My suggestion is to check out your local grocery stores that offer buy one get one free deals, if there are any. Printable coupons are easy to find, and I match those with the sales. For instance, last week my local grocery store had 3 lb bags of Laffy Taffy bogo. Regular price is 8.99 each. So you get twice the amount for the money, and THEN I had coupons to stack with it. With coupons, I paid 5.99 for 6 pounds of Laffy Taffy, and regular price would have been 17.98. It can be done on the (fairly) cheap!
We are doing treat bags this year and holy crap, yeah, it's expensive! We started buying candy at the end of September - Buying one box almost every week. We just bought it at our local grocery store...Probably not the cheapest, but we got one on sale the one week. It's easier on the budget to buy it gradually rather than all at once. Just picked up our last box today and that should be enough to fill bags and have some loose candy for extra kids.
Normally we'd buy candy a few days in advance according to what the weather would be, but we like more variety when doing treat bags. We usually don't get more than 45 TOTers max, so it's not too bad. I couldn't imagine buying for hundreds! We'd really have to buy early to afford that!
Candy is expensive in general, so I guess buying gradually might help the pocketbook. Since it's getting closer, checking flyers for deals might help.
We buy the fun size bars. Kit Kat seems to be the best buy with 21 bars per bag. Most of the others have 18. A bag is running about $2.65. considering we get close to 600 TOTs on a good night, we'll drop over $90.00 on candy w/o coupons. We're going to start buying this week. A lot of stores start marking it down too so watching for sales and will def. be using coupons, but hey; it's once a year and so worth it IMO!
We do Costco, also. We got a Mars variety pack of full sized bars(30 total) for $12. That breaks down to .40 a bar. They have a limit of two boxes. They say per household, but we decided to try again on our trip today, and we still got the discount. So, between two trips, we bought 4 boxes, a total of 120 bars.
That's a great price for us, and they are bars we'd be willing to eat if there are leftovers. (Snickers, Milky Way, Regular and Peanut M&Ms, and Twix.)
Go to the nearest creepy guy that drives a van with no windows, he usually has free candy. LOL. In all seriousness, I go to Costco but if you don't have the membership I would price match at Walmart or I've noticed some places put Halloween candy on clearance the day of or the day before Halloween.
I don't get many ToTs so I don't have to buy more than a few candy bars, but I'm a year round coupon shopper. Target seemed to have some good candy deals this year, I always check totallytarget for their deal matchups. And there have been a lot of candy coupons in the newspaper this year, especially if you have a store that doubles coupons you can definitely get a great deal.
My haunt has attracted alot of TOTS . I scaled back from full size candy bars to kudos to fun size candy bars. I still spent $60.00 in treats this year. I expect 600 kids this year. Just can't handle the increase.