Personal Finance

Holiday Budget Looking a Little Scary? Try These 12 Halloween Side Hustles

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?

We have some spook-tacular ideas for ways to earn extra cash with Halloween seasonal jobs.

Halloween Jobs to Help Your Earn Extra Money

Don’t worry, it’s not a trick: Here are 12 fun ways to make money on the side this Halloween.

1. Become a Haunted House Spook

Have you ever been through a haunted house 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 — we went behind the scenes to find out what it’s like to be a scare actor. Keep your eyes peeled for similar opportunities in your area.

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.

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, including Savannah, Georgia, and Salem, Massachusetts

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

A mother creates a pumpkin costume for her son.

Getty Images

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. We talked to a woman who’s made a year-round side gig making and selling cosplay costumes

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

4. Sell Cute Halloween Edibles or Crafts

Do you have a knack for creating adorable crafts? You could sell your Halloween crafts and decorations online to time-pressed party hosts or Halloween fanatics. We have a step-by-step guide for getting started selling on etsy, plus tips for boosting your online craft sales.

5. Become a Halloween Makeup Artist

A woman gets her Halloween makeup put on by a professional makeup artist.

Jennifer Hicks gets her makeup put on for Scream-A-Geddon in Dade City, Fla. Chris Zuppa/The Penny Hoarder

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

If you’re skilled in the arts of makeup or face painting, Halloween is a great time to put your craft to work. You could get a job painting up haunted-house zombies 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 starting your own 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. Sell Snacks to Halloween Revelers

A plate full of Halloween themed treats.

Tina Russell/The Penny Hoarder

For partygoers stuck in high-Halloween traffic areas or cities that celebrate Halloween with festivals, a bottle of water or yummy snack could be a godsend — and worth the markup. If you have a knack for baking or can stock up on supplies at a warehouse club beforehand, you could earn a serious profit.

Just make sure you check with the local powers-that-be about permits you may need to start selling your goods, which vary 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!

When pumpkins aren’t in season, you could potentially switch to watermelon and squash and turn this into a year-round gig.

11. Build a Corn Maze

Two kids wipe the seat from their faces as they walk through a corn maze.

Gavin Garcia, 8, and Layla Raymond, 9, take a short break before looking for more clues to leave the corn maze at HarvestMoon Fun Farm in Masaryktown, Fla. Chris Zuppa/The Penny Hoarder

Corn mazes are a huge source of autumn fun. This one in California charges $15 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.

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

Bafflingly, Halloween is not (yet!) a nationally recognized holiday, so 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 $21 per hour.

Jamie Cattanach is a contributor to The Penny Hoarder.

This article originally appeared on The Penny Hoarder