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Spook-tacular: Five simple tricks for Halloween on a budget

Don't be afraid to plan a last-minute Halloween for your home, experts say.
Halloween is tomorrow night, Oct. 31, 2023. Are you prepared?

Nobody wants to see their money vanish like a ghost in the night on a single day of celebration. 

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) is reminding consumers to ward off any bad luck or misfortune to their wallets this Halloween by following five simple tips to enjoy the spooky holiday on a budget. Nearly 82 per cent of Canadians who celebrate Halloween plan to make either the same or more purchases compared to last year, according to a recent study by Retail Council of Canada (RCC) and Caddle.

More than 51 per cent of Canadians who celebrate Halloween will spend $50 or less, followed by 30 per cenr spending $51-$100, and 18.8 per cent spending more than $100. Notably, Canadians are eager to support their local retailers this Halloween with 87 per cent, compared to 55.2 per cent in 2022. 

"Besides Christmas, Halloween has the potential to be one of the biggest spending sprees for a single holiday," said BBB spokesperson Aaron Guillen in a statement. "There are many seasonal stores that pop up in shopping centres and countless online shops with the latest trendy Halloween costumes. The BBB wants to make sure that you get the best bang for your buck without creating a Frankenstein credit card bill."

Tips to take the fright out of a Halloween budget: Watch out for seasonal stores

  • Ask how long the business plans to occupy the building and see if they have a website to contact them later. If they plan to close on Nov. 1 or refuse returns after, either consider shopping elsewhere or take more time to be sure the item is exactly what you want before making the purchase. Make sure you are clear on what items are ‘Final Sale', as you will likely not be able to get exchanges or refunds.

Be wary of fake Halloween event ticket sales

  • Whether it’s a pumpkin patch or a corn maze, it’s easy for scammers to throw together a website and sell an experience that is meant to entertain you and your entire family. If you do buy tickets online, make sure the details on the ticket match up to the event and never wire money to someone you’ve never met. Online purchases made with a credit card add another layer of protection against fraud. Before purchasing any event tickets, double check on to make sure that there are no complaints about the host company.

Shop smart online when buying costumes or decorations

  • Read reviews and comments before using a Halloween sales site and avoid downloading Halloween-related links for special offers that could lead to a virus on your computer. Look up the website’s privacy policy and contact information. If it is not clearly listed, or they only have an email as the point of contact, take that as a red flag and shop elsewhere. 

Don't be afraid to plan at the last minute

  • Around a third of Canadians will make Halloween-related purchases two weeks or more before Oct. 31, according to the RCC study. Why be one of them? Retailers are more likely to lower prices on candy, costumes, and decorations to move them out before the 31st rolls around.

Rent a costume versus buying

  • Unless you’re a seven-year-old with an obsession for Barbie, the idea of buying a costume to only wear once isn’t that appealing. Renting a costume potentially leaves room in the budget to buy more sweets for trick-or-treaters (or yourself). Research rental companies at and be sure to inspect the condition of the costume and read the rental agreement carefully before signing anything. Verifying store policies will help avoid mishaps like unwanted, broken, or faulty items being non-refundable. If you’ve lost money to a company, you are encouraged to file a complaint with the BBB