Halloween teaches us valuable financial lessons like budgeting candy, but it’s not all gum drops and lollipops. A retailmenot.ca survey found that Canadians spent $1 billion on Halloween in 2015. In fact, the Halloween industry is so large that it can support retailers who are only open for the season.


According to Global News, the average Canadian spends $52 per person on costumes.T he cost of costumes rarely reflects the quality. So why shell out so much money? Save yourself from the frightening cost of a costume by dressing up as an iconic movie or TV character in plain clothes. Don’t let the cost of Halloween costumes scare you away this year.


4 Cheap Halloween Costume Ideas from Your Closet


For men:


Marty McFly from Back to the Future

You will need white sneakers, a jean jacket, blue jeans, a white buttoned shirt, an orange vest and a red t-shirt.

Quote: “Wait a minute, Doc. A… Are you’re telling me you built a time machine… Out of a DeLorean?”


Ace Ventura from Ace Ventura: Pet Detective

You will need to style your hair up and back in the iconic Ace Ventura style, a pair of black converse or boots, red striped pants or something similar, a floral pattern shirt, a white tank top and an ID card reading “Ace Venture Pet Detective”.

Quote: “That was close one ladies and gentlemen, of course in every contest, there must be, a loser. Lew-Who, Za-Her.”


For women:


Wednesday Addams from The Addams Family

You will need dark black mascara, a white collared blouse, a black long sleeve shirt, white stockings, a pair of black shoes and your hair in pigtail braids.

Quote: “I’ll stop wearing black when they make a darker colour”


Sandy Olsson from Grease

You will need red lipstick, a tight pair of black pants (preferably leather), a black shirt that shows off your shoulders and red high heels.

 Hang a leather jacket over your shoulder and do your hair to match Sandy’s to really sell this costume.

Quote: “Tell me about it, stud.”


Bonus: You can have a lot of fun dressing up as yourself in high school. Find an embarrassing photo of yourself and replicate the look.

A DIY costume will show off your creativity and make you the life of the party. Consider a costume from your closet before spending money at a retailer. The key to a great Halloween costume is making it fun, so memorize some movie quotes, dress up as your favorite character this year and save your money.


Protect Your People And Your Business

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If you’re a small business owner, you’ve likely spent years honing your craft and building your company.  You’ve won customers, learned how to keep them, gained experience, and created a reputation and a brand for yourself and your business.  Chances are you haven’t been working in isolation; you’ve likely had a strong team of employees underpinning your success and helping your company thrive.  For one reason or another, though, you may not offer a group benefits plan.


Here’s why you may want to reconsider:  maintaining a healthy workplace and a healthy workforce are two critical pieces of every business plan, and group benefits can help achieve those dual objectives.


A good thing to do for your employees, your business and yourself


Perhaps, as time ticks on and medical needs grow, you’re recognizing that providing health coverage and financial protection is a meaningful way to thank your employees for their hard work.  After all, one of the greatest gifts you can give your team is the confidence that comes with knowing many of their own medical needs – and those of their family members – are covered and that their loved ones can be protected financially in the future.


Or, maybe you’re starting to realize that you need group benefits to attract and retain skilled employees who will help keep your business strong and viable, protect your investment and enable you to reach your personal financial goals before you retire.


Let’s look at a hypothetical example that might ring true for you.


Case study:  growth puts pressure on the owner and the team


Sharon is the 56-year-old owner of an environmental consulting firm.  The company performs environmental assessments and monitoring, and consults on the clean-up and remediation of urban brownfield sites – former industrial and commercial lands.  Due to changing government regulations, and a recent foray into the booming energy sector, Sharon’s enterprise has grown from seven to more than 20 employees, and she’s opening two small satellite offices to put her company closer to her newest contracts.


Over the past year, Sharon has devoted her energy to winning new customers; hiring new staff; training her new, young employees; opening offices; leasing equipment and vehicles; and meeting the many other demands of a growing company.  During this period of growth, Sharon has had less time to devote to her long-term employees.


In recent months, Sharon has seen some employees leave, including one key team member she depended on.  These staff departures have happened in the midst of Sharon’s efforts to hire talented people who will help support the growth of her firm.  With big plans for the future, she is now anxiously looking for new ways to attract and keep high-performing staff.  Sharon realizes that she has to take steps to keep all her employees – both new and long-term – satisfied in order to continue building her business.


In the past, Sharon never gave serious thought to offering group benefits to her employees.  Her husband had a good program, and so did many of the spouses of her employees when the company was small.  With a growing company, and more competition in her field, Sharon knows it’s time to seriously consider offering her employees a benefits plan.  She wants to help protect them, and she wants to protect the company that she worked so hard to build.


Sharon’s advisor helps her create a plan


Sharon sets up an appointment with her advisor to discuss the possibilities and finds out there are several quality options available, from simple, more affordable benefit plans to more flexibile solutions that give the employer great choice.


At the end of the discussion, Sharon sees that the simpler plan may have satisfied her needs two or three years ago, but given the growth of her firm she now requires a program that will offer flexibility to her diverse workforce and give employees a strong incentive to stay.


Simple, more cost-effective benefits plans are ideal for new small business owners, who may not have the time or resources to maintain a more involved plan and are looking for a streamline, almost “set it and forget it” solution.


Established business owners – like Sharon, with her sights set on the growth and staff retention – are great candidates for a flexible, customizable benefits plan with more comprehensive coverage to meet the needs of her employees.


Talk to your Advisor


Implementing a group benefits plan helps your employees and their families, and it can also be an important tool that helps keep your business strong and protect your investment in it.  No matter what stage you’re at with your business, your advisor can guide you towards solutions that best meet your needs.