How to Save Money » Frugal Living

Hand out Halloween candy without going broke

Save on Halloween Candy

According to Statistics Canada, $331 million dollars was spent on Halloween candy in 2009. $331 million dollars. That a lot of money to fork over for junk food (because let’s be honest, no one is handing out apples these days – well, except maybe a few dentists!).

Halloween candy is one of the best things about the holiday (right?), but that doesn’t mean you need to shell out an absurd amount of money for it.

Here are 5 ways to save money on Halloween candy:

1. Set a budget

The very first thing you need to do before buying your candy is to determine how much money you can realistically afford to spend.

Set a strict budget and keep it in mind when you make your purchases.

2. Shop the sales

Come October, there will be sales on candy and chocolates all over the place.

Be sure to watch the flyers of stores in your area and stock up on Halloween items when they are priced cheaply at those stores.

The later into October you go, the cheaper the items will be, but keep in mind that if you wait until October 31st to buy candy, you’re not going to have the best selection (if you can find any at all).

3. Buy in bulk

Like anything, stocking up on inexpensive items is a fantastic way to save money. This includes Halloween candy.

When you do see sales at your local stores, be sure to stock up. Don’t go overboard, though. Remember your budget, and stop once you get there.

In addition, bulk stores, such as Costco, often have great deals on Halloween candy. If you’re able to go to one of those stores, do it, and see what you can find.

4. Give non-chocolate treats

Chocolate costs much more than a big box of Skittles or Twizzlers, so if you’re looking to save money on Halloween candy, pick those up instead.

Kids just want free candy. They don’t care if it’s chocolate, candies, gum, chips or Cheetos. If it’s junk, they’ll eat it. Well, mine will, anyway.

5. Shop the dollar store

Many dollar stores have Halloween candy for sale; often name-brand candies and chocolates.

This is a great place to buy goodies for the kids in your neighborhood, for much less than you would pay at a big-box retailer like Walmart.

Note: Always check the expiration date on items you purchase from dollar stores, as I have had some people tell me they found many expired food items at those stores.

6. Hand stuff out yourself

Finally, to avoid kids taking all of your candy in less than 20 minutes (this seriously happened to me one year) by picking what they want themselves, you hand it out.

When you allow kids to pick out their own candy, they tend to grab a huge handful, instead of just one or two pieces. Don’t give them this option.

If you want to save money on Halloween candy, do a bit of planning this year. Don’t wait until the last minute.

Whether you choose to buy non-chocolate treats, shop at dollar stores or just wait until a good sale comes along, the important thing to remember is that being generous by handing out candy doesn’t mean you have to go broke.

Purchase what you can afford, hand it out, and go relax. Save some candy for yourself. The good stuff.

How do you save money on Halloween candy?


  1. Sarah

    I’m handing out full size packs of trident – free when Shoppers had their 8000 pts WUB 3 promotion. I always end up eating some of the candy before Halloween (and the leftovers), so no guilt this year.

  2. Mimi

    I put them in surprise bags now. I used to be against, it’s extra packaging, and it’s time-consuming, but I was tried of kids wanting to pick their own candies, and some of them even arguing that their brother/sister got better ones. The first time it happened, I thought what a stupid kid, complaining about free candies, who raised this kid, how impolite!!!! But it happened often enough for me to realize that a lot of parents aren’t raising their kids to be polite, so I put candies in little treat bags now. And when I go trick or treating with MY kids, they are warned they aren’t allowed to “choose” or complain about their candies, or we go back home. End of story.

  3. Erin

    i got big boxes of fruit juice lunch snacks on Clarence at walmart a few weeks ago, 42snacks for 4.00 this will be my halloween hand out this year. i will probably add a huge bag of rockets in as well that should cover my usual 100 kiddo visitors for under 15$

  4. Kris

    Where we live now, our door is completely hidden so we actually don’t get anyone, but where we lived before we got many trick-or-treaters. My older kids were very small at the time, so we always went out early to have them home at a decent time. We would sort through their candy and keep only the things that were safe for them to eat and add the rest to our give-out bowl. Re-gifting it, in a manner of speaking. 🙂

  5. Dayna

    Another good tip is to know approximately how many kids to expect. Decide how many treats you will be giving each child and add 10-15% so you know how much to buy. A friend moved into a new neighbourhood and assumed they would have lots of kids, yet only had 10. Ask neighbours if you are in a new area.

