checklist
There are four basic pieces of the party: food, decorations, games and party favors. You don't have to have all of these. You can mix and match as you choose. Here are our suggestions for each one.

Cheap Halloween party food
It is all about the Halloween theme and not just the traditional Halloween candy. Take ordinary food, add a twist and a place card to describe it - and you have a haunted buffet. Things like:

  • Bat and ghost chips: Cut out Halloween shapes in either flour or corn tortillas. Fry them and serve with blood (taco sauce or salsa) or slime (guacamole).
  • Monster munch: Your favorite crunchy snack (Chex Mix, anyone?) with added candy corn.
  • Vampire fangs with blood: Thin slices of apple along with strawberry dipping sauce.
  • Witches' brew: Take your favorite punch recipe (grape and orange mixed together makes a great black). Serve in a bowl with a frozen ice hand (made by filling a plastic glove with water and freezing) to keep it cold.

Halloween decorations - inside and out
The trick to cheap decorating? Get inventive and make things using stuff you already have on hand. Check out our Halloween decorating page for lots of ideas.

Witches' crafts and games
Halloween parties provide the perfect opportunity for easy crafts. And they can be taken home as party favors as well. Some basic ideas that don't require too much help or craftiness:

  • Make creepy spiders out of black construction paper or pom pom balls and black pipe cleaners. Decorate with movable eyes and glitter pens.
  • Paint small pumpkins. It's a lot less effort than carving and each child can usually manage on their own. Small pumpkins can usually be bought for $1.50 or less at the local pumpkin patch or grocery store.
  • Make tissue ghosts out of either tissue paper or Kleenex tissues. Tuck several wadded up tissues in the middle of another to make the head, tie it off with yarn or ribbon. Draw on faces with magic markers or glitter pens.

On the game front, keep it simple. Many Halloween costumes can be hard to play or run in. And the games need to be fun for everyone. Focus on creepy twists to traditional games. In addition to being cheap, they are easy to manage because the kids catch on very quickly. Try these versions of classic games:

  • Bobbing for apples. This is Halloween staple. If you don't want lots of heads going under water, have them use their hands but blindfold them.
  • Pin the hat on the witch.
  • Mummy wrapping contest. Use white crepe paper and teams of two to see who can wrap their mummy the fastest.
  • Spooky musical chairs. Play musical chairs with Halloween music. As kids go out, they can sit in the graveyard and act like tombstones.

The cheap Halloween party favors
If you aren't going to do crafts that can be taken home or want something to add to it, consider party favors that aren't edible. Most kids are going to have more than their share of candy and sweets anyway. Try something different! A few thoughts:
  • Awards for costumes. If this is really going to be a party favor, then every child needs to get an award. Print out award "ribbons" and write the award name on it. Get creative: Silliest Costume, Fanciest Dress, Scariest Pirate, etc. The more individual the awards, the easier to hand out lots of them.
  • Trinkets from Oriental Trading or US Toy You can get lots of these in bulk without spending much money at all.
  • Miniature pumpkins with a magic marker. These pumpkins can usually be found at a local grocery. The kids can draw their own designs or faces once they get home - just like an extension of the party.

These ideas should help you get started down the haunted path to a great cheap Halloween party. If you are still unsure of your party skills or are looking for additional ways to keep costs down, try a BYOB (Bring Your Own Boo) party. Have the guests bring the treats or games - and make it a contest to see who can bring the scariest, funniest or weirdest item.

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