Tips for Saving Money on Halloween Candy

Handing out candy to trick-or-treaters is fun, and it doesn't have to cost a lot of money. Here's how to fill your candy bowl without spending a fortune.

Wait Until Close to Halloween to Buy

Young woman standing in a supermarket in front of a shelf with sweets
Ginouse Gohar-Pour

Stores are in such a hurry to get their Christmas merchandise out that they often start marking down Halloween candy before Halloween even arrives. Take advantage of this bit of retail craziness by waiting until a day or two before Halloween to buy your candy. By waiting, you'll also reduce temptation, so you, and your family, don't wipe out your candy stash before Halloween rolls around. Having to re-buy candy is costly  and no fun at all!

Use Coupons

Woman clipping coupons in kitchen
Mango Productions

Look for candy coupons in the Sunday paper, and online, in the week's leading up to Halloween. If you combine coupons with a sale, you might be able to get some of your candy for free or close to it. 

Tip: Take advantage of store loyalty programs by shopping at just a few stores regularly. If you time it right, you may be able to combine store coupons with loyalty rewards and sale prices to get an even better deal on your candy. Ibotta and Checkout 51 may also have candy rebates that you can stack to save more.

Don't Buy Candy That You Like

Blond woman eating chocolate bar
Getty Images

If you load up on bags of your favorite candy, you're apt to eat some (or all) of it before Halloween! That means you have to buy more to keep the neighborhood ghosts and goblins happy. 

Fortunately, avoiding temptation is easy: just buy those ooey-gooey candies that only a kid could love.

Tip: Buy your favorite candies the day after Halloween (or any holiday). They are often immediately discounted 50 percent or more. Wait a week, and they'll drop to 75 percent off or more.

Ignore the Pressure to Supersize

Mother purchasing groceries while shopping with daughters
Steve Debenport

Flip through a sales flyer in October, and you'll see lots of pressure to buy full-size candy bars for trick-or-treaters. What madness!

Stick to the fun-size candy bars (they were good enough when we were kids), and leave the overspending to the Joneses.

Buy Whatever is Cheapest

Ken Welsh

There's no prize for being the house with the best candy, so buy whatever is cheapest when you head to the store. The kids are not going to remember (or care) that you were the cheapskate on the block. They're just going to be excited to get all that candy.

Good bets: lollipops, sweet tarts, Tootsie Rolls, bubble gum. Everyone loves these old-school favorites, and they cost a fraction of some of the other options.

Recycle Unwanted Candy

boys trick or treating on Halloween

These days, kids accumulate a lot of Halloween candy before they even head out to trick-or-treat – from class parties, fall festivals, scout parties, etc. It's overkill!

Cut back on the excess (and save some money) by having your kids sort out all the stuff that they don't like. Then, give it to the trick-or-treaters who come to your door. This will cut down on how much you have to buy, and how much candy your kids eat, which could save you big time at the dentist.

Declutter Your Kids' Rooms

Toys in a dresser
Getty Images

Scoop up all those long-forgotten kids' meals toys that are taking up space in your kids' rooms, and give them out in place of candy. It's almost like getting paid to clean! Get your kids in on the action, so they can see how fun it is to share.

Tip: Be sure to clean the toys before handing them out. It's as simple as filling a bucket with soapy water, letting them soak and giving them a quick scrub. Rinse them off; let the toys dry; and they're ready for their next owner.

Collect Yard Sale Freebies

Suburban yard sale
David Sacks

Sort through free boxes at yard sales for small toys that you can hand out to trick-or-treaters (you know: the kids' meal toys that other moms are trying to get rid of). Every free toy you add to your candy bowl is another piece of candy that you don't have to buy.

Tip: Look for plastic toys without a lot of wear and tear. Clean these up before handing them out, as well.