Halloween is looming, ready to gobble up more of your household budget -- sound familiar? It's no treat shelling out for yearly candies and accessories but the kids -- yours or the neighbours' -- will cold-shoulder you ‘til winter holidays if you don’t get your ghoul-on. So: trick time! Here to help are 10 tips to getting Halloween together fast, easy and on a budget.
1. Pick a friend, parent or neighbour in your circle to drive out to a farm and buy pumpkins in bulk. They're much less expensive at the source and buying in bulk always helps. See if you can call ahead to work out a deal.
2. Don't want to buy any pumpkins? Get that orange glow by placing a few tealight candles in old soup jars, clad in orange tissue paper or acrylic paint (if you have it available).
3. Throw together your own costumes! Case your family closets for old duds that can be put together in a new way. There are plenty of real and fictional characters that can be easily impersonated with things you already have at home.
4. You can't get around buying candy, but you can make sure it goes a long way by diligently rationing it when those cutie pies come knocking -- resist throwing a huge hand-full no matter how cute they are! Remember that at least 50% of the loot gets tossed, or languishes in a forgotten jar until it expires.
5. Create your own at-home ambience by playing some ghoulish music and classic DVD’s that won’t scare the kiddies -- or you for that matter -- half to death. Try It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown, or Mel Brooks’ Young Frankenstein.
6. Transform your porch by creating a ghostly antechamber out of simple white sheets and red light bulbs. String up white sheets between your porch posts or around the front door and gather them up like two stage curtains. Switch out your porch lights for red bulbs available at most local hardware stores. You'd be surprised how white sheets and red bulbs can transform a space!
7. For indoor decorating, don't worry about buying special candles just for Halloween. Scour your drawers for that power outage supply of candles and use red or black paint to spook them up. Try making simple syrup with red food colouring, or dilute red jam and use it to drip down white candles to give the appearance of blood.
8. Place tall glasses with tealights in each window sill and keep indoor lighting to a minimum -- the effect is simple but striking from the outside.
9. If you've got plenty of helpers, get cutting! Halloween stencils are one of the most cost-effective ways to decorate. Paste them on windowpanes, suspend them from trees and create life-size cutouts to loom in front of garden lights and in attic windows.