Spooky savings

Spooky savings

Do bloodcurdling bills, chilling charges and spine-tingling
prices have you horrified by Halloween? The holiday spending season
has begun and times are tight. Halloween is second only to
Christmas in holiday spending.
Do bloodcurdling bills, chilling charges and spine-tingling prices have you horrified by Halloween? The holiday spending season has begun and times are tight. Halloween is second only to Christmas in holiday spending. According to the National Retail Federation, consumers are expected to spend $4.96 billion this Halloween with the average person planning to spend $66.54. Here are some fun ideas for celebrating the holiday without frightening your accountant.


– The Haunted Graveyard: In a food processor, puree 1/2 cup of spinach with 10 ounces of hummus. Mound the dip on a tray and top it with veggie trees, a pretzel fence, boiled-egg ghosts and cracker tombstones. Serve carrot sticks on the side. To make these boiled-egg ghosts, cut slits and insert black olive facial features. Use an edible marker to turn crackers into tombstones.

– Forked Eyeballs: These treats, prepared and eaten on the same fork, begin with a doughnut hole dunked in white chocolate. To coat a dozen doughnut holes, melt 2 (11-ounce) bags of white chocolate chips over low heat. With a fork, spear each doughnut hole and submerge it in the melted chocolate, then gently tap off any excess. Stick a semisweet chocolate chip with its point cut off onto each doughnut hole, cut end first. Place the forks (handle side down) in a mug and allow the coating to harden. Use a tube of red decorator frosting to add squiggly veins radiating out from the pupils.

– Snack-o’-Lantern: Use a small knife to slice the top off a navel orange and cut around its interior to hollow it out. Scoop out the orange segments, chop them, and mix them with canned or fresh fruit salad. Carve small facial features in one side of the orange, then cut a slit in the lid to accommodate the handle of a green plastic spoon. Fill the lantern with fruit salad. Insert the spoon and set the lid in place.


– Vampire Balloon Bat: For each bat, inflate two black balloons to make a body 12 inches in diameter and a head 8 inches in diameter. With black duct tape, attach them at the knots. Cut ear, eye, wing and fang shapes from black and white card stock, then use duct tape to attach them to the balloons. To hang the bat, attach one end of a black ribbon with duct tape near where the head and body meet.

– Pumpkin Person: Cut an oval body and limbs from black card stock. Accordion-fold the limbs, then use black duct tape to stick them to the back of the body. Cut a spiral or other fun shape from orange card stock and affix it with a glue stick. Attach black card stock facial features with duct-tape loops to an orange 12-inch rice paper globe lantern. Use duct tape to attach the body to the bottom of the lantern’s wire frame.

Party Game: Skeleton Scavenger Hunt

For a ghastly good game, trace a large cardboard or plastic skeleton decoration on a long sheet of paper. Next, carefully take the skeleton apart at its joints and hide the parts around your house or yard. During the party, ask your guests to “unearth” the bones and reassemble the skeleton by tacking the parts onto the outline. Celebrate by giving each player a small prize.

Light-Up Spider

You will need: Egg carton (one carton makes 12 spiders), paintbrush, glossy black acrylic craft paint, hole punch, black pipe cleaners, duct tape, battery-operated tea lights.

– Cut the cups from an egg carton and paint their exteriors black. Let them dry.

– Punch two eyes and eight leg holes into each egg cup.

– Cut the pipe cleaners in half. Insert them through the leg holes and secure them on the inside with short lengths of duct tape.

– Wrap the sides of the tea light in black duct tape. Insert the light, bulb side up, into the cup and use more duct tape to secure it in place, leaving the on-off switch uncovered.

Easy-on-budget costumes THE kids will love

We’re all trying to stretch our dollars these days, so who wants to plunk down $40 for a costume a child will outgrow or ruin with sticky fingers?

Don’t despair. We’ve uncovered inexpensive and adorable kids’ costumes:

99-cent costumes: You read that correctly. The 99 Cent Only Store offers basic costumes like a police officer, pirate, witch or mouse for just shy of $1. We checked out the store in Carmichael. The store also had separate items that could be mixed and matched to create a more elaborate costume. The ensemble would likely add up to $3 or $4. For instance, a cheerleader costume (skirt, shirt, pompoms, megaphone) would be about $4.

Use dress-up clothes: Karen Harrison of Woodland, made a rule several years ago that her three children could make any kind of Halloween costume using items from the family’s dress-up box: old prom dresses, hiking bandanas, discarded ties, big necklaces and such. One year, she wound up with a pirate and a pioneer.

“The next year I had a barbarian – we used bark that blew off a palm tree in a windstorm two nights before to make a breastplate and shield – and an Egyptian princess the headdress was made from cardboard, a box of leftover craft feathers and glue,” she wrote in an e-mail.

“My kids had a ball and were so proud of themselves.”

Tooth fairy: Get a half-apron at a craft store and use puffy fabric paint to write “Tooth Fairy.” Fill the apron with travel-size toothpaste and toothbrushes. (Deals can be found at dollar stores.) Hot-glue child-size toothbrushes onto a plastic tiara and adorn a store-bought wand with streamers of dental floss. Pair with a fancy pastel dress.

Diego/Dora: Kids can emulate these Nickelodeon cartoon characters by wearing what they already have in their closets. If you’re missing one of the pieces of attire, try the “Garanimals” line of children’s clothing at Walmart. It’s cheap, and the clothing holds up well, so it’ll likely become a go-to closet staple.

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