Spooktacular ways to save money this Halloween


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While the National Retail Federation  is expecting record spending this Halloween of around $100 per person, revelers might be planning to focus more on Halloween savings this year. Inflation is scarier than ghosts. Luckily, creativity is one of the hallmarks of Halloween, and Halloween savings are easy to achieve. Here are 31 ways to do it.

Get Creative with Costumes

Costumes may be the best part of Halloween. You can “be” anyone or anything for one night. But costumes don’t have to be expensive. In fact, with a little creativity you can have a great costume for almost nothing.


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1. Rent, Don’t Buy

Sites like Halloweencostumes.com and Costume.com offer theater-level costume styles for rent for a fraction of the purchase price.

2. Make your own

Extend Halloween fun by making your own costume. The internet is full of innovative ideas — homemade costumes that turn the wearer into jellyfish or fairies, or that create illusions, like someone sitting on a flying carpet.

3. Hit the Thrift Store

Thrift stores and surplus stores can not only provide the materials for a costume, they can also give you ideas: buy a wedding dress and become a ghostly bride or purchase a lab coat and become a mad scientist. You also might spot great savings on fall fashions while you’re at it.

4. Swap Costumes with Friends

Swapping costumes with friends is a great way to save money. And your outfit from last year may be someone’s dream costume for this Halloween.

5. Look For Sales

You can look online, at Halloween retailers, and at regular discount stores that sell costumes. Some may have sales to boost early purchases, or to clear out inventory as Halloween gets closer.

Decorate on a Budget

As a fruit, you would think pumpkins would be a super cheap decoration, but that’s not always the case. There are, however, some easy ways to haunt your house magnificently and take advantage of Halloween savings at the same time.

6. Become a Prop Master

There are tons of videos online explaining how to make everything from real-looking spider webs to authentic tombstones and creepy candles, such as these from Van Oaks Props  . And if you’re particularly eco-friendly, you can substitute toxic chemicals and unsustainable materials like Styrofoam with more sustainable

7. Repurpose Last Year’s Decorations

Rework the decorations you used last year to create a whole new look. Give that mummy a hat, or have the witch you made last year hide behind a bush this time. If you’re crafty, a bit of paint or touch of glue can give your decor a whole new look.

8. Hit Garage Sales

Check out local garage sales and estate sales for decorations other people are ready to discard. You can often find some cool vintage treasures!

9. Trade Decorations with Friends

Tired of your old skeleton? You can switch it for a pal’s ghoul or light-up graveyard. You can offer up your old decorations on social media or just have everyone gather and trade like Halloween market.

10. Try the Discount Stores

Super discount stores often have tons of great decorations for almost nothing. Dollar stores, surplus stores, Spirit Halloween stores, and others can provide garlands, Jack o’ Lanterns, skeletons — you name it.

11. Scan Thrift Stores

A thrift store is like a treasure hunt inside a shopping trip. You never know what you’ll find at a thrift shop but you’re sure to find inspiration for decorations!

12. Don’t Forget the Lighting

Lighting changes everything. Put a green or purple bulb in a lamp and a basic room is automatically made spooky, especially if you’re lighting something from below. Check out these eerie lighting techniques  for ideas on how to decorate your space.

13. Make Creepy Shadows

With nothing more than some paper and scissors you can make scary silhouettes  for the windows: a werewolf looking in, or a dagger-wielding murderer for example. Put in front of a flashlight, they can even create some large, scary shadows for a spooky wall.

14. Scary Music Makes Ambiance

The most ordinary scene can feel terrifying when you add scary music. You can look online for options from classical pieces like Dance Macabre to soundtracks from horror movies complete with howling winds, distant church bells, and crows calling. There are even spooky tracks available on streaming services like Spotify.

15. Look for Pumpkin Deals

Most Jack O’ Lantern pumpkins cost less than $10 but if you need more than just one, the pumpkin costs can mount quickly. Some retailers have special offers on pumpkins that can really squash your spending.

