Our Top Halloween Money Lessons


November 8, 2018


Happy Halloween! We hope you and your family had a great time carving pumpkins, showing off this year’s costumes, and trick-or-treating.

Consider taking advantage of the holiday to bring up some key financial lessons with your kids. Halloween is chock full of money lessons, and this week, the inherQuests team is here to share what Halloween taught us about money growing up, and how we use Halloween as a teaching opportunity today.

Saving for your sweet tooth

Like a lot of parents, Emily’s used to let her have a little candy right away, but told her to save the rest of it to eat slowly over time. “I think that helped us learn how to save, and that we can’t have everything all at once,” Emily says. It also prevents stomach aches!

Candy as currency

Martina grew up with two siblings, and trading candy with them on Halloween taught her important lessons around worth. They went trick or treating with friends in different neighborhoods, then came together for “official” candy trade meetings with diverse hauls. She recalls that everyone knew that “a Three Musketeers is worth at least two mini Hershey’s bars, and that a Reese’s cup is top dollar.” (They also paid their parents a thank you fee for helping out with their costumes.)

The cost of costumes

For Jennifer, Halloween is an opportunity to assess whether store bought costumes are worth the price tag. In her family today, they “talk about whether the cost of manufactured costumes is money well spent or whether we have just as much fun in homemade costumes.” By bringing this up in a shared conversation, a savings opportunity turns into a learning opportunity, too.

Trick or treat for charity

Halloween isn’t just about collecting as much candy as possible. Megan remembers how the kids in her family carried UNICEF boxes around every Halloween and counted up the coins at the end of the night. She says that “It was a way to learn about giving and the importance of thinking about other people,” even during a fun holiday, too.

Budget for your candy cauldron

The cost of giving out candy to your community on Halloween can add up. Dina says the first time she “agreed to do it in my building here in New York, I bought way too much candy.” It was a grown-up lesson in budgeting!

Not just “trick-or-treat”—say “thank you,” too

But the actual cost of handing out candy isn’t just something to keep in mind as an adult—it’s a conversation to have with little kids, too. Megan teaches her son that “candy on Halloween isn’t free… people buy the treats and decide to participate and share with the kids trick or treating.” As a family they talk about how it’s a fun activity for a community, but it’s also “how important it is to say ‘thank you’ to everyone sharing treats!”

This Halloween, keep in mind these and other financial lessons to pass on to kids. Whether it’s a one-time comment or a sit-down conversation, don’t be afraid to bring money talks into the celebration.

What has Halloween taught you about money?

Article by Katie Simon

Katie Simon Katie Simon is a writer whose work has appeared in The New York Times, Business Insider, The Washington Post, BuzzFeed, and elsewhere. She earned a BA in creative writing and marketing at New York University and an MA in nonfiction writing at University of East Anglia in England. She is from Boston, MA.

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