Steam Halloween sale: get the best games with these money-saving tips

Update: The Steam Halloween Sale is now mere hours away if the rumor mill is to be believed, and to say that we're excited is an understatement. 

We've cleared space for all the games that we're definitely, definitely going to play once we've bought them, we've sat our wallet down to explain what's going to happen, and we've feigned an excellent cough to get out of Halloween plans so nothing gets in the way of our gaming. 

To get you ready for the gruesome gaming to come, Valve has slashed the price of Surgeon Simulator. Check out the Deal of the Moment section below for more information. 

Original story continues below…

Gird your loins ladies and gentlemen, the Steam Halloween Sale is almost upon us. While shorter (and spookier) than the Steam Summer Sale, it’s going to be a great opportunity to get yourself some fantastic games at a fraction of their usual prices.

Now, we know what you’re thinking – ‘I already have all the games I could ever want / I have no money / Where did I leave that bucket of ham?’ and you know what we have to say to that? 

One, you can never have enough games. Two, some of the games are so massively reduced that you can pick them up for mere pennies. And three, what?

The Steam Halloween Sale hasn’t been officially announced on the Steam Store just yet, but thanks to a leak on Reddit which was then independently verified by Eurogamer, we know that the sale will run from October 26 to November 1. 

Now the timing of the Halloween Sale will come as a surprise to no one, as it straddles the Halloween weekend. What is a little surprising is the length. In previous years the sale has started on the 28th or 29th and ended on the 1st, giving only a few days, whereas this year’s sale lasts a full week.

That’s right, seven days of unbridled shopping indulgence. Now, it’s pretty easy to get carried away with Steam Sales and end up with a hard drive full of games that you’ll never play, purchased in a moment of deal frenzy. 

To help you avoid this common pitfall we will be showcasing the steam deals that we really think are worth getting right here. 

Steam no longer does flash sales, so all the deals will be live all the time, but we will rotate through different discounts so if you’d rather not do all your game buying in one go, you can keep checking back and make the joy of a cheap purchase last all week.

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When does the next Steam Sale start?

Once the Steam Halloween Sale is out of the way, there are two more sales coming up, which thanks to the Reddit leak mentioned above, we also have the dates for:

  • Steam Halloween Sale dates: October 26 – November 1
  • Steam Black Friday Sale dates: November 22 – November 28
  • Steam Winter Sale dates: December 21 – January 4

Now we’re imagining that over the Black Friday weekend you’re going to be spending your hard earned cash elsewhere, so possibly the Steam Winter Sale, when you’ve got your Christmas (or Hanukkah, or whatever your personal festivity is) cash will be your next game-buying extravaganza.

TechRadar's Steam deal of the moment

So you just can't wait for the Halloween Sale to start in earnest? That's fair. To get you in the mood, you can get your hands on the gore-filled joy of Surgeon Simulator with a massive 80% reduction on its usual RRP. 

Hilariously horrible, you hack and slash your way through a surgery as Nigel Burke, "a would-be surgeon taking life into his own shaky hands".

What's even better, is that not only do you get the original 2013 game, you also get the A&E Anniversary edition, and the wonderfully wacky I am Bread.

  • Get Surgeon Simulator, A&E Anniversary Edition, and I am Bread for 80% off its usual RRP on the Steam Store

The best Steam Sale deals of the year so far

Gone but not forgotten, here is our collection of all the best deals that we have seen up until this point. Use them as a point of reference for what you should be expecting. Or you know, lament the ones that got away.

Skyrim: With over 200 Game of the Year Awards to its name, Skyrim is undoubtedly one of the greatest games of recent years. With its seemingly endless open world gameplay, this is truly a game that has something for everyone. 

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition, is complete with remastered art and effects, plus all the mods, meaning in it's own words: "there are no limits to what you can experience". The entire Elder Scrolls bundle was 50% off. 

The Witcher 3: Inarguably the game of 2015, The Witcher 3 is also now often considered the best RPG of all time. A sprawling dark fantasy epic, it's a beautiful game and one that's a great show piece for your souped-up gaming PC too.

