That’s often the approach of many of us when it comes to certain parts of our lives. Really, I usually take that to mean going all out to succeed, be the best, or have tons of fun. In many situations, it’s a great joy to do so!
It seems like this is the approach that many people have been taking in recent years when it comes to spending money on Halloween. A generation ago, it was pretty much a day where kids dressed up, and then went out for trick or treating at night. As grown-ups, we enjoyed the day with our kids and played the role of good sport by handing out candy to other costumed trick or treaters in the neighborhood. The pumpkin was the universal symbol of the day.
At some point, this model changed.
Today, Halloween has transitioned from being a day for kids to a day for all ages to partake. Young adults and even grown-ups dress up and throw parties to celebrate what’s almost become a “holiday” of sorts in some circles. As we know, costumes and parties can be expensive for adults. An article from US News and World Report noted some figures sourced elsewhere which indicated that the average person will spend over $77 just on a Halloween costume alone. Again, that doesn’t even address the other costs of the big day.
It’s gotten to the point where it’s not just December when holiday lights and decorations go up. They’re up at some houses in October too, for Halloween. For-profit haunted houses seem to have popped up all over the place too.
Now, I’m not going to complain and say that it’s wrong. I’m not that old, and think that it’s good to be flexible and adapt to change.
That being said, I prefer to look at it as a matter of choosing between alternatives. And in the fall, there are plenty of such choices for us when it comes to spending our time and money. Personally, I really enjoy the season without spending a ton on Halloween, and know that there are others that find a way to get excited about it in that way too.
Here are 3 ways I either have, or could, spend money on fall activities that will cost as much in total as the $77 one could pay spend a grown-up buying a costume:
Apple Picking: 4 of us went, and got 60 apples for $22. More important than that it, the day was a lot of fun. We got to go outside and enjoy the nice early fall weather, picking fruit straight from the source in the orchard. Kids had a blast finding the different varieties of apples and eating them fresh. These are fun memories they’ll have, and same for us as parents. That’s money worth spending. Total cost: $22.
Pumpkin Patch: Okay, this is a little more Halloween-oriented. It doesn’t involve a fully grown adult buying a costume though : ) Rather, a day outside getting 2 or 3 pumpkins here’s some pumpkin carving how-to tips that are free!, going on a hayride, having hot cider, and participating in other activities will be in order. Estimated total cost: $25.
Enjoying Football: While I’m a huge football fan, I realize not everyone is. Don’t fear, you can still enjoy the games and have fun. Having a small group of friends over to watch the game doesn’t have to be pricey, as long as they’re not high maintenance people : ) Snacks, pizza, and beverages can be inexpensive if you plan for it. Estimated total cost: $30.
Total estimated cost of those 3 activities: $77.
Okay, for the latter 2 I don’t know the exact cost…and I arranged the math on purpose so that the total would be $77. I’ll admit that, if it wasn’t obvious already! : )
The idea of this exercise is to simply make two points. One is the bigger picture idea that we always have an opportunity cost when spending money, meaning there are other alternatives for the expenditure. The second point is that Halloween costumes and festivities for grown-ups certainly have a high opportunity cost. There are so many other ways to have a lot of fun and stretch our funds!
My Questions for You
Do you spend a lot of money on Halloween (that isn’t kid-related)?
Has your spending on Halloween increased over the years?
Do you think about the concept of opportunity cost, and alternative uses of your hard-earned dollars?