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20 Fun & Festive Things to do this Halloween for Under $20

Jack O'Lantern Spectacular in Providence Rhode Island

The Halloween/fall season is one of favorite times of the year. The weather has finally cooled down, pumpkin flavored treats are arriving at all the restaurants and coffee shops, special Halloween themed programs like ABC Family’s 13 Nights of Halloween are airing, and beautiful fall colors have sprung up everywhere. There is no need to buy a $50+ costume and attend overpriced events, as there is plenty of budget friendly fun to be enjoyed this time of year. Take a look at my list of 20 fun things to do this Halloween for under 20 bucks. Feel free to add a few suggestions of your own!

1. Carve pumpkins & roast the seeds

Carve pumpkins into creative jack o’laterns (create your own design instead of wasting money on the stencils!) and save the seeds for a quick, healthy, affordable snack. The ultimate Halloween activity, carving pumpkins doubles as a fun decorating activity and a healthy fall treat!

2. Try out a new pumpkin flavored recipe

Doing a quick scan online, you will find that there are hundreds of delicious fall recipes and treats to test out for your Halloween party. Have a sweet tooth? Try pumpkin flavored chocolate chip cookies – they are amazing! Craving a warm soup for those chilly fall night? Try out a rich butternut squash soup. Or make your own pumpkin flavored waffles along with a pumpkin chai tea for the perfect fall brunch.

3. Decorate your home with budget friendly homemade craft projects.

You can find many creative holiday craft ideas on sites like Pinterest. One of my favorites is making glitter pumpkins. Simply purchase a few mini pumpkins. Next, get out a thick paintbrush, some glue, and a large container of glitter (find festive fall colors at a store like Michael or Joann Fabrics). Cover the pumpkins completely with glue and then dip them into a bowl of glitter. Shake the excess off and let them dry. An absolutely beautiful, frugal, and fun way to spice up your home for the holidays! Glitter pine cones is another fun variation of this project.

4. Watch a marathon of horror movies

Pick a fun Halloween favorite like the classic Halloween movies, Scream, Saw, Friday the 13th…and the list goes on! Enjoy a relaxing weekend watching all your seasonal favorites, curled up on the couch with a homemade pumpkin spice latte and plenty of seasonal treats. Have you tried pumpkin nachos – sounds weird, but they are absolutely delicious! Decorate your house beforehand to make the experience even more festive! Also check into ABC Family’s 13 Nights of Halloween!

5. Visit a local pumpkin patch

Check out the site Pumpkin Patches and More to find a listing of pumpkin patches and other seasonal events by state. Spending a weekend morning at a pumpkin patch is the perfect frugal fall activity. For one low price, you can typically enjoy a wide range of festive activities like hay rides, haunted houses, corn mazes, and more. Walking around enjoying the fall decor, cool temps, autumn colors, and a seasonal treat or 2, is fun in itself.

6. Spend time (while saving a lot of money) designing your own costume

Create the perfect homemade Halloween costume using items you already have lying around the house or those you can purchase cheaply at a thrift shop. Stand out from the crowd while enjoying the added bonus of saving yourself at least 50 bucks.

7. Make your own caramel apples

Everyone loves a delicious caramel apple this time of year: it’s the perfect Halloween treat! However, they are a bit pricey in the stores. Save some money by making your own at home and have fun choosing your own toppings like dark chocolate chips, nuts, and any other sweet you desire.

8. Skip the overpriced coffee chain Pumpkin Spice Lattes and make your own

What a perfect Halloween treat: coffee mixed with pumpkin, spices, milk, and topped with whipped cream! Make a more budget friendly and tastier Pumpkin Spice Latte in your own kitchen. Why spend $3 on each drink this fall season when you can buy the ingredients just once and continue to make your favorite seasonal drink throughout the entire month of October?

9. Sign up for a local ghost tour

Many communities will offer ghost tours throughout the month of October, taking you on a fun journey through the most haunted sites in town. Typically for about ten bucks or so you can enjoy a fun night listening to local ghost legends and sometimes even getting to test out real ghost hunting equipment for yourself. A budget friendly ghost tour is one of the best Halloween activities in my opinion: it’s cheap, it’s fun, and it’s the perfect time of the year for any paranormal type activity.

10. Attend a local fall festival

Most communities will offer at least one fall themed fest during October. If not, find one within a few hour’s drive of where you live. Check local newspapers, your library, or visitor’s center for event listings. A fall fest is a cheap way to get out for a few hours, enjoying the seasonal temps, colors, and treats.

11. Take a fall foliage hike

If you are lucky enough to live somewhere with lots of beautiful fall colors, I would definitely take advantage of the gorgeous natural landscapes this time of year by taking a nice walk. Find a hiking trail (or a local park will do) and enjoy hiking or a leisurely walk amongst the bright colors. As an added bonus, you’ll get some exercise and soak in some Vitamin D.

12. Find a scary series on Netflix

There is no shortage of TV series on Netflix, including horror and witch themed series which are perfect for Halloween. No Netflix? Not a problem…check out a TV series at your local library or buy one used on Amazon. A few good options include Buffy the Vampire Slayer, The Secret Circle, and The Witches of East End. If you are looking for something a bit more current, check out Fox’s Scream Queens or MTV’s Scream, based on the classic 90’s horror series. Set up the entire series to record on your DVR or watch episodes for free on the network’s website. Either option is a fun, festive, and frugal way to enjoy the Halloween season.

13. Find a haunted forest/house/corn maze

Most smaller towns offer local haunted mazes, forests, and/or houses event that don’t cause a fraction as much as the big city attractions. These fun, festive events are a great opportunity to get out of the house this Halloween season without overspending.

14. Hand candy out to trick or treaters

Stay home this Halloween, save some money, hand out candy, enjoy some treats, and enjoy seeing all the different costumes. Plan some fun movies, snacks, and turn on your Halloween lights to create a spooky atmosphere.

15. Take a scenic drive

One of the best ways to enjoy the fall season is by taking a leisurely drive, passing all the beautiful colors. Pick a scenic back roads route in your area, prepare a homemade Pumpkin Spice Latte in a travel mug, roll down your windows, and enjoy the gorgeous sights of the season.

16. Walk around a historic downtown

Stroll the streets of a historic downtown. Enjoy the old architecture, local shops and restaurants, and the colorful foliage around the streets. As an added bonus, local businesses are much more likely to decorate for fall and offer specialty seasonal treats. In addition, some downtowns offer seasonal events throughout October. Check the town’s website for upcoming attractions and fall events.

17. Read a scary novel

Choose a great horror novelist like Stephen King and enjoy a scary favorite like It, Pet Semetery, or The Stand. This is a great alternative when you tire of endless movies, and oftentimes even spookier, especially when you are alone!

18. Tour a haunted site

Find an old cemetery, forest, etc. that is supposedly haunted and explore the area at night.

19. Check local businesses for special Halloween events and deals

Many local businesses will offers free or low cost Halloween and/or fall themed events. Check your library/business website/visitor’s center etc. for a listing of events such as free movie screenings, fests, kids trick or treating events, and so on.

20. Enjoy a special fall treat

Enjoy a festive pumpkin flavored treat from a local bakery. Or find a local cafe/restaurant serving a special seasonal dish such as pumpkin or butternut squash ravioli. In terms of the chain route, Olive Garden offers a spectacular seasonal Pumpkin Cheesecake.

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