Most people balk at signs of the impending fall holidays because they fear what’s coming — or rather, going: their money. But this year, instead of removing all the bills from your wallet for Halloween this-and-that, stuff it to the gills with fresh cash using these ways to turn October 31 on its paycheck-draining pumpkin head.
1. Attach business cards to trick-or-treaters’ candy
Have a business you want to promote? Get in front of a lot of customers this Halloween by attaching your business card to the candy you’re handing out. When parents inspect the candy later, they’ll find it and hopefully call you. If you own a restaurant or retail store in town or provide a service, try a 10 percent discount instead of a standard business card. You’ll build brand awareness among neighbors that may not know about your business, and you’ll spend just pennies on new customer acquisition. (Shout-out to my lovely aunt for this idea. Genius.)
2. Rent out your guest space to tourists
If you’ve been considering whether or not to rent out your home or spare room on Airbnb and other micro-subletting services, use Halloween as a test run. There’s usually higher demand around holidays so you’ll likely book with relative ease if you keep your accommodations comfortable, clean, and affordable. This is a great way to experience what hosting travelers is like (without committing to it as a full-time job) while pocketing a little extra income. (See also: 5 Easy Ways to Make Good Money From Airbnb)
3. Sell old costumes online
If you still have last year’s kids’ and adult costumes, and you don’t plan to wear them again, try getting rid of them locally via Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, or online selling apps like Letgo. You’ll have the best chance of unloading your unwanted garb with great photos and reasonable prices. Start at about 60 percent off what you paid for the costume originally and haggle from there. (See also: Turn Old Clothes Into Money With These 4 Tools and Apps)
4. Charge your friends for a sweet fix
You probably won’t have much luck at this as an adult, but if you’re a high school or college student, tap into your entrepreneurial skills early and peddle Halloween candy for a price. Everyone is in the sweets-eating mood at the end of October, so seize this opportunity to turn your trick-or-treating stash or reduced-priced seasonal candy bags into a profit. Undercut the competition, i.e. vending machines, and you’ve got a mini-business on your hands.
5. Sit for parents of children or pets
Many adults like to enjoy the Halloween festivities as much as the kids do, so if you know any parents or pet owners, offer your sitting services to allow them to enjoy the parties to which they were invited. There are several popular services that will help you market yourself, like Care.com for child care and Rover.com for pet care. Each will help you build a profile, tap into the local market, and share your services on social media. (See also: How to Make $400+ a Week as a Pet Sitter)
6. Drive revelers around in your car
I’ve been an Uber and Lyft driver for a couple years now, and I can tell you firsthand that there’s major demand surrounding Halloween. I’ve made a few hundred bucks on Halloween night alone, and that’s only driving from about 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. Demand, of course, will depend on the area in which you live, but if there’s not a lot to do where you are, drive to another, more popular area where you know people will be partying and therefore need a safe ride home. (See also: How to Earn Extra Money Driving for Uber or Lyft)
7. Host a haunted house
A friend of mine told me that his family charged 25 cents for admission to the amateur haunted house they put together in their own home, but this was back in the 1960s. The inflation rate today would be $2.07, and nobody’s going to pay that hefty fee to enter your dungeon of terror, but you could probably squeeze out $1-$2 per family if you create an interesting/scary enough attraction.
8. Set up a trick-or-treating yard sale
Have a pile of junk you’d like to sell? Take advantage of the built-in Halloween-night foot traffic by setting up a small yard sale while you’re handing out candy. Provide bags for smaller items, and be flexible enough to allow next-day pickup for larger items that chaperones won’t want to carry around all night.
9. Offer your face painting or hair and makeup skills
A quick post on social media about your hair and makeup prowess will likely fill up your Halloween weekend schedule. Expand your reach with a post on Craigslist. Everybody wants to look their best for the festivities, and they’ll pay a pretty penny for it.
10. Tailor costumes
Holes in costumes may need mending, or someone might need an old costume taken in, and if you’re handy with a needle and thread or a sewing machine, you can pocket a few crisp ones for your work.
11. Pick up a seasonal job as a haunted house actor
Enjoy scaring the bejesus out of people? Local haunted houses and corn mazes are hiring actors to spook guests this time of year, as are amusement parks that host seasonal events, like Six Flags’ Fright Fest.
12. DJ a Halloween party
Spin “Monster Mash” and other macabre music by DJing Halloween parties. It doesn’t have to be a major affair, so look for kids’ shindigs, neighborhood parties, and community center events.
13. Make themed baked goods for last-minuters
I have a friend who makes the most incredible, perfectly decorated cookies, for which she’s paid top dollar on custom orders. If you’re a whiz in the kitchen, offer your baked goods to neighbors for their parties and maybe even pop into your local restaurants and cafes to ask if they might be willing to put your treats in their cases for a cut of the profits. These are the baby steps to a small business.
14. Chaperone children for trick-or-treating
Sort of like baby-sitting; you’ll get paid in cash plus a few candy bars. Parents or guardians working late and therefore unable to take their kids trick-or-treating will be interested in this service.
15. Sell water to thirsty parents
Walking children around for hours on end can really take it out of you. Help adults rehydrate by offering bottled water for $1 a pop, or set up a lemonade/Kool-Aid stand to sell small cups of the sweet stuff for 50 cents to a dollar.