I was recently in the costume section of a Walmart, picking up some pink leggings for my Piglet costume (my boyfriend is being Winnie the Pooh).
While lost in nostalgic memories of trick-or-treating, a miserable mother next to me broke into a rant about what a “hassle” Halloween is: purchasing costumes, the mess of the pumpkin carving, and cavities, cavities, cavities. I was struck silent.
This is my (slightly delayed) response to that cranky lady: Halloween has taught me some of the most valuable lessons I’ve ever learned about being money savvy. So kindly shush.
DIY Is The Way To Go
My mother was never the type to go out and buy a costume. She always insisted we look around the house and see what we could make using things we already had. Then she’d go out and buy any small extra craft materials we needed.
Because of this, my previous costumes include Elvis, a popcorn box, and Crackle from the Rice Krispies box—two of my friends were Snap and Pop. Not only have I won many a costume contest because of this, but I’ve also realized that something isn’t better just because it’s more expensive. (Unless it’s this Boba Fett costume, then $900 might be worth it.)
It’s All About Weighing The Pros And Cons
When I was younger, I remember wanting many a mammoth-sized pumpkin to carve. I could envision their glorious presence on my front porch, lighting up the night. But I’d also have to carry it back to the car and carve it through a shell that was probably 6 inches thick.
Though these pumpkins seemed big, beautiful, and perfectly shaped, investing in a smaller one was smarter for my weak childhood frame.
I’ve made similar decisions with purchases. How many times will I actually wear that $500 sequined dress? Can I go to Target and get 10 or more entire outfits with accessories for the same price? You can also use this tactic with bigger decisions, like which college to go to or what job to take.
Work For What You Want
This might be kind of a weird Laferte family thing, but as a kid, my parents insisted I walk to the houses, carry my own bag of candy, and say trick or treat at the door of every house I stopped.
I’m not talking about when I was really little, but when I was a old enough to be capable. By the time I got home, I was exhausted—but I really appreciated the pillowcase full of candy I ended up with.
Now, I know that’s hardly the same as getting a job or paying for college, but expecting to put in the legwork for something I want is ingrained in me from my young trick-or-treating days.
So, Miss Lady, Halloween is not a “hassle”; it’s a valuable learning experience for your children. And there’s candy corn.
Have a Halloween-inspired money lesson? Share it in the comments.
(Photo: Kate Bolin)