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How to have Halloween on a budget

In case you haven't noticed, Halloween has become a big deal. In some places only Christmas and Easter are bigger in terms of sales. Do you want to join in on the fun without blowing your holiday budget before November? There are ways.

Candy — The staple of Halloween, is still remarkable inexpensive. Even the "good stuff" — you know, the name brand treats like "Snickers" and "Kit Kats" is sold in smaller portioned Halloween bags for very little. Feel free to stock up.

Costumes — Halloween is one of the few times adults get a chance to play "dress up." But costumes can be expensive. However, with a little imagination you can be the hit of the party without breaking the bank. For example, if you have a long bathrobe with a hood then all you need to do is add an $8 toy light saber from Walmart and you are 90 percent of the way to having a completed Jedi Knight costume. Chances are you have enough stuff tucked away in your attic or garage to make just about any kind of costume. Be creative.

Games — Do you want to have a party but need ways to "get it going?" Throw in a party game or two. The point of any party game is to just get folks interacting. This doesn't have to be hard. A good Halloween ice breaker is to divide your guests into teams of three or four. Supply them with a few roles of toilet paper. One of the guests stands still while the others on the team wrap him or her up like a mummy. Set your own criteria for judging and have a ball.

Decorations — You can go all out and buy streamers, tablecloths, etc. OR you could take the easy way out. Halloween is a nighttime holiday. Light your room only with candles and you have instant ambiance. You can skimp on the decorations — no one will be able to see them anyway.

Have fun.

Written by Chip, the father of two school-age children who inspire creative thinking when it comes to working around a budget.

October 2011