Halloween is almost here! Are you planning to throw a spooktacular soiree this October? You don’t have to break the bank in order to have “fang-tastic” fun. Save money on decorations with our free printables, including a free party checklist and budget tracker, photo booth props, and more, or keep reading for some tricks (and treats) on how you can throw your party on a budget.
Set Your Party Budget
The best way to keep your spending under control is to set limits. It’s easy to get carried away in the moment, especially with no set budget or reference on what each item should cost you. Spend time laying out your budget early on to save yourself a headache, and a bank account error, later on. If you do find that your original budget isn’t realistically in scope once you begin purchasing, phone some friends and see if they can help out bringing items left over on your list.
- Use our budget tracker to keep track of estimated and actual costs.
- If you start going over budget, ask party guests to each bring one item left on the list.
Pick a Spooktacular Theme
Before the party planning can really begin, you need to pick a date, time, and location. Being mindful of the start time and day of the week can help you save on food and drinks. Consider a weeknight where people won’t be out as late and an after-dinner start time so guests eat before they arrive.
Once you’ve gotten those key planning logistics out of the way, now comes the fun part: a party theme. Halloween is, of course, a theme in and of itself, but you can narrow your niche down even more if you wish. Some fun theme ideas include: zombie apocalypse, scary movies, crime scene, and haunted house.
- Host your party at home so you don’t have to rent out a venue.
- Start your party after dark so guests will eat before they arrive.
Download Our Party Checklist
Planning a party doesn’t have to be frightful. Use our party planning checklist to make sure you are prepared with everything you need for setup, safety, decorations, and food. A party checklist lets you visualize everything you need in order to throw the Halloween bash of the year, and it’s also a great way to track party costs as you shop.
You don’t want to forget essential party items such as a first aid kid, which you could need in an an emergency, or flashlights and extra batteries (in case your party turns goes over to the dark side). Make sure to bring this checklist along with you so you remember everything you need, and so you can keep track of your spending.
- Print our halloween party checklist and bring it with you as you shop.
- Purchase the essentials first, and trim down your supply list if you start spending too much.
Invite Your Best Ghouls
Ditch the snail mail and send out modern party invites to save money on stamps, envelopes, and print. Sending paperless invites will also save you time, because there are tons of templates online that you can customize in minutes. Once you’ve finished filling out your invitation, all you have to do is press send!
- Download a party invitation template from the Internet.
- Charge a cover fee for entrance and include on the invite so guests are aware early.
Decide on Bites
You can save a ton on catering by making food yourself. Rather than providing dinner for your party guests, serve snacks and sweets that are easy to make in bulk. Some affordable and simple food options include: popcorn, pigs in a blanket, cupcakes, and salsa. A candy bar is another great way to stay on theme and save.
You can also consider making your Halloween party a potluck. This will encourage each guest to make and bring their own dish, so you don’t have to provide all the food.
- Consider hosting a potluck party where each guest brings a dish.
- Set up a candy bar of sweet treats in lieu of fancy (and expensive) desserts.
Serve a Spooky Spirit
If you plan to serve alcohol at your event, know that like food, this cost can add up extremely quickly and it can be difficult to predict exactly how much you need ahead of time. Rather than supplying an open bar for guests full of multiple alcohol options, consider making a signature cocktail such as a witches brew instead. This will allow you to control the cost of the liquor, and how big of a batch you serve. Include on the invitation that you’ll be providing a punch, but that guests are still encouraged to BYOB.
You can also print these printable bottle labels to attach to wine bottles as decor or party favors. All you have to do is print the sheet below on a full sheet of sticker paper and cut along the dotted lines.
- Serve a signature cocktail rather than providing an open bar.
- Host your party on a weeknight, when people typically drink less.
DIY Your Decorations
The cost of party decorations can add up fast. In addition to practical decorations like tables and chairs, you also need to set the stage with some themed decor. Rather than heading to your local party or craft store, consider seeking out free decoration options instead. We have free printables for you to download, and you can also discover ways to DIY your decorations with everyday household items here.
Download the party signs below to dress up your drop dead delicious food table, your witches brew drink station, and to give directions to your “bat room”. To display, print the signs, cut along the dotted line, and then fold along the solid line.
- Download our free printables to decorate your space!
- Use items you already have laying around the house for DIY designs.
Be Your Own DJ
Every party needs a rocking playlist, but you don’t need to bring in a DJ to spin great tunes. Borrow a speaker setup from a friend, and plug your phone in to start pumping the jams. Use the song request cards below to let guests request their favorite tunes – just click print and cut along the dotted lines. Don’t forget to add Halloween classics such as “Thriller” and “Monster Mash” to your playlist full of spooky beats.
- Borrow a speaker setup from a friend.
- Download a 30-day trial of a music app to play tunes ad-free.
Plan Affordable Activities
As a party host, it’s your job to make sure the party is wicked cool. Keep guests entertained with fun activities throughout the evening. A costume contest is a no-brainer way to have some fun at your party, and to incentive guests to dress up. In lieu of a monetary prize, hand out these certificates so guests can have bragging rights for the rest of the evening.
Another fun and memorable activity is a photo booth station. Use the halloween-themed props below so guests can take on-theme photos of themselves all night long: all you have to do is print and cut along the dotted lines.
- Skip the cash prize on the costume contest and opt for bragging rights instead.
- Set up a DIY photo booth station and print free photo booth props.
Save on Cleanup
One hidden cost of a party is the cleanup. If your guests break or stain your furniture and belongings, you may have to repair or replace these items. Ghoulproof your house before the party starts to save on cleanup later on. Make certain areas of the house off limits in order to hide breakables and expensive items in a locked bedroom. You can even work this into the party theme with caution tape.
If you have a backyard or other outdoor space, make use of this area to keep your guests outside. It’s also a good idea to cover any surface where drinks or food may be served or sat. You can buy cheap disposable tablecloths or even use old sheets to cover these surfaces.
- Designate certain areas of the house off limits, and place your breakables there.
- Buy disposable tablecloths or use old sheets to cover your surfaces.
You can eat, drink, and be scary on a budget. Your Halloween party doesn’t have to break the bank in order to be a howling good time, and you’ll enjoy the evening a lot more if you don’t spend it worrying about money. For more tips on how to budget your spending, head over to the Turbo blog.