Take the Fear out of Halloween Planning with These Savvy Tips

Brad Merrill 15-10-2015

October is here, folks — which means Halloween is right around the corner. Have you finished planning your fall festivities yet?


If not, don’t worry! There’s still time to plan a great Halloween celebration — evenspanwithout a big budget. There are a ton of free resources online to help you do just that. Use them to your advantage, and you’ll be well on your way to throwing an amazing Halloween party this year.

DIY Costumes and Decorations


A great way to unleash your creativity and avoid breaking the bank is by creating your own do-it-yourself 7 Websites to Help Inspire and Make the Best Halloween Costumes Read More costumes. From a Rubik’s cube to DoodleBob or even a Disney VHS tape, the possibilities are endless.

And why stop at costumes? If you’re planning an event or even just decorating your home for the season, you can save some dough and show off your spooky, creative flair with some homemade decorations.

These Pinterest boards have thousands of ideas you can use for inspiration:


You’ll also want to check out James’s compilation of mind-blowing futuristic costumes Futuristic Halloween Costumes That Will Blow Their Minds Zombies are boring, Vampires suck, and witches are so passé. If you're looking for a costume this Halloween which goes beyond the normal, check out some of these futuristic delights. Read More  and Angela’s list of cheap and easy Halloween decorations 8 Cheap & Classic Halloween Decorations To Trick Out Your Home If you're stuck for time, the quickest way to make your house incredibly scary is to buy some classic decoration pieces from Amazon. Read More from last year.

When it comes to decorations, it’s a good idea to shoot for something reusable. Last year, people spent $2 billion on Halloween decorations alone — so if you can come up with some ideas that you can reuse year after year, you’ll be in good shape.

Beware of Pop-Up Halloween Shops

halloween city

Around this time of year, many businesses take advantage of short-term leases on vacant space to open pop-up Halloween stores that only stick around for a short time. While some of these are run by reputable companies, others are fly-by-night operations that sell poor-quality merchandise and disappear from the face of the earth in a matter of weeks. Watch out for these, and do your research before you give your business to an unfamiliar retailer.


The Better Business Bureau (US & Canada) website offers more tips about pop-up Halloween shops. Use the site’s search tool to research unfamiliar stores or websites.


Halloween Games for Kids


If you’re hosting little ones this Halloween, you’ll want to plan some fun activities for them to partake in. Luckily, the web offers plenty of tools and resources to help you make this a Halloween to remember for the kids.

  • Halloween Games on Pinterest is a collection of Halloween party games for all ages.
  • For a more exhaustive collection of games specifically for children, check out the Kids – Halloween Activities board. With over 1,000 pins to date, you’re bound to find something your kids will enjoy.
  • If you’re feeling extra creative, you can try putting together some of these Halloween carnival games. The kids will love it, and you’ll be long remembered for your spooky Halloween-themed carnival.

Online Fun & Games for Halloween

Don’t stop at party games — there are plenty of places for kids to have digital Halloween fun as well.

  • Let the kids tell spooky stories on Storyjumper or Storybird. For inspiration, check out “A Halloween Night,” a Storyjumper story created by a kindergarten class.
  • Kids can adopt their own monsters on Moshimonsters:

Be Smart with Your Invitations


If you’re sending out physical invites to your Halloween party, you’ll want to set the tone upfront with a unique card design. You could design them yourself, but to save some time, you may want to consider using a printable template from Greetings Island, Zazzle, or this Halloween Party Invitations Pinterest board.

But depending on the size of your guest list, the cost of sending out physical invitations can add up quickly. It may be wise to avoid physical cards altogether, instead inviting your guests electronically.


To avoid sacrificing aesthetics, you could use a service like Evite or Punchbowl to send well-designed, custom invites to your event.

Make things even simpler. Use Facebook Events to let people know about your party. In that case, be sure to make use of the event cover photo to add some visual appeal.

Buy Candy in Bulk


Whether you’re serving candy to party guests or handing it out to the neighborhood trick-or-treaters, you can save money by purchasing it in bulk, as opposed to buying a bunch of smaller-quantity packages.

Amazon has a great collection of bulk candy products here, and many of them are eligible for free two-day shipping if you’re an Amazon Prime user.

Trick or Treat Route Planning


If you’re taking the little ones out for a night of candy-hunting, it may be a good idea to plan your route ahead of time, rather than wandering aimlessly through the neighborhood.

Luckily, Nextdoor — the private social network for neighborhoods — has a nifty tool specifically for this purpose. At Halloween, it offers a “Treat Map” feature that shows which houses in your neighborhood will be giving out candy so you can plan your route accordingly.

Download: Halloween Treat Map for iOS (Free) | Android (Free)

Even if your neighborhood doesn’t use Nextdoor, you can use Google Earth to plan an efficient trick-or-treating route that covers all the houses you want to visit.

Ryan Hamilton did just that by tagging friends’ houses and houses his family knew from previous years have the best candy or decorations, and then drawing a route that covered everything in the most efficient way. Check it out:


Privacy is a major concern. When you are sending your kids out for trick and treating, for safety, take a look at Family Watchdog, which is a free service to help you locate registered sex offenders in your area. You can then adjust your Halloween route as needed.

CommonSense Media has a roundup of some of the best trick-or-treat apps here — check them out as you plan your route and embark on your journey!

Are You Ready for Halloween?

Have you finished your Halloween planning yet? What do you have in mind? Any other free party-planning resources we should know about? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

Image Credit: Sean Locke Photography via Shutterstock, Elena Vasilchenko via Shutterstock.

Related topics: Halloween, Planning Tool.

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