16. Grow Your Own

It’s too late this year but you can grow your own pumpkins next year, and maybe grow other decorations to use for fall like corn husks and twisted tree branches that can later be made into haunted forests and witches’ brooms.

17. Shop in November

Everything Halloween related goes on deep discount on Nov. 1 to make room for the upcoming holidays. Many people take advantage of these closeout sales to save money while also stocking up on decor for the following year.

Low-Cost Ways to Celebrate Halloween

Haunted houses and ghost tours can cost as much as $50 per person, but there are a lot of ways to celebrate Halloween without spending a scary amount of money. Try hosting your own party, where you can save on food by shopping the sales, using coupons, and having potlucks.

18. Look for Coupons

Groupon and other coupon sites offer discounts on haunted houses and other spooky activities. Just make sure you read the fine print. Some coupons may require you to visit during the week or might only be valid for specific shows.

19. Show a Scary Movie

Hold a movie marathon where your friends and family create the lineup by bringing their favorite scary films. Or tune in the Halloween classics on television. Serve popcorn and inexpensive Halloween candy. And if someone has a projector, you can show it outside and make it that much spookier.

20. Host a Costume Contest

Consider inviting the kids to dress up and compete to create the scariest, funniest, and even most creative costumes using items they already have at home. The prizes don’t need to be expensive, just something from a dollar store.


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21. Carve Jack O’ Lanterns

Have friends bring their own pumpkins and have a Jack O’ Lantern carving potluck. You can even roast the seeds and serve them as a snack.

22. Scary Makeup Party

Have a get-together where you paint your faces with inexpensive makeup to look like werewolves, vampires, and banshees. Watch some internet tutorials for inspiration as you get into the Halloween spirit.

23. Tell Ghost Stories

This is a great activity to do in the dark, maybe even around a fire with some s’mores. Have everyone come with a ghost story to share.

24. Have a Seance

Also great to do in the dark near a glowing fire, you can use a Ouija board or other tools to speak to the departed. It’s extra fun if one or two people hide out and make ghost noises.

25. Have a Haunted House

You needn’t put on a big production. Simple things can bring a lot of spooky fun like hanging old pictures and telling spooky stories about them while leading participants around darkened rooms. Play scary recordings and have someone hiding behind a few corners to jump out. This Old House’s Bob Vila has a lot of haunted house ideas  .

26. Check Out Local Haunts

Do you have a house, an old church or another place in town that’s known to be haunted? How about a neighborhood that really goes to town on the decorations? If so, Halloween is the perfect night to go visit.

27. Check Out Local Free Events

Look for local churches, malls, or schools that are putting on free Halloween parties or fall festivals for the community. Ready-made fun.

Save on Treats

Halloween just isn’t Halloween without the candy. But you don’t have to spend a fortune to keep you and your Trick or Treaters happy.

28. Buy in Bulk

Get giant bags of candy from club stores like Costco or Sam’s Club. They can provide you with enough candy for the whole neighborhood, and a party at home.


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29. Visit Low-Cost Retailers

Low-cost retailers like Walmart and Target often have special large bags of candy that may be on display in the holiday aisle rather than the regular candy aisle. If you can’t find it, ask for help.

30. Use Coupons

You can look for retailer coupons that give you a few dollars off your candy purchase, or even offer a buy one get one free deal.

31. Focus on the Fun

On Halloween, people are ready to be tricked, to be scared, and to believe the illusions that give them a little thrill of mystery. Instead of worrying about impressing others, focus on having good experiences and creating lasting memories.

The Takeaway

Halloween is about the kind of fear that gives you goosebumps, not sleepless nights. With today’s inflation, and a need to stretch dollars further than before, it might be a lot less scary, in a good way, to focus on savings this year.

With the ability to track your day-to-day spending and set financial goals, SoFi Relay money tracker app may be the tool you need to keep the ultimate tabs on your funds. While you pursue Halloween savings, you can get real-time updates on how much you have left to spend, leaving the fear in the festivities and out of your finances.


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The irresistible draw of ‘dark tourism’


No matter how sunny and pleasant our outward dispositions may be, there’s no denying that most of us have a morbid side. We may not express it openly all the time, but it’s usually there in some quantity.

