How to Do Halloween on a Student Budget

Halloween can get scary expensive. Here are 10 ideas to keep it low budget 👇

Dressing up, decorations, themed drinks and spooky snacks – when the costs of Halloween rack up, it’s a fright-night for your bank account. But you don’t have to spend a fortune to host a banging Halloween-themed party.

With the end of spooky season approaching, we’ve put together some of the best Halloween activities for students on a budget. Check it out 🎃


Pick a theme, any theme 👗

Every hauntingly good Halloween party needs a theme – whether it’s Zombie Apocalypse, Witches Coven or Day of the Dead. Even the classic colour scheme of black and orange can help to bring everything together. Take a trip down to your local pound store and stock up on supplies that meet the remit. 

Let’s say you’re opting for a murder mystery party: all you need is some police tape, some blood-stain stickers, black paper and white chalk for a body outline on the floor and you’re good to go. Plus, by sticking to a theme, you limit the spend to only items that fit within it.

DIY Decorations 💡

We all fantasise about affording the fancy decs in Paperchase. But let’s be real: ain’t nobody got the budget for a £100 worth of bejewelled bats. Instead, why not gather your friends for a crafting sesh to make your own decorations? You’d be surprised what coloured paper, scissors, string, glitter and a little bit of creativity can achieve. Check out this paper garland from Etsy for inspiration.

Cheap tricks for sweet treats 🍬

Even a modest budget can make a mean Halloween banquet.  For an affordable main course, try an easy homemade pizza complete with mozzarella ghosts and black olive spiders. For dessert, unleash your inner baker and make some adorable spooky treats for you and your housemates to enjoy. 

We love these easy bake Halloween cookies – they’re simple to make, taste delicious and are almost too cute to eat. What’s more, the ingredients will go far, so you can make several batches to accompany a horror movie marathon.

Spooktacular drinking games 🍻

Sadly, lockdown restrictions mean Halloween pub crawls and club nights are off the menu – but who ever said you can’t go big AND go home? “Good Witch, Bad Witch” is a classic drinking game for students on a budget.

Go in with your housemates on a few spirits (no pun intended) and mix up some “good witch” shots such as fireballs and vodka sodas along with a line of “bad witch” shots – we’re talking straight tequila, sambuca or whisky. Next, everyone flips a coin: if they get heads, they get a good witch shot. Tails will take you straight to the bad witch table where scary shots and a long night awaits…

Netflix & Kill 📺

Take advantage of the endless catalogue of scary movies available on streaming services for an all-night horror-show. It’s totally free (with the exception of a subscription) and is a low-key thrill ride in itself. Start with the classics if you haven’t seen them: Halloween, Scream and Friday the 13th are all a must-watch.

Mix it up with some modern entries like It Follows or Hereditary – just make sure you have something or someone to hide behind. You’ve been warned...

Sustainably spooky costumes 👻

Don’t blow your overdraft on high-end fancy dress and top-tier face-paints for one night only. There’s plenty of ways to keep the costs down on your costume and still look the part.  Charity shops are a great place for student Halloween costumes and finishing touches – after all, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure! You just have to think outside the box and get a bit creative.

Alternatively, why not customise old clothes you don’t wear anymore? Ripped tights, fake blood and dirty clothes are all you need to become a victim of a Zombie attack. 

Pumpkin carving competition 🎃

If you don’t mind getting your hands dirty, this one is an absolute classic Halloween activity. It’s also harder than it looks! But don’t let that dampen your ambition. All you need is several pumpkins (the closer to Halloween you buy them, the cheaper they will be) and a carving knife. We also recommend gloves for safety and a spoon so you can scoop out the innards.

If you like the flavour of pumpkin, don’t let the good bits go to waste - you can use them to make all manner of things, including a winter warmer soup or seasonal muffins. 

Go on a ghost tour of the city 🕵️‍♂️

Every city has its secrets, and what better way to finish the spooky season than a ghost tour of all old haunts? If you’re a lover of all things paranormal, take the opportunity to discover the darker side of your city’s history. 

Save yourself some cash and carry out the research yourself: then impress your friends with your local knowledge of the ghosts and ghouls who inhabit iconic buildings and your favourite pubs. Top it off with a quiz back at the flat – whoever scores the most points can get first choice on what horror film to watch!

Do the monster mash 💃

The clubs being closed is no excuse to have an early night; Halloween events for students don’t start and end on the high street. Crank the spooky tunes and host a Halloween dance-off in your house. We recommend starting the competition once the drinks are flowing and adding some quirky rules to keep it interesting.

A memory dance game always makes for a catalogue of errors: start with a simple move, like the sprinkler or the shopping trolley, and build up to incorporate a series of moves that your friends must remember to avoid penalties - like hopping on one leg for an entire song.

What plans do you have this Halloween? Let us know on Twitter.

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