And everything in between: Hallo-winning – how to do Halloween on a budget

So last night I put on a Halloween party for 30-40 people for less than $300.
If you’re creative, you can do it for much less!!

My costs (approximate):
– 8 pizzas, pre ordered $94
– lollies (various) $40
– 22.5 L of lemonade and 24 pack of water $25
– cordials – lime and elderflower – $10
– decorations $60
– outfit – less than $20 (will do a proper breakdown of this below)
– ice (3x5kg bags) $10

Roughly $249in total.

When throwing a themed, or Halloween party on a budget you need to pick what you will spend most of your money on. That will be either on your outfit, or on food/drink/decor.

FOOD AND DRINK
I chose to spend a bit more on food/drink. I have ALWAYS over-catered in previous years. People will always be transient at parties, so I preordered my pizzas online, a few hours in advance (which you can do, how good!) to arrive at 8.15pm (started at 7pm). You can still throw a party without feeding people as substantially — as in just more snacks. Chips, lollies, dips, garlic bread. People won’t always eat the half a pizza you put them down for, so you can have a range of things for people to just graze on.

I chose to make some punch (hence all the lemonade) for my party guests, which I left as non alcoholic – people will mix or drink at their will. I probably made too much, probably about 4L or 5L is the most you’d want.

Red blood punch – 1 cup of strawberry liqueur in 8L of lemonade with red food colouring (add a little blue and green to make it that really dark, arterial colour!)

Zombie blood punch – lime cordial, elderflower cordial and 8L of lemonade with green and yellow food colouring.

I didn’t use all my lemonade or cordial, so I’ll have that for next time or for my own use! The pizza all go eaten, and I have some left over lollies. So there was very little waste!

Pro tips:

– have a couple of bins around for people to dispose of their rubbish. Saves heaps of time the next day. Make sure you have some bin bags on hand.

– Don’t be afraid to ask for $5 for pizza from people if your budget is really tight, either.

– Having a pack of waters is important to have. Seems superfluous, but the drivers and light drinkers will love it.

– shop around before you buy bulk lollies or soft drink. Reject shop and red dot have some great lollies for super cheap, and some supermarkets will have specials on soft drinks (I.e. 2.25L lemonade was 2 for $3, as opposed to $3/$4 a bottle).

DECOR
I love a good theme, so I decided to go for subtle changes. There is no need to shift your house around drastically at all. Make sure you lock any rooms you don’t want opened, sweep and give your garden and patio a tidy if you’re using it.

I started my prep the weekend before, tidying the sand and weeds away from my patio. With mum’s permission, I put up a few decorations around the house that weren’t ‘in the way’ too much. This saved me HEAPS of time and stress on the day of the party.

I borrowed outdoor chairs from neighbours as well, which helped accommodate everyone immensely!

Also, I asked if anyone had spare Halloween decor on Facebook. Helped me out heaps, and cost me nothing. You would be surprised what people have hidden. And so many people have pieces of costume or decor they don’t use more than once, so it’s a kind of recycling as well. Reduce, reuse,recycle!

Check out my decor —

I went for subtle accents. Plastic table cloths on walls and in my spa. Lots of stuff from red dot and the reject shop worked wonders!

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OUTFIT
My outfit as post-assassination Jackie Kennedy was stunningly low cost.

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The top, jacket and skirt were all op shopped. But it took me some time to find all the pieces, so if you have an idea months or years in advance then always be on the look out. I had the pink skirt for years which I never wore, then I happened across the jacket and top together a few weeks ago.
Each item was no more than $5 each

The hat was actually good luck. It’s a baby’s hat turned inside out. Also form an op shop. It was brand new with tags.
$1.50

Shoes were a pair of patent wedges I ruined by scuffing, but I held on to them in case I could repair or use them for something else. I used fake gel blood borrowed from another friend, left them to dry over the week to make sure it didn’t drip, and they turned out so well!
Shoes: technically free, they had many many wears, and got a great second life at my party!

Gloves were white cotton ansell gloves from the supermarket.
$4 roughly.

Altogether, with some pearl earrings, it looked VERY cool…..!

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FAKE BLOOD
You can get it from red dot, reject shop type places, source any leftovers from friends, or DIY.

DIY is super easy.

Protip: Red food colouring and water turns pink, and will spread after you spatter it. Use corn syrup to thicken it, adding some blue and green food colouring to give that creepy dark red colour. Heat your corn syrup/golden syrup beforehand (a tip from a friend who works in FX told me this) so it’s easier to stir.

The blood on my outfit was a few layers of gel blood (borrowed), red food colouring and water, and a bit of the golden syrup mix.

WEAR GLOVES when blooding stuff. Do it in your backyard. Wear black. Apparently shaving cream is good for getting blood off you, whether it’s after an outfit blooding or the day after your party. Works!

I bought a white nightie and some old sheets from an op shop and blooded and slashed them up myself. Really adds that Dexter feel! I put one sheet at my front door, and this saved me some mopping and sweeping the day after. Anything you can do to make the clean up easier, do it!

There you go. A rocking Halloween for well under $300!

Been to a good party? Got a good costume?
Show me!

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A x

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