  6. cdn75

    We live on the outskirts of a tiny town, so we have never had more than 25 kids. Most neighbours give a good amount because they know kids do not have a lot of houses to go to. When we lived in Barrie, kids actually got less candy because people would give each kids like one small pack of rockets or a single mini size chocolate bar. Out here people are giving full size chocolate bars, goody bags, etc.

    My mom gets over a 100 kids so I totally get the saving money thing. However, it is the one night I try not to be cheap because 25 kids is not going to bankrupt me.

  7. Tracey

    One year we gave out (not frozen) freeze pops (freezies) and they were a big hit (and cheap). We also did what Kris said about having the kids come home in the middle and grab all the candy they won’t eat and hand that out again.

    This year, we got dozens of packages of gum from an event so that’s subsidizing what we’re giving out.

  8. Janet

    I thought I might try handing out unfrozen Freezies this year since they are on sale at the end of summer, and tamper-proof. Then the kids can freeze them to be ready for after school the next day. I hope they just don’t leak all over the kids bags. Thoughts?

    • Shelagh

      I did that one year. You need to freeze them to tear them apart. Otherwise the plastic tears as your pulling them apart. That was a pain!

  9. Faby

    Don’t give the cheapest candy you can find, moms won’t even let them eat it, and it will end up being tossed away in the garbage, so money wasted!

  10. D

    We do the handing out as well… usually a couple treats per child (and we get a lot of kids come by). You mentioned dollar store candy, it is cheaper, but almost always made in China (the odd time not). Any of that candy gets immediately thrown out at our house because (right or wrong) we just don’t trust it. Same goes for all hard candy like suckers. In the can. As a previously dental assistant that type of candy is the worst for teeth as it is slowly dissolved in the mouth leaving the sugars to sit on the teeth even longer. Goodness, just reread my post and we are such candy snobs!

  11. teachermum

    We are in the boonies with houses on only one side of the street and not much past us so we rarely get many kids. Much more profitable for them to go to the nearby subdivisions, even though they get “bigger” items along our road. Three to seven most years…two years ago 20–where did they come from! so I was prepared last year and no one came! Thus I’ve usually handed out things we would eventually eat like a can of pop with a package of microwave popcorn. Not to pricey if purchased on sale and a BIG treat for a kid all for him/herself! Last year I had chips on hand that were on sale. We have NO problem eating leftover chips around here! I have lots of Cadbury bars left on hand in case we do get kids this year.

    Knowing your numbers is key…but very hard to do around here! My parents remember handing out over 400 items for years. In those days people handed out ONE SMALL item. I remember we had gum, the flat Juicy Fruit or Doublemint sticks. They came in a box of 50 and each kid got one stick. Thing was, candy was more of a treat back then and that was just fine-you only expected one small item from each place. All the families were young with young kids-no one had any money anyhow!!!

  12. Kitty

    I would only hand out what I would eat if there are leftovers, so it’s always chips/cheetos. I never hand out candy and don’t really like all the cheap junk candies. Granted, I only get about 50 kids coming to my house every year so one box of 50 packs of chips for $10 is always enough. I remember the first year I had so much leftover pop from my wedding that I handed those out and the kids were so happy! So in a sense, I only hand out what I would want to receive.

  13. Monica

    My husband says I’m cheap because I’ll only hand out one candy per child. Especially when they’re the big kids (I give em the stuff I don’t like) because they are too old to be trick-or-treating. It’s just, they get so much, they won’t miss out if I don’t give them 2 or 3 treats. Kids should appreciate that you gave them one, not expect a whole lot, like they do now.

  14. Heather

    We live in a rural area and last year we didn’t get any kids but this year just in case, we have LOTS of gum and Dairy Milk bars from the Shoppers Drug Mart 8000 pts promotion.

  15. Shelagh

    It’s hit or miss here as to how many kids we get. First year we had 50, next year over 100! The last year we had 75. So now I buy for 100. I usually buy stuff we like and anything still left over 2days after halloween goes to my work and they eat it there.

  16. Betty

    A lot depends on the area you live in as to what you buy if anything. When we bought our first house, I heard horror stories from friends who said they had over 200 kids for Halloween. So I went out & bought enough candy for 200 kids. Talked to a neighbour lady about it & she was literally rolling on the grass laughing at me. I didn’t realize it was an older neighbourhood (all the little kids grew up & there were only a few kids in the subdivision). For 15 yrs. I averaged between 10-40 kids for Halloween max. Out in the country, nobody comes around. Most times little towns will open up the community centre & just have a party for the kids – no trick or treating!! So I just bought a big container of wrapped bubble gum & kids were happy. Can’t remember how much that was since it was over 30 yrs. ago!!

  17. jessica

    My dad goes to Costco and buys microwave popcorn. Sometimes he would buy those cheese and cracker snacks too. Something kinda healthy…

  18. Tara

    Were never home to hand out candy and considering my daughters bday is the week before I really need to watch the budget. But I do something little up for each of the kids in her class one year I did worms in dirt, another one was clear plastic glasses with orange jello and green whip cream on the top and drew on them to make them look like pumpkins. My daughter loves the houses that give her things that are different such as the popcorn and such so I think thats a great idea Jessica

  19. TallNFunny

    Good tips as usual Cassie!
    I have to agree with Faby. Don’t give out the cheapest candy you could find. I remember receiving those “candy kisses” or candies hard as a rock. Didn’t appreciate them, couldn’t eat them and they ended up getting thrown out. Better off giving out less of better quality stuff and just putting a sign on the door that sorry, candy is gone.

  20. KD

    If you have a good rapport with your dental professional (dentist, hygienist, etc), talk to them. Most will gladly give you a big bag of sample tubes of toothpaste to hand out in lieu of the sugar sweets. Even if you want to include a small treat along with it, it will help both the kids and the budget.

  21. Erica

    This will be my first Halloween living on my own and I’ve decided not to give out treats. Being in a new subdivision surrounded by other subdivisions I have a feeling a lot of kids will be out and I just don’t have the cash to do it. Plus I don’t really feel like sitting outside all night.

  22. Linda

    I work nights and am usually asleep when the kids are out and about. I don’t think there are many in my neighbourhood anyway.

  23. Janet

    Buy things you like in case you overbuy. The first year we moved to the neighbourhood we bought a huge box of chocolate bars, knowing there would be lots of kids since we were so close to the elementary school, but since we live on such a small street that even the local paper boys forget about, we had about 10 kids. The same every year.

    • Cassie Howard

      Good tip!

  24. Lisa

    My main concern when buying candy, or any food for my family, is where it was manufactured. If it’s Canada or USA, I’ll buy it. If it’s China or doesn’t indicate, I pass. And yes, I spend a lot of time reading labels when I shop but to me it’s worth it.

    • Betty

      I do the same as you Lisa. That’s probably the reason why I take longer to shop than most people (as I always read the labels). If label reads “Processed in Canada” I have been told by local farmers that they import the fruits/veggies, etc. to Canada & that it’s processed here (eg. apple juice). So I skip labels that say processed in Canada too.

  25. debbie

    Buy the club pack of individual hot chocolate from NoFrills/Fortinos/Loblaws the yellow box….hand those out for kids over 4 yrs of age and buy a bag of suckers for the wee ones and give them a couple each seeing how huge bags of suckers are dirt cheap.
    We never know how many kids we’ll get so the hot chocolate works out great and we just drink up the leftovers over the winter. When my adult kids were young they really appreciated when a neighbour handed out the hot chocolate …they’d come home, sort candy and have their hot chocolate.

    • Cassie Howard

      Love that idea!

  26. Ramona

    We love Halloween at our house. It can be a bit $$$ though….so we pick up those little loot bag cellophane type baggies from the dollar store (20-25 in the pack) and put in 2 pcs. of chococlate and a couple of spooky stickers, tie it with an orange ribbon and hand 1 out to each kid. It looks nice and it saves a lot of money….really stretches the sweets out…we have a huge kid neighbourhood here and this year we expect over 100 kids! I usually get together with a girlfriend or 2 and have a little bag stuffing afternoon with coffee and chit chat and end up eating a few sweets too…lol…Happy Halloween everyone!!

  27. Angie

    I go to Costco and get a box of granola bars and get juice boxes at the beginning of the school year when they r on sale and give those out. We live in the country so average about 25-30 kids. Then whatever is left over my kids can take to school.

  28. Dawn

    Every year I give away the huge freezies. I get a box of 28-30 at the end of the summer season for anywhere from $1.99-$3.00. The kids LOVE them. I am now known as the freezie house!! Works for me and it is cheap. 🙂

  29. Melissa

    What I do is stock up on November 1st every year. Walmart (at least ours) always over-buys by a LOT so selection isn’t really an issue, and the candy is always 50 – 75% off. Then we just store it in the basement stock pile until the following Halloween. And don’t let expiration dates scare you, those things are a joke most of the time and ALMOST anything sealed or frozen (obviously I don’t mean meat and dairy here!) is good for months and sometimes even years after the date on the package – just check any chocolate for blooming before you hand it out (good excuse to eat a few!).

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