Suddenly it’s October – and whether it’s your kids clamoring for a Halloween bash or you’re the one Jonesing for a costumed get-together, it’s party time. But that doesn’t mean it’s spending time, since even if money’s not that tight after September’s back to school bonanza there are still costume supplies and bags of candy to buy.
An amazing Halloween party doesn’t have to come with an equally out-of-this-world price tag thanks to the fact that this particular holiday’s accouterments tend to be plentiful and cheap. Plus spooky décor that’s DIY is well within the reach of most moms (and dads) because of its relative simplicity. Think cardboard tombstones and tissue paper ghosts!
Here’s how you can transform your house into a Halloween hub for your next party without breaking the bank.
DIY the Décor
There’s no shortage of Halloween decorations for every budget, but why not see what you can do yourself before hitting Target? Outside, a huge trash bag spider and a string of milk jug jack-o-lanterns will set the mood. Another amazing idea involves cutting eyes in TP rolls, slipping in a glow stick and stashing it in the bushes – passersby will wonder who’s looking out! Inside, drape white sheets over the furniture, string cobwebs wherever seems spookiest, adjust your framed pictures so they’re crooked, put LED candles in red jars (check eBay) all around the room and find an MP3 of creepy sounds. Turn the lights down low, of course. And if you want to take it to the next level make some homemade laboratory specimen jars. Just remember when you’re using stuff you already have, old fashioned and even tattered is the way to go. Ready to sacrifice a few things? Black spray paint can make everyday candle holders, planters and platters pop.
Serve Only Spooky Eats
Halloween food ideas range from the cute and easy – like Ghosts in the Graveyard (whipped-cream ghosts on an Oreo Jell-O cake) or ice cream scoop eyeball sundaes – to dishes as complex and time consuming as hand-carved watermelon skulls. Most fall somewhere in between, like witch finger cookies and hot dog mummies, usually requiring more time than money. Plenty can be made using things you may already have on hand, like instant pudding and cookie dough. Some Halloween food ideas are frankly pretty gross, though, so before you invest your time, you need to decide whether you’ll be left with platters of food guests couldn’t bring themselves to actually eat. Marshmallow and peanut butter ear wax “cotton swabs,” anyone? I didn’t think so. Click here for more creative, affordable Halloween food ideas.
Make It Interactive
Halloween decorations and treats are only the first step – to turn your bash into an event people talk about for months after fright night you need to get people engaged. If your invitees are on the younger side, the classic “game” involving blindfolds and a bag of body parts – peeled grape eyeballs, spaghetti brains, twig bones, etