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Halloween Save dough while having a scary good time

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WASHINGTON (10/7/09)--As consumers cut back on everything from groceries to gas, it’s not surprising that they’ll also cut back on celebrating Halloween. Nearly one of three (29.6%) consumers say a down economy will affect their Halloween spending plans. Consumers are expected to spend an estimated $4.75 billion on Halloween this year, with the average person planning to spend about $56--down about $10 per person from last year (National Retail Federation Sept. 29). Though money may be tight this year, it doesn’t mean that you still can’t have some “spook”tacular fun. Here are a few ideas:
* Decorate your home using standard household items. You may be surprised to find that you probably have tons of items already on hand that would make fantastic decorations. You easily can paint black bats on cardboard, cut them out, and dangle from fishing line; use yarn to create giant spider webs for windows and staircases; recycle old clothes and costumes, stuff them with newspaper, and set them out on your front doorstep or bench ( * Check out Halloween websites. Many sites have clearance sections displaying last year’s favorite costumes. Chances are your three-year-old is too young to know the difference between the “new” Spider-Man and the “old” one--unless he has an older brother * Shop around. Steer away from Halloween specialty stores, where prices usually skyrocket. These stores generally are temporary and many are not set up to do returns or exchanges, or to offer merchandise credits. Also consider shopping closer to Halloween, when prices often fall to 50% to 75% off the original prices at most retailers. * Make your own. Sometimes the best costumes aren’t purchased in stores. Gaudy clothes, a hat, map, and camera make a tourist; spiked hair, makeup, and torn clothing make a rock star; and a sweat suit, tennis shoes, ponytail or headband, and iPod make a great runner or fitness trainer.