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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 January 21, 2020

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

    Why You Need a Vision

    Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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    How to Create Your Life Vision

    Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

    What Do You Want?

    The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

    It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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    Some tips to guide you:

    • Remember to ask why you want certain things
    • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
    • Give yourself permission to dream.
    • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
    • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

    Some questions to start your exploration:

    • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
    • What would you like to have more of in your life?
    • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
    • What are your secret passions and dreams?
    • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
    • What do you want your relationships to be like?
    • What qualities would you like to develop?
    • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
    • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
    • What would you most like to accomplish?
    • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

    It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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    What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

    Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

    A few prompts to get you started:

    • What will you have accomplished already?
    • How will you feel about yourself?
    • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
    • What does your ideal day look like?
    • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
    • What would you be doing?
    • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
    • How are you dressed?
    • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
    • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
    • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

    It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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    Plan Backwards

    It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

    • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
    • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
    • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
    • What important actions would you have had to take?
    • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
    • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
    • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
    • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
    • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

    Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

    It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

    Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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