And, with the Game of the Year Edition being heavily discounted in the Steam Summer Sale 2017, it was a fantastic way to jump into this monumental game, and get all of its DLC at a discount too.

Tomb Raider franchise: Few franchises are as iconic as this, and if you've missed out on any of Lara exploits so far, this can plug those gaps. Discounts vary between 60% and 80% across the 13 games included in the offer: you can pick up Rise of the Tomb Raider for a 60% discount, for example, and Tomb Raider: Underworld for a whopping 80% off. It's tempting to just spend the whole summer in Lara's company.

The Valve complete pack: If, by some small miracle, you're a PC gamer that was yet to try any of Valve's homegrown titles, this was your chance. The Valve Complete Pack was a staggering 91% off its usual asking price, including all the Half-Life games and episodes, every Portal game, every Left 4 Dead game, a bunch of DLC and much, much more.

HTC Vive: Okay, technically not a game, but nevertheless, Valve is selling its headset with a modest discount plus a $50/£50 Steam Gift card. During the Summer Sale you could get the HTC Vive with just over a 6% discount. It may not sound like much, but with the price of the headset, 6% makes a difference.

What games are going to be in the Steam Sales?

First off, don't expect brand new games to get the deep discounts that have become synonymous with the Steam sales. You may see a 5%, or even 10% discount on games that have been recent big hits, but if they're still new enough to be spinning money without needing a price cut, don't expect that to change now that the sale is here.

But, with the exception of the newer titles, pretty much the entire store receives a 25% discount, if not higher. Some hit the heady heights of 90% off the list price. While the store now highlights what Valve considers the best deals, it's worth noting that flash and community sales are no longer in the mix, so feel free to pick a title on sale when you like – its discounted price will stand for the duration of the sale.

How to get the best deals in the Steam Sales

Whichever way you approach the Steam Halloween Sale (or the Winter holiday sale, or any other Steam deal-a-thon for that matter), you're guaranteed to pick up something great at a good price. 

But, there are a few techniques and tricks worth using to get the most out of the sale.

  • Use your Steam Wishlist: Fill it up with all the games you're interested in picking up, and it will alert you the moment they go on sale, and by how much.
  • Bundles are great: Publishers often pull their titles together in sale mega-packs, ramping up the savings to even greater heights. If there's a suite of titles from a publisher like Square Enix or Activision that you've never played before, this is the best – and cheapest – way to bag them all at once. As you'd imagine, the value diminishes if you've already got a few bundled titles in your library.
  • Highlighted deals are where the real savings are: The majority of the Steam store back catalogue will get some sort of price cut, but it's the 'Highlighted' deals (the ones promoted on the Steam front splash page) that tend to be more heavily discounted. These are the ones where you may fall into impulse-buy territory. Which leads on to our next tip…
  • Only buy what you'll actually play right away: Once those 75% off signs start floating around, you're going to want to break open the piggy-bank. But the Steam sales of yesteryear have proved that our desire for overflowing game libraries leaves us with more titles than we could ever humanly play. Save some cash, and only grab the ones you're really going to play – keep in mind that if you wait a while, the games will almost inevitably get cheaper as they get older.
  • Use this browser extension: Want to make sure you're getting a good deal? Use the Enhanced Steam browser extension. It gives you a historical look at the price of all Steam games, letting you see just how many pennies have been saved.

Of course, Other Gaming Stores Do Exist™, and it's worth checking their wares too to see if you can't bag an even bigger bargain elsewhere. GOG.com is a great place to start, and if you're platform agnostic and looking for multi-platform titles, keep an eye on the PlayStation Plus and Xbox Live Deals with Gold offers, too. There's a reasonable chance that the odd game may turn up at one spot or the other at a slightly more affordable price and it's always worth looking for a few titles during Black Friday for some pre-Christmas bargains.

  • Or…spend no money at all on the best free games to play right now!

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