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10 Ways to Save Money This Halloween

10 Ways to Save Money This Halloween

Halloween is probably the most fun holiday of the year, isn’t it? Sure, you can stuff yourself with Christmas dinner and revel in all the socks and underwear that your relatives have given you, but on what other occasion can you dress up in a costume, run around in the dark pretending to be something you’re not, gorge on sweets, and howl at the moon? This is a perfect opportunity to delight in all things dark and spooky-like, and you don’t have to break the bank in order to celebrate in style.

Costumes

Naturally, one of the most important aspects of Halloween is a good costume. Some people go all-out and spend an entire year creating an outfit that will blow all their friends away, but that takes a lot of time, energy, and money. You can put together some really great costumes for a fraction of the cost with a few of these simple suggestions:

Pool Resources

Get together with a bunch of friends, and bring everything in your closet that could possibly be used as part of someone’s costume. Do you have a feather boa left over from a friend’s stagette? Bring that. An old frilly blouse that you’ll never wear again? Bring that too. Your friends might have some pieces that can inspire your own costume idea, and an item that you bring might be the key element in another’s ensemble.

Go Thrift Shopping

Used clothing stores like Goodwill, Value Village, or a myriad other secondhand shops are absolute treasure-troves when it comes to putting together outfits, but the key is to hit them up early: there’s usually a mad rush at the end of October when people search for last-minute costume ideas, and you want to get in ahead of the crowd. These shops sometimes carry wedding gowns, evening dresses, and suits for $5-$10 apiece, and accessories can be as cheap as a quarter. If you already have an idea in mind for what you’d like to dress up as, definitely shop around the thrift stores to see what you can find. If you’re stumped, a visit might inspire you.

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Decorations

Hit the Thrift Store Again

Another great thing about thrift shops is that they tend to carry decorations as well. Some of the trendier places may have Halloween decorations like spider webbing, window decals, etc. for a third of what regular stores will charge, but you might also find some unique treasures that can be tweaked slightly to interesting effect.

Are you familiar with those porcelain angels and cherubs that some people decorate their homes with? Those can very easily be painted black, and then decorated with white accent paint to create flying skeletons. If you find old dolls, they can be aged with paint effects to look downright terrifying. Imagine a display of creepy dolls set around white-painted pumpkins? *shudder*

Dollar Stores

It’s nearly guaranteed that there will be a dollar store somewhere in your area, and you will undoubtedly find some interesting stuff in there to decorate your place with. Go to the craft section and pick up some packages of construction paper for $1 each: you can cut out shapes like bats or skulls and make garlands of them. In the party section, you’re sure to find orange and black streamers that you can intertwine, and depending on the size of the shop, there might even be a dedicated Halloween section.

Print Your Own

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For invitations, spooky bottle labels, gift tags, and headstones, you can just print your own and stick them onto the surface of choice with a bit of glue or mod podge. Do a quick google search for free Halloween printables, and when you print them out, you can augment them with some extra calligraphy or drawings of spooky things.

Candy

Whether you’ll be throwing sugary treats at neighbourhood kids or collecting candy for a party, you’ll need a wide variety to keep everyone happy. If you pick up those pre-packaged packs at the supermarket or pharmacy, you’ll spend an insane amount of money for very little.

Go to a Bulk Food Store

These places are absolutely incredible, seriously. It’s best to give yourself a strict budget when going, otherwise you might end up in a feeding frenzy and spend far more than you’d intended: I’d recommend taking some cash out and leaving your debit and credit cards at home, lest you be tempted.

If you’re handing out candy, fill your bags with items that are packaged individually so you don’t run the risk of scaring anyone with the possibility of tainted food. Wrapped toffee bites, gum, rockets, lollopops, miniature candy bars—these are all perfect for giving out to the wee trick-or-treaters, and are far cheaper in bulk than pre-packaged.

If you’re amassing candy for parties, you can go for the bulk goods that aren’t wrapped, as it’ll just be friends, family, etc. who are eating it. You can go nuts with everything from candy corn and eyeball gobstoppers to liquorice spiders.

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Speaking of parties…

BYOC (Bring Your Own Candy)

If you’re throwing a party, feel free to ask guests to contribute to the buffet! You can even word things in your invitations to imply that every visiting ghost, goblin, witch, sorcerer, and zombie must bring an offering for the altar (or somesuch). This keeps your cost down, and you might be pleasantly surprised to discover new snacks and sweets that others may bring.

Meals and Snacks

BYOF

As with the “Bring Your Own Candy” idea mentioned above, make your Halloween party event a potluck one: the more that others contribute, the less you have to make.

3:1 Ratio of Inexpensive:Costly

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Remember that some of the best foods out there aren’t necessarily the priciest ones. Snacks like “spiderweb eggs” are super-easy to make for the simple cost of a dozen eggs (hard-boiled) and a bit of black food colouring. You can make a spicy snack mix with a combination of salted nuts and assorted dry cereals, and hit up Chinatown for some inexpensive raw produce like baby carrots, celery, cauliflower etc. as crudites. For every 3 items you have that are low-cost, you can splurge a little bit and spend a little more on 1 luxury item. Maybe you’d like an avocado to add some green goo (not to mention deliciousness) to your table, or some bocconcini balls to stuff with olives as eyeball canapes; either way, if you stick to this ratio, you’ll keep your costs down gorgeously.

Drinks

It really goes without saying that no celebration is complete without lovely libations to toast at the witching hour, but I’ll mention it here all the same.

