It's all been building up to the big night, and we hope you have a fantastic time partying, trick-or-treating, binging on horror movies, or whatever you do to celebrate the holiday. Tomorrow starts off November, and while that can be kind of a letdown after all the Halloween prep, it also means.... SALES!!
Right after Halloween is a mega-sale time because stores are extra eager to move their inventory quickly in order to make room for Christmas items, and that's a perfect opportunity to pick up things you'll need for your Halloween festivities next year. Places like Big Lots, Ollie’s, Wal-Mart, Target, and others offer increasingly larger percentages off as time goes on (from around 10% off up to as much as 90% off depending on inventory and timing). The best selection is, of course, available right after the holiday (November 1), and the deals get incrementally better as the days pass. (The exception to this is places like the Dollar Tree, which in recent years have done a flat 50% off sale that only lasts for around two days, then everything is cleared out to make way for Christmas.) At the other stores, this is an excellent time to get the inflatable, lighted, or animatronic decor piece(s) you had your eye on that perhaps were simply out of the budget for this year, like these huge (and awesome) dragon skeletons from Big Lots:
You also might consider asking about pricing on floor models (if one of the associates doesn't know, don't be shy about asking to speak to the manager-- they may be thrilled at the chance to get it out the door!)
It probably isn't a great idea to get the discount candy and save it for next Halloween (by then it will be expired), but remember that while the packaging is probably Halloween-specific, usually the candy inside isn’t. That means once you open that bag of m-n-ms, they’ll look (and taste) just like normal. If you stock up on discount candy, you can use it for a sweets buffet at a holiday party or incorporate it in a dessert recipe like the Leftover Halloween Cookie Bars below from Together as Family. You can also, of course, add it to Mom and / or Dad’s Sanity Candy Stash (remember, the calories don’t count if it was on sale)... see this from Lifehacker Evil Week for some ideas of ways to hide candy from sneaky little fingers.
It's a good idea to think twice before buying costumes for next year (little Emily may adore all things Dora the Explorer right now, but in a year’s time she may want to be a cowgirl or a ninja), but do keep an eye out for good generic items that could be applied to a variety of costume choices (i.e. general face painting kits or sticky face gems like these from Walmart). This is also a good time to get generic costume pieces such as crowns, swords, fairy wings, etc. to create (or add to) a general playtime box / costume treasure chest for the kids and their friends to be used throughout the year.
A good rule of thumb is to focus on things that are perennial favorites rather than “fad” items (that novelty inflatable emoji might be completely out of fashion by next Halloween, whereas spiders, pumpkins, ghosts, etc have been standing the test of time for hundreds of years at this point). Remember that some things also have the tendency to fade, break, or lose potency over the course of a year, so keep that in mind as well (see here for an article from Active Dark about the shelf lives of glow sticks according to color and type.)
If you're not going to make a special trip just for the sale(s) but are doing a regular shopping trip over the next few days, some good items to keep an eye out for include:
Treat bags (for trick-or-treaters, school parties, etc.)
Pumpkin carving kits
Fake spider webs
Pricey decor items (lights, animatronic, etc.)
Fun paper plates, napkins, cups, etc.
Black light bulbs
Candy (for baking and secret stash)
Baking supplies (skull-shaped baking pans, cupcake picks and liners, edible googley eyes, etc)
Costume pieces for a playtime box
**If they’re set at an exceptionally good price, remember that plain black or orange craft supplies like paper bags, ribbon, etc can easily be used at other times of the year
If you've never really taken advantage of holiday clearance sales and are wondering if it's even worth it, check out this video from Miss Eddie Blue on her recent trip to Michael's where she got 80% off her entire purchase (of course, everyone's results will vary, but it gives you a fair idea of some of the great things you can find for pennies on the dollar).
With such deep discounts available it's easy to go a little crazy, so try not to be blinded by the deals and get something "just to get it." Try to limit yourself to items you really love, set yourself a "sale budget" ahead of time, and keep in mind what space you can afford to take up in the attic, closet, etc. (remember there are post-Thanksgiving and post-Christmas sales that you'll want to allocate money and space for as well). By setting yourself a few boundaries and putting in a little effort to find those truly great items, you can ensure that next year's Halloween party will be as thrifty as it is thrilling!