Why You Need to Start Buying Candy Now

Americans are planing to spend an average of $82.93 each on Halloween this year, putting total spending at $8.4 billion — an all-time high in the history of the National Retail Federation survey. Moreover, $24.43 of that Halloween spend will be dedicated to candy, with more going toward the cost of costumes.

In light of these figures, now is a great time to head to your favorite Halloween headquarters to pick up a few bags of candy or find some budget-friendly alternatives for celebrating.

Candy Costs Jump During Halloween

According to economic data from IHS Global Insight, Halloween candy prices are on the rise. The price of cocoa has also increased in recent years, a fact that has, in turn, impacted Halloween candy costs in stores.

And don’t be surprised to see the price of candy you buy year-round peak in October. Retailers mark up certain types of candy, while putting others on sale during the Halloween rotation, so it might pay to check back often for savings.

According to the NRF,  about 44 percent of celebrators will be making their way to the store for Halloween-related purchases during the first two weeks of October, so you’ll want to scour the newest deals to make sure you don’t miss out on the best inventory. Plan on making a shopping trip as early in the season as possible to take advantage of the best deals and take your pick of the bulk bags of Halloween candy.

Related: DIY Halloween Kids Costumes for Under $10

Tips for Saving on Halloween Candy

Candy and Halloween might be synonymous in the minds of many Americans, but that doesn’t mean everyone enjoys the same sweet treats. According to a survey by Influenster, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups scored a top-three spot across all 50 states. Candy Corn came in second in popularity, while other favorites included Hershey’s Kisses, Tootsie Rolls and Swedish Fish.

Whatever your weakness, you can find ways to cut costs on candy this season. If spending around $25 on candy this year for your Halloween celebration is out of the question, consider one of the following ways to save.

Buy the cheapest in bulk.

Old-school candy favorites like Tootsie Rolls, Dum Dums and SweeTarts are some of the cheapest types of candy you can buy for a crowd. A one-pound bag of Dum Dums costs $6.32 from Jet, while a 300-count box of SweeTarts will run you $17.99 via OldTimeCandy.com.

Most trick-or-treaters won’t remember what type of candy you gave out — unless it was something unusual or a full-size bar — so, if you’re on a tight budget, don’t be afraid to cut back your Halloween budget by handing out these affordable all-time favorites.

Take advantage of ‘buy 1, get 1’ deals.

Many grocery stores run “buy one, get one free” specials each week, some of which include bags of fun-size candy or miniature chocolates. Stock up on these items if you want to hand out higher-quality candy this season. If you can find some manufacturer coupons for those items, even better. Most stores will honor the coupon on top of the sale price, allowing you to save even more.

Repurpose and recycle.

If your kids are heading out early on their trick-or-treating rounds, you might be able to repurpose some of their less-desirable treats later in the night.

Brent Shelton, online shopping and consumer expert at FatWallet, said, “Send your kids out to other communities that hold trick-or-treat times before your own community’s time, grab the candy your kids do not like and hand that out for your own trick-or-treat guests.”

Trade out candy for popcorn.

Break out the party popcorn machine or popcorn maker and outfit it with cutouts, streamers and other Halloween party decorations, so you have it ready to go near the door for your trick-or-treaters. You can buy empty Halloween-themed paper bags from a party goods store and hand out festive bags of popcorn instead of candy this year.

Shelton suggested making different batches with various flavorings to offer the kids. “Have an alternative flavor for meat-eater adults cooked in bacon grease,” said Shelton.

Make the most of store loyalty programs.

If your supermarket or favorite big-box store offers any type of rewards or loyalty program that gives out custom coupons based on past purchases, be sure to collect these as you shop, so you don’t miss out on a great deal. Some stores will even offer a discount on all candy purchases made within a given week or a bigger discount on certain bags of candy.

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Offer baked treats instead of candy.

If you love to bake, consider whipping up a batch of Halloween-themed sugar cookies, brownies or mini cupcakes that you can bag up and offer trick-or-treaters. Sugar cookies are among the cheapest things you can bake. According to Consume This First, baking a dozen from scratch costs just $1.64.

You can prepare the dough well ahead of time and freeze it so all you have to do is bake your cookies on Halloween or the day before. Keep an eye out for grocery store deals on baking ingredients during the fall for even more great savings.

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This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com:

Why You Need to Start Buying Candy Now

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