Non-alcoholic drinks are far cheaper to create than the boozy versions (obviously), but you can follow the 3:1 ratio you used for your food when dealing with drinks as well, to great effect. Non-alcoholic drinks like the cream soda based Harry Potter-themed Butterbeer (which calls for both butter and cream) can also be made with margarine and milk. Mulled apple cider or juice is easy to make, and merely requires some cinnamon sticks and cloves to be simmered in the liquid for about 30 minutes.

If you make a couple of these inexpensive drinks, you can splurge a little bit and pick up a small bottle of black vodka to make drinks like a Screwed Up Screwdriver (with orange juice) or a Berry Scary Martini (with cherry or cranberry juice).

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Catherine Winter

Catherine is a wordsmith covering lifestyle tips on Lifehack.

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Last Updated on December 2, 2019

10 Powerful Ways to Stop Worrying and Start Living Today

10 Powerful Ways to Stop Worrying and Start Living Today

Plato knew that the body and mind are intimately linked. And in the late 1800s, the Mayo brothers, famous physicians, estimated that over half of all hospital beds are filled with people suffering from frustration, anxiety, worry and despair. Causes of worry are everywhere, in our relationships and our jobs, so it’s key we find ways to take charge of the stress.

In his classic book How to Stop Worrying and Start Living, Dale Carnegie offers tools to ditch excessive worrying that help you make a worry-free environment for your private and professional life.

These are the top 10 tips to grab worry by the horns and wrestle it to the ground:

1. Make Your Decision and Never Look Back

Have you ever made a decision in life only to second-guess it afterwards? Of course you have! It’s hard not to wonder whether you’ve done the right thing and whether there might still be time to take another path.

But keep this in mind: you’ve already made your decision, so act decisively on it and dismiss all your anxiety about it.

Don’t stop to hesitate, to reconsider, or to retrace your steps. Once you’ve chosen a course of action, stick to it and never waver.

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2. Live for Today, Package Things up in “Day-Tight Compartments”

You know that feeling: tossing, turning and worrying over something that happened or something that might, well into the wee hours. To avoid this pointless worrying, you need “day-tight compartments”. Much as a ship has different watertight compartments, your own “day-tight” ones are a way to limit your attention to the present day.

The rule is simple: whatever happened in the past or might happen in the future must not intrude upon today. Everything else has to wait its turn for tomorrow’s box or stay stuck in the past.

3. Embrace the Worst-Case Scenario and Strategize to Offset It

If you’re worried about something, ask yourself: “What’s the worst thing that could happen?” Could you lose your job? Be jailed? Get killed?

Whatever the “worst” might be, it’s probably not so world-ending. You could probably even bounce back from it!

If, for example, you lose your job, you could always find another. Once you accept the worst-case scenario and get thinking about contingency plans, you’ll feel calmer.

4. Put a Lid on Your Worrying

Sometimes we stress endlessly about negative experiences when just walking away from them would serve us far better.

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To make squashing that worry easier, try this strategy, straight from stock traders: it’s called the “stop-loss” order, where shares are bought at a certain price, and then their price development is observed. If things go badly and the share price hits a certain point, they are sold off immediately. This stops the loss from increasing further.

In the same manner, you can put a stop-loss order on things that cause you stress and grief.

5. Fake It ‘Til You Make It – Happiness, That Is

We can’t directly influence how we feel, but we can nudge ourselves to change through how we think and act.

If you’re feeling sad or low, slap a big grin on your face and whistle a chipper tune. You’ll find it impossible to be blue when acting cheerful. But you don’t necessarily need to act outwardly happy; you can simply think happier thoughts instead.

Marcus Aurelius summed it up aptly:

“Our life is what our thoughts make it.”

6. Give for the Joy of Giving

When we perform acts of kindness, we often do so with the expectation of gratitude. But harboring such expectations will probably leave you disappointed.

One person well aware of this fact was the lawyer Samuel Leibowitz. Over the course of his career, Leibowitz saved 78 people from going to the electric chair. Guess how many thanked him? None.

So stop expecting gratitude when you’re kind to someone. Instead, take joy from the act yourself.

7. Dump Envy – Enjoy Being Uniquely You

Your genes are completely unique. Even if someone had the same parents as you, the likelihood of someone identical to you being born is just one in 300,000 billion.

Despite this amazing fact, many of us long to be someone else, thinking the grass is greener on the other side of the fence. But living your life this way is pointless. Embrace your uniqueness and get comfortable with who you really are: How to Be True to Yourself and Live the Life You Want

8. Haters Will Hate — It Just Means You’re Doing It Right

When you’re criticized, it often means you’re accomplishing something noteworthy. In fact, let’s take it a step further and consider this: the more you’re criticized, the more influential and important a person you likely are.

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So the next time somebody talks you down, don’t let it get to you. Take it as a compliment!

9. Chill Out! Learn to Rest Before You Get Tired

Scientists agree that emotions are the most common cause of fatigue. And it works the other way around, too: fatigue produces more worries and negative emotions.

It should be clear, therefore, that you’ve got to relax regularly before you feel tired. Otherwise, worries and fatigue will accumulate on top of each other.

It’s impossible to worry when you are relaxed, and regular rest helps you maintain your ability to work effectively.

10. Get Organized and Enjoy Your Work

There are few greater sources of misery in life than having to work, day in, day out, in a job you despise. It would make sense then that you shouldn’t pick a job you hate, or even just dislike doing.

But say you already have a job. How can you make it more enjoyable and worry-free? One way is to stay organized: a desk full of unanswered mails and memos is sure to breed worries.

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Better yet, rethink about the job you’re doing: What to Do When You Hate Your Job but Want a Successful Career

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Featured photo credit: Tyler Nix via unsplash.com

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