Halloween candy is delicious—always has been, and always will be. When I was little, my brother and I turned "candy basket espionage" into an art form. We would wait until the other was out of their room and sneak in and nab our favorites from the other's basket. I have to say that, being older and savvier, I was better at this than my poor little brother. But in our house, all was fair when it came to love and sweets—a motto we still live by today. If you are also drooling at the thought of all that candy (age doesn't matter here!) you will love these neat tricks to score tasty candy for less!

How much will your neighbors spend on Halloween treats?

According to the National Retail Federation's "Halloween Headquarters" (yep, they actually have one!), the average household will spend just about $77 on Halloween this year. This includes costumes (for kids and pets), decorations and candy.

How much of that goes to candy? About $21 per person (for more, see Forbes). Use these six great tricks to beat the bell curve and save!

Most popular Halloween Candies 

According to Time, these are the most popular Halloween candies that trick-or-treaters crave.

Most popular chocolate candies:

  • Kit Kat
  • Twix
  • M&M’s
  • Snickers
  • Reese's Peanut Butter Cups

Most popular sweet non-chocolate candies:

  • Skittles
  • Starburst
  • Candy corn
  • Gummy bears

6 Great tricks to get cheap treats

Use these tricks to get more sweets for less!

1. Know your candy by shelf life.

When it comes to un-eaten candy, expiration dates can serve as a helpful guideline. However, most expiration dates relate more to flavor than integrity. To keep your candy fresh, mark the buy date on the bag and store it in a cool (55-60 degrees Fahrenheit), dry (low humidity) area.

Candy storage shelf life cheat sheet:

  • Hard candy lasts the longest—by far. Bagged hard candy that is stored in a dry, cool place can last up to 5+ years without losing flavor. For loose, hard candy, sprinkle with granulated white sugar and then store in the freezer.
  • Sweet non-chocolate candy is your next best bet. You can get up to two years out of your sugary non-chocolate candies with proper storage.
  • Pure chocolate candy. Chocolate candy and candy bars will last 13+ months with proper storage—some will last up to 24 months, although the flavor may become less enticing after the 13-month mark.

Candy you don't want to keep for next year:

  • Gum
  • Soft-center candies
  • Fancy assorted boxed chocolates
  • Caramels or nougat
  • Taffy
  • Unwrapped, soft candies of any kind
  • Mints

2. Have your kids sort through their candy stash (and your existing stockpile), keeping only what they love.

This tactic supports your wallet in two ways.

  • First, if Halloween night is still going strong when your kids return, you can just dump whatever candy your kids don't want into the pot to give out to other trick-or-treaters.
  • Second, so long as the cheat sheet from #1 supports it, you can use your existing stockpile for this year's trick-or-treaters and store what remains for next year.

3. Branch out from candy into other fun giveaways.

While this may not sound like the most popular option, for some young trick-or-treaters, it’s the only option. Celiac disease, gluten intolerance, nut allergies and other dangers prevent some of today's kids from enjoying "traditional" Halloween candy.

These ideas can help to broaden your treat options:

  • Ask your kids to "donate" unwanted small toys and games to the cause. (As an added bonus, this gets them to clean up their rooms too!)
  • Scrounge around the car and casa for old Mickey D’s Happy Meal freebies and other non-edible small gifts you can give away.
  • Visit local cheap places (dollar stores, thrift stores, local charities, yard sales) to find nice small wind-up toys, stuffed animals and other little goodies kids will love.
  • Don't forget the samples! Check your stockpile for samples that might be great stand-ins for sweets.

4. Don't assume "fun size" is cheaper (even though it often is).

A quick search of Halloween mamas chatting online about candy prices reveals a surprising occasional truth—sometimes, full size is actually cheaper than fun size!

Here, three factors can affect cost:

  • Quantity per bag (This will be tied to volume of trick-or-treaters since kids do tend to prefer full size when economically possible!)
  • Available coupons/discounts/promotions
  • Number of trick-or-treaters your house gets

Note: It can be a good idea to keep a count of this year's trick-or-treaters so you can benchmark costs for next year's holiday.

5. Steer clear of buying candy you personally love.

Your waistline and your wallet will thank you for this one. If you think you have the willpower to resist, this survey says otherwise. (The short version: 90% of parents confess to sneaking from their kiddos' stash!)

6. It almost goes without saying…USE THOSE COUPONS!

KCL can help you out here—be sure to bookmark these pages and return for Halloween candy coupons, deals, and savings.