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True, it can cost a lot to give candy to all the neighbourhood kids on Halloween night. But if money’s tight, and you simply haven’t got the budget to buy off the pranksters (some of whom really will splatter your home with rotten eggs — or worse — if you don’t “shell out” ), there are a couple of things you can do to save money.

First, here’s what not to do:

1. You could be really careful with the candy hand-out — giving each child one single lollipop, say. Stretch the budget by being kind of, well, stingy.
But don’t you recall what it’s like to be a little kid on Halloween? — the excitement (even before the sugar high kicks in) of staying up and going out after dark, running around the neighbourhood with your friends, actually taking candy from strangers!! Don’t go raining on that parade. It’s not easy being a little kid, you know. Give ’em the candy.

2. You could turn off all the lights and pretend you’re not home.
This is totally NOT recommended, however, especially in some of the tougher neighbourhoods — and believe me, this is the voice of experience you hear! In fact, if you live in a really really really tough part of town (as I did for quite some time), you want to make sure you’ve got really really really good treats. And lots of them. You’ll also be wise to turn a blind eye if some of the kids turn their jackets inside out and come back a second time, pretending to be someone else, so they can get a second helping. These kids don’t get much sweetness in their lives… Shelling out on candy is much cheaper for you, in the long run, than shelling out to buy new glass for your windows.
3. You could stock up on off-brand mystery candy.
In fact, as I was ranting in the first part of this series, there’s a lot of wacky advice out there that tells you to “Save money on treats to hand out at the door by picking up cheap gum and chips at the dollar store.” Again, this is not such a good plan.

Think about this:

How come that Bargain Candy is so cheap?

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) issued consumer advisory, earlier this month, warning the public “not to consume, distribute, or sell the Sherwood Brands Pirate’s Gold Milk Chocolate Coins described below. This product is being recalled due to positive test results for melamine conducted by the CFIA.”

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The affected product, Sherwood Brands Pirate’s Gold Milk Chocolate Coins, is sold in 840g containers containing 240 pieces per container bearing UPC 0 36077 11240 7 and lot code 1928S1… sold nationally through Costco stores and may also have been sold in bulk packages or as individual pieces at various dollar and bulk stores across Canada.

Just one example. (And those gold-foil-covered chocolate coins were my favourite thing, too!) Fact is, if the candy is cheap, the manufacturers have been cutting costs somewhere along the line, and that generally means moving production to countries with less strict health and labour codes, or buying their ingredients there at least.

So, is it worth saving a bit of money, to give children the kind of candy that you wouldn’t feel good about giving to your own child? Of course not.

Stay away from the discount candy and look for brand-name products made in a country whose environmental and health standards are a known quantity, I’d suggest. You may end up paying a bit more — but there are reasonable ways to cut your costs.

  • Chewing gum, Chiclets, lollipops and suckers, or those tiny bags of potato chips are often the least-expensive treats on offer — but take along a calculator to the store (if you’re as bad at basic math as I am) and do the figuring-out, to be sure: Divide the price of a bag of treats by the number of kids you can serve with it, to get the cost per kid — see what treat choices will give the best bang for your buck.
  • Check the flyers for specials, and buy larger-sized packages if it gets you a better deal — you can always tuck any leftovers into lunch bags, in the weeks after Halloween.
  • Buy candy in bulk, if that’s the best bargain — but do buy from a reputable store and do choose only those candies that come already individually wrapped, preferably in sealed wrappers. No, it’s not great for the environment, all that extra waste packaging, but no sensible parent wants their child to be given a fistful of unwrapped candy from an unknown source.

And don’t put it off a moment longer, if you haven’t bought your Halloween treats yet! Last minute shopping, when the shelves are getting empty in the stores, is the surest way to end up spending more than you want to spend or you have in your budget.

Oh, and don’t eat all the candies yourself before the kids show up at the door. But that part goes without saying, right?

This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. domestika

    Good timing on that, actually, Sue – when all the Halloween candy goes on sale, it can be tempting to grab a bargain to “stock up” for next year. As you so rightly point out – that’s NOT a safe way to try to save a buck!

  2. Sue

    I know this is late, but one other thing to mention (from an avid home haunter) is to NOT buy candy after the holiday when it goes on sale and store it until next year. Candy does go bad, and there is nothing SO wrong as to trying to save a few cents at the expense of some child’s health.

    Wait, maybe this is not so late after all. Please, don’t buy candy to store till next year. Buying it for yourself to eat is okay, well, except for the sugar high post, but not to compromise on kids’ health.

  3. domestika

    Not peppermints, actually, love2003 – candy in all its fattening forms! :D
    Hmm, not sure that I mentioned peppermints at all, actually. In fact, I’d say that’s really more of a Christmas candy, wouldn’t you?

  4. love2003

    Sorry I did not know, Halloween was identical to peppermints?

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