You might be thinking that hosting a Halloween party is out of your budget this year, but with some savvy planning, you can have a night to remember.

Narrow it Down

Start your planning by keeping it simple. Chose a single theme and color scheme and stick to it. For example, you could choose a graveyard theme and decorate accordingly. In that case, a good color scheme might involve grays and earth tones. Whatever concept you come up with, make sure it’s one that keeps you limited. You don’t have to do every spooky thing you can think of.

Timing is Everything

Try throwing your party the weekend after Halloween. Many stores will have discounted their decorations and snacks in order to move inventory.

Get Thrifty

Make a dollar store the first stop on your decoration shopping list. You should be able to find all the orange paper plates you need for just a couple of dollars. Don’t forget that you can always finagle decorations yourself. A good craft session using dollar store items will help plan your party on a budget. DIY Halloween decorations could include simple white balloons with faces drawn on them to act as ghostly visitors.

Make it Late

Hosting your Halloween party after dinner eliminates the need to serve guests a full meal or even substantial snacks. Some Halloween candy, chips and a veggie trays are all simple and inexpensive. Of course, you could always cook from scratch using inexpensive ingredients. A super easy and affordable recipe is a candy corn cake. Just get your favorite recipe or box mix and decorate it with candy corn colors: orange on the outer ring, followed by yellow, then white frosting. For more Halloween treat ideas, follow us on Pinterest

Movie Time

Pick your favorite scary movie to play at your party. If you have Netflix, it typically come out with a list of Halloween movies that you won’t have to pay any extra to watch. A good thriller is a solid way to set the atmosphere without decorations.

Turn Up the Jukebox

Just as Netflix has a Halloween film selection, Pandora typically comes out with a classically spooky playlist that’s free. If you want to skip the commercials, head to your local library to find a CD of Halloween songs. Just be sure to borrow it ahead of time–the selection is sure to be checked out early.

Dress Up

Ask your guests to wear costumes on theme (or some approximation of it). The ghosts and ghouls slinking through your door will become a living bit of decoration that you didn’t have to pay for. Besides, dressing up is the best part of a Halloween party.

Digital Invite

There are a couple of options for free, digital invitations to your amazing and inexpensive party. Facebook is an obvious tool–just create an event and invite away. If you’re opting for something a little more formal, send an e-vite. Just make sure you get the email address of everyone you’d like to invite.

Planning a Halloween party on a budget can be simple and fun. Just start with the above and you’re on your way to a fun, frightening night.