Ghost, goblins and managing money?

Ways to save money this Halloween and teach your family about money management.

Halloween is just around the corner. Families are busy preparing their treats and children are getting excited about putting on their Halloween costumes. However, there is no getting around it- Halloween can be expensive! Last year, Forbes reported on a study conducted by the International Council of Shopping Centers that estimated Halloween expenses to be around $125 per family. What can you do to save money this holiday? Here are some strategies:

Strategies to save money:

  • One of the most expensive items around Halloween is the costumes! Instead of buying a store bought costume, make a costume with your kids. Not only can this be fun but it allows your child to get creative by using items they already have or by purchasing low cost items to put their own unique spin on their costume. If you can’t create your own, check out thrift stores or free swapping sites in your local community.
  • Candy can be another expensive item. One strategy to save is to purchase candy in bulk to get it at a discount. Watch for coupons or discounts at your local stores, which are common this time of year.
  • If you don’t want to give out candy, try giving low cost items that you can buy in bulk that kids may need and use like pencils. Also, instead of bringing in treats for school, make home-made crafts to give out to school friends. Again, this can be fun and allow children to be creative at the same time!

Halloween can also provide a unique time to teach children important money management principles. Here are some ways you can infuse teachable moments in your holiday this year.

  • Children of any age can learn basic economic principles such as the concepts of: choice or supply and demand. With Halloween, there can be numerous pieces of candy to choose. Helping them learn this concept can forge a discussion on the choices that they make every day. Also, you can talk about supply and demand with the number and amount of candy they have. Even bartering among siblings can offer great money management lessons.
  • Another strategy for young children is simply learning how to count and sort into groups. For older kids, have them take the groups of candy that they created and make graphs, pie charts or figure percentages (i.e. what percent of the candy is chocolate/made by one company/etc). This can be done on paper or visually with the candy sorted after the kids receive it. This is not only educational but also can be fun.

Michigan State University Extension offers financial literacy and homeownership workshops throughout the year to help you become financially healthy. For more information of classes in your area, please visit either the MSU Extension events page or MI Money Health website. Additionally, you can take the Financial Health Survey at MI Money Health to access if you’re financially healthy and discover more ways you can improve your financial health. 

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