One of the more recent expressions of humanity’s morbid curiosity is the phenomenon known as “dark tourism.” While regular tourism mostly consists of visiting familiar and innocuous landmarks, a burgeoning industry has cropped up around people who want to visit the sites of some of mankind’s darkest chapters.

What follows is a list of locations where people in pursuit of dark tourism can get their fix. Quite a few of them have been turned into museums or memorials that somberly and appropriately commemorate what happened on these hallowed grounds. Others are simply sites where bad things happened, and local authorities hope to capitalize on those bad things to make a buck.

If Disneyland’s not your thing and you want to visit its polar opposite, let this list of dark tourist destinations be your guide. You may not get a T-shirt out of it and there may not be too many selfie opportunities, but you’ll get the chance to satisfy your curiosity about some places that are well off the beaten path, to say the very least.

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Montserrat is an island in the Caribbean that was the site of a huge volcanic eruption in 1995. That eruption of the Soufrière Hills volcano would have been bad enough on its own, but it remained active and continued to erupt several times, and thousands of the island’s residents were forced to flee.

The volcano remains active today at varying degrees of severity, but whatever it’s doing, it can be viewed from a safe distance at the Montserrat Volcano Observatory. Another attraction is the city of Plymouth, which was buried under lava and can be seen from the Montserrat Springs Hotel.


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For the average tourist, a visit to Paris means seeing the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower, and the Arc de Triomphe. For the dark tourist, the city’s greatest attraction is its underground catacombs, which contain the remains of millions of Parisians. On the attraction’s website, it’s made clear that this subterranean network of bones is not for everybody.

The catacombs are not wheelchair-accessible, but beyond that, the website also discourages visits from “sensitive individuals” and says that children under 14 must be accompanied by an adult, because “the direct confrontation with bones may be overwhelming.” Of course, for the dark tourist, these are actually selling points.


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One thing that’s difficult for young people today to understand is how omnipresent the threat of nuclear confrontation was during the Cold War. This was particularly true during the 1980s, when the United States and the Soviet Union were vying to be the most armed nation on earth.

If you can’t explain this to young people well enough, just take them to the Titan Missile Museum near Tucson, Arizona. Its primary attraction, naturally, is an actual Titan II missile that was ready to be launched at a moment’s notice from 1963 to 1987. It’s a fascinating trip back into a not-too-distant past, and the sight of an actual missile puts the history into perspective better than any words could.


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The concept of dark tourism isn’t new, but it became a familiar term to a lot of people in the wake of the 2019 HBO miniseries Chernobyl, which told the story of the 1986 nuclear accident at the Chernobyl power plant near the Ukrainian city of Pripyat. It was the worst nuclear accident in history, causing untold thousands of deaths, and it was rivaled only by the 2011 incident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Japan.

Despite the seriousness of the accident, the miniseries kicked off a wave of tourism that saw some visitors taking inappropriate selfies at the site of the accident. Most of these were mercifully taken down when Craig Mazin, the HBO miniseries’ screenwriter, implored them on social media to remember what had happened there. “If you visit, please remember that a terrible tragedy occurred there,” he said. “Comport yourselves with respect for all who suffered and sacrificed.”


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The Darvaza gas crater is located near Darvaza in Turkmenistan. It was identified by Soviet engineers as the possible location of an oil field, but when they drilled into it in 1971, it collapsed and began spewing gas, which the Soviets lit on fire in an attempt to burn it off. 50 years later, it hasn’t stopped burning.

The crater has since become a tourist attraction, and these tourists have been a much-needed source of income for the area, so while it might seem a little weird to take two weeks off from work to visit a location with the none-too-inviting nickname “The Gate to Hell,” you wouldn’t be the first person to do so.


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As anyone who went to the movies in 1997 knows, the Titanic was a ship that set sail in 1912 and was thought to be unsinkable. It sank anyway, but that hasn’t stopped people from being interested in the incident more than 100 years since it happened, and the OceanGate Titanic Survey Expedition is taking advantage of the continued interest by offering tourists the opportunity to descend to the site of the wreck.

The catch is that tourists wishing to see the remains of the ship need to be trained as mission crew specialists. Depending on which package you get, the fee will set you back anywhere between $25,000 and $150,000. After paying that hefty sum, we hope your heart will go on.


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Hiroshima is a city in Japan that was the first ever to be the target of a nuclear weapon. The United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city on August 6, 1945, and within seconds most of the city was destroyed and over 100,000 people were killed.

Today, the city has been rebuilt and it would be hard for many people to tell that it had been almost completely destroyed, and it’s currently one of the top tourist destinations in all of Japan. Visitors to the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum have numbered in the hundreds of thousands per year.


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Three days after the bombing of Hiroshima by the United States, Japan was the target of a second atomic bomb, this one dropped on the city of Nagasaki. As was the case with Hiroshima, Nagasaki suffered enormous damage and thousands of people were killed.

Nagasaki was also rebuilt after the war, and like Hiroshima, it has a healthy tourism industry that emphasizes the city’s port location and many scenic views. However, there’s no escaping its history, so tourists who are interested in learning more about what happened that August morning can visit the Nagasaki Peace Park, which has a memorial museum and a black monolith on the park grounds that marks the epicenter of the explosion.


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Robben Island is north of Cape Town in South Africa, and from the late 1600s until 1996, it was a prison. Many of its inhabitants were political prisoners, including Nelson Mandela, who was incarcerated there for 18 years. After the fall of Apartheid, Mandela became President of South Africa, as did two other former inmates at Robben Island, Kgalema Motlanth and Jacob Zuma.

Despite its dark past – or maybe because of it – Robben Island has become a tourist destination. The tour includes such must-see attractions as the graveyard for people who died from leprosy, and wraps up with a viewing of Nelson Mandela’s prison cell.


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The Aral Sea is not a sea but a lake, situated between Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. Or rather, it used to be a lake, until it began to shrink in the 1960s, and then became completely dried up in the last decade. The Soviet government decided to redirect the two rivers that fed into the Aral Sea in an attempt to irrigate the desert and make it arable land for such crops as cotton and rice. Long story short, the body of water that was once as big as Lake Michigan is now mostly a wasteland, and may never recover.

The Aral Sea is now a tourist attraction, which is pretty incredible considering that it’s an ecological disaster that was caused entirely by human beings. However, that’s kind of the point – tourists are coming to see it while it’s still there to be seen, which is a situation that seems to have an unknown but inevitable expiration date.


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For people who are seeking dark tourism that’s as dark as possible, it’s hard to beat the Murambi Genocide Memorial Center. It’s one of six centers near Rwanda that commemorate the Rwandan genocide, and it contains the remains of approximately 50,000 victims.

According to the Center, there are “848 preserved corpses laying on display on wooden tables… The open hall on the ground floor of the main building now has an exhibition describing the context of the genocide. An additional two rooms contain burial chambers, where preserved human remains can be viewed through smoked glass.”


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The National September 11 Memorial & Museum is located in New York City and commemorates the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. It’s located at the site of the former World Trade Center, and the memorial features photos of the almost 3,000 people who were lost on that day.

“Located at the World Trade Center in New York City, the 9/11 Memorial Museum tells the story of 9/11 through media, narratives, and a collection of monumental and authentic artifacts, presenting visitors with personal stories of loss, recovery, and hope,” the Center’s official website says.


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Located in Phnom Penh, the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum chronicles the Cambodian genocide. Located on the site of a prison run by the Khmer Rouge regime, an estimated 20,000 people were imprisoned there during the 1970s. It was also one of almost 200 torture and execution centers run by the regime. According to the museum’s official website, the administration hopes that visitors will come away determined to put more good into the world.

“Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum is a place to remember the interrogation and detention at S-21 in the Khmer era,” it says. “The museum has preserved and presented evidence of tragic events in Cambodian history for the public to study in order to inspire and encourage them to become peace missionaries.”

This article was produced and syndicated by MediaFeed.org.


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