How to Make Money

Is Your Holiday Budget Looking a Little Scary? Try These 13 Halloween Side Hustles

October 17, 2015
by Jamie Cattanach
Contributor

Halloween is one of our favorite holidays around The Penny Hoarder office. We love everything about it — and we can’t wait to share our costumes (and see yours!).

Halloween is also the beginning of the winter holiday season. What better time to make some last-minute cash for your holiday shopping?

Don’t worry, it’s not a trick: Here are 13 fun ways to make money on the side this Halloween.

1. Become a Haunted House Spook

Have you ever been through a haunted house or corn maze on Halloween? You know, the ones populated by scary ghouls who sneak up on you and freak you out?

Well, someone’s gotta do the dirty work of scaring visitors.

Most of these jobs pay minimum wage or a little better, but getting paid to dress up and act spooky sounds like a pretty fun part-time job to me.

Plus, look out for jobs that double as fun, unique experiences — like this listing for a Halloween Lift Ride Cast Member in Utah. Keep your eyes peeled for similar opportunities in your area.

Or, if nothing’s coming up, you could start your own haunted house. While this one is more of a long game, haunted houses and scary theme parks are an industry on the rise. If you’re a Halloween fanatic with the capital, time and desire to run a startup, this might just be the perfect business for you!

2. Give Ghost Tours

When I was in college, I had a pretty sweet part-time job: I drove a horse and carriage around the streets of St. Augustine, Florida, giving historical tours.

But around Halloween, our traffic increased a lot. St. Augustine is the oldest town in America, and with such a long and storied history, it’s considered one of the most haunted as well.

Riders were willing to shell out top dollar for ghost-themed tours, and not just on the carriages. There’s a whole ghost tourism market in St. Augustine and other “haunted” American cities, like Savannah, Georgia, and St. Petersburg, Florida.

Check to see if your local ghost tour outlets are hiring for increased volume around Halloween — or even start your own tour if you know lots of local lore!

3. Make and Sell Costumes

Looking for something a little tamer? Something you could do at home?

If you’re a whiz with a sewing machine, try making and selling Halloween costumes. If you’re thorough, your wares can fetch quite the price tag online or in local markets.

Don’t forget pet costumes — fur-parents are notorious for their willingness to spend money on their pets!

4. Sell Other Cute Halloween Edibles or Crafts

Do you have a knack for creating adorable crafts? You could sell your Halloween-themed decorations and desserts online to time-pressed party hosts or Halloween fanatics.

Want another artsy way to earn that’s a little more interactive?

5. Become a Halloween Makeup Artist

If you’re skilled in the arts of makeup or facepainting, Halloween is a great time to put your craft to work. You can find job listings for face painting positions, or offer your services to your local community.

6. Be a Halloween Party Planner

If you’re great at event planning, offer to create awesome Halloween gatherings, from arranging food and decorations to planning activities and guest lists.

It’s a fun way to test the waters of this potential freelance business — or to explore a fun niche if you’ve already started organizing other types of events.

7. DJ a Halloween party

If you can spin a record, drop a beat and keep a party going, consider a gig as a Halloween DJ. Just make sure you’re doing more than playing “Thriller” on repeat.

8. Run a Concession Stand

For partygoers stuck in high-Halloween traffic areas or famous Halloween towns like Athens, Ohio, a bottle of water could be a godsend — and worth the $3 cost. If you stock up at a warehouse club beforehand, you could earn a serious profit.

Just make sure you check with the local powers that be to see whether you need any permits, which varies state to state. You may need to look into food handling requirements and check with parent event officials as well.

9. Work at a Pop-Up Shop or Party Store

Party outlets often hire temporary seasonal employees to help ease the burden of the extra Halloween volume.

Halloween pop-up shops are a surprisingly huge industry — so you’re bound to have one or two nearby.

10. Become a Professional Pumpkin Carver

Are you truly awesome at carving pumpkins? Does your jack-o’-lantern easily outshine the rest of the grimacing gourds on the block? You might be able to sell your creations for big bucks!

This company sells their pumpkins for between $150 and $500. When pumpkins aren’t in season, they switch to watermelon and squash, so if you’re lucky, this could turn into a year-round gig.

11. Grow a Pumpkin Patch

If you live in the country, put your land to work and grow some pumpkins! In 2012, Americans spent $113 million on pumpkins alone, not to mention other Halloween costs.

Why not rake in some of that profit? Plus, you’ll have plenty of pumpkin to nosh on for yourself.

12. Build a Corn Maze

Corn mazes are a huge source of autumn fun. This one in California charges $12 per ticket — not bad.

Add in hay rides or concessions, and you’ve started a small business. If you don’t have a cornfield of your own, see if any local farmers are interested in a partnership.

13. Be a Trick-or-Treating Chaperone or Babysitter

Bafflingly, Halloween is not (yet!) a nationally recognized holiday.

Even though Halloween falls on a Saturday this year, some parents will get stuck working.

If you love kids and want an excuse to go trick-or-treating as an adult, what better way than to offer babysitting and chaperoning services on Halloween? It’s a pretty sweet gig — you might make as much as $18 per hour.

Your Turn: Are you going to make money on the side this Halloween? Share your ideas in the comments!

Jamie Cattanach is junior writer at The Penny Hoarder and a native Floridian. Halloween is her favorite holiday.

by Jamie Cattanach
Contributor for The Penny Hoarder

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