Image: Unsplash
Image: Unsplash

Celebrating Halloween on a student budget

As the temperatures drop and the skies turn grey, we head into the lovely British winter. I don’t really see the point in Autumn because we rarely get orange leaves and lukewarm weather – it tends to drastically change from garden barbecues to thermals and umbrellas.

One clear thing about our seasonal changes is the start of the academic term and the emergence of holiday decorations in supermarkets. The last week of September marks the beginning of a holiday season in the UK. This pre-Christmas season is filled with holidays such as Diwali, Guy Fawkes and Halloween.

Halloween is probably the most accessible holiday to celebrate at the moment since we can’t all wear sarees. When I was 17, I had my first Halloween ‘gathering’ with my friends which was simply throwing fireworks around a park and eating sweets. I wouldn’t say it was the best way to celebrate Halloween but at least we had the spooky spirit.

There are many things to do for a household Halloween

Although Halloween can be considered to be marketed towards children, I’d say that it’s become more of a young adult thing to have Halloween parties and gatherings. During pre-pandemic times you could have a huge Halloween party with literally hundreds of people, but we truly are limited this year, for our own good. There are many things to do for a household Halloween such as decorating, cosplaying and baking.

One of my favourite places to shop from is Etsy. It’s often my go-to store for things like gifts, decor and artwork. Etsy sells Halloween decorations such as fake bats, fake spiderwebs and anything you could want. Buying decorations on Etsy can be student-friendly because you can filter down prices to as cheap as you’d like.

Sellers on Etsy also tend to have free delivery within the UK, alongside sales and discounts for their individual stores. I’d say Etsy is easier and more reliable than eBay because you can communicate with the seller as well as see reviews very clearly.

Pumpkin carving is a staple of Halloween decor that you can do by yourself

If you prefer buying decorations physically, Coventry market has loads of independent stalls that are likely to sell decorations closer to the time. Stores such as Arcade Fancy Dress in the city centre might sell decorations in addition to costumes.

Making decorations at home requires some effort but it can be more fun if you do it with your flatmates. Pumpkin carving is a staple of Halloween decor that you can do by yourself. It’s very easy, you literally only need a pumpkin and a knife for the simplest of pumpkins. If you want a sexy pumpkin, you can include candles or lanterns which probably won’t be as cheap but it’s still a modest decoration for a university flat or house.

When I think of Halloween, I think of the colours orange and black, and I also associate any form of orange food with Halloween. Halloween food to me is generally sweet – chocolates, cakes, cupcakes and any form of candy. It’s easy to buy Halloween themed food but it can be overpriced during this time of year so you might as well make it yourself.

My favourite aspect of Halloween is the costumes and cosplays

Using orange and black food colouring will make anything seem like it’s Halloween food. You could colour your rice orange or even have orange chicken or tofu. Baking is an activity that usually brings people together so baking cupcakes with orange frosting as a group could be a wholesome way to celebrate Halloween safely. If you do the pumpkin carving there would be leftover seeds which could be turned into flapjack or granola, or you could use the remaining pumpkin to turn into a pie.

My favourite aspect of Halloween is the costumes and cosplays. Depending on what you’re going for, there are literally thousands of budget-friendly outfits you could wear. Aliexpress is an online store that has a lot of costumes for cosplayers and just clothes in general. There is a range of costume types on Aliexpress; it’s easy to find a relatively cheap costume rather than the official ones.

Coventry also has a fancy-dress store which would include the typical Halloween costumes. You don’t have to cosplay or anything since you could choose a theme to dress up as instead. Y2K fashion is in at the moment and it’s becoming more accessible to buy in thrift stores or Depop. Perhaps you could pick an iconic pop culture moment since it is easy to find clothing ‘dupes’ online.

Whatever you choose to do this Halloween, there are lots of ways to celebrate safely and on a student budget.

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