The Skint Mums’ Guide to Throwing a Cheap Halloween Party

Halloween has exploded in popularity in the last decade, with UK spending on the festival skyrocketing from just £12 million a decade ago to an estimated £300 million last year. This surge in popularity means that, according to a recent survey, the average family spends almost £70 on Halloween!

However, £70 is a hefty price to pay for a festival which essentially boils down to playing dress up and gorging yourself on free sweets! So, in the spirit of thriftiness, we’ve put together this complete guide to nailing your child’s Halloween party for under £30!

Thrifty Costumes

Unless you’ve got hours to spare and the skills of an expert tailor, coming up with a cheap DIY costume can be difficult. However, with a little creativity and artistic flair, you can combine stuff you already own into something fantastic.

Older kids love using their imaginations and creativity, so letting your them loose on some old unwanted clothes and accessories can be a great way to let your kids create their own costumes for free.

For younger children there are a number of super low cost options such as:


Taking one of mum’s unwanted blouses and a bandanna or two, alongside the child’s own trousers and shoes, you can throw together a great little pirate costume. Finish it off with some painted-on stubble and an eye patch made out of black felt or fabric and some old shoelaces. To complete the ensemble, you can even create a sword out of cardboard and tin foil.

Hoodie Monster

An old hoodie can be transformed into a fun monster with some fabric glue and paper or felt.

Using the cardboard or felt, cut out a row of triangular teeth and glue or sew them around the opening of the hoodie. Make a pair of big, bulging eyes out of the paper or felt and attach them to the hood, so it looks like your child has just been swallowed by an enormous fabric beast.

More instructions here.

Ideas for Mum & Dad

Son of Man Costume

Even if you didn’t know the name of this painting, everyone’s seen it somewhere. You can create your own Son of Man costume by combining any suit you own, a printed picture of an apple and a bowler hat.

Roy Lichtenstein Character

Roy Lichtenstein was an American artist famous for his comic book style illustrations. You can recreate this effect with items found in your average make up bag, and although the costume works best with polka dot clothes, it’ll work almost as well with anything in your wardrobe.

Bargain Drinks

A Halloween party without creepy drinks is like a vampire without any teeth!

Here are two recipes which taste and look great and won’t break the bank:

Blood Bath Punch

  • Cut 3 oranges into quarters and freeze
  • Mix 2 litres of cranberry juice and 1 litre of orange juice in a big jug
  • Combine frozen oranges with drink as guests arrive

1L orange juice: £1
2L cranberry juice: £2
Bag of oranges: £1

Total cost: £4

Eyeball Punch

  • Freeze a handful of blueberries and grapes
  • Mix 250ml lemon juice, 500ml raspberry juice and 2 litres of white grape juice
  • Combine frozen fruit and drink to serve

Blueberries: £2.00
Grapes: £1.00
Lemon juice: £0.55
Raspberry juice: £1.00
2L white grape juice: £2.00

Total cost: £6.55

Combined cost: £10.55

Cheap Eats

If your kids haven’t already ruined their appetites with the spoils of their trick and treating endeavours, the following recipes both make for great spooky snacks.

Mummy Fingers

Wrap 1/4 of a slice of bacon around a cocktail sausage, stick a toothpick through the middle and pop in the oven until cooked.

50 cocktail sausages: £2

2 packs of bacon: £3

Total: £5

Bloody Bat Wings

Cook a batch of chicken wings, according to instructions on packaging.

In a pan on the hob, combine 100ml of Frank’s wing sauce with a tablespoon of butter and 2 teaspoons of chopped garlic and heat until melted together.

Pour wings over sauce and serve.

Chicken wings: £2.20/kg

Frank’s wing sauce: £1.50

Butter: £0.70

Garlic: £0.30

Total: £4.70

Combined cost of both items: £9.70


Halloween themed decorations will really spark your children’s imaginations and make the whole environment that bit more special. Here are some budget ideas for decking out your house!

Glowing Eyes

  • Cut eye shapes into some used toilet rolls
  • Put a glowstick inside the toilet roll
  • Leave in a darkened room

Toilet rolls: Free.
Glowsticks: £0.89 for 6

Rubbish Bag Spider Webs

You can see a video tutorial here.

Rubbish bag: £1

Total cost of all decorations: £1.86


With all of your awesome drinks, food and decorations, your little terrors should be able to entertain themselves, but here are a couple of ideas to add to the atmosphere and get the party started.

Bobbing for Apples

This classic Halloween game involves filling a bowl or large bucket with water and adding 4 apples. Each child must try and grab as many apples as possible, using only their mouths.

Bag of apples: £1

Guess the Ghoul

Stick some music on and get the kids to sit in a circle. Children take it in turns to don a blindfold and walk around the circle. When you pause the music, the seated child nearest to the blindfolded child has to let out a ghostly wail. The blindfolded child then has to guess who the wailer is.

Cost Breakdown

Costume: £2.99 or less
Drinks: £10.55
Food: £9.70
Decorations: £1.86
Entertainment: £1
Grand total: £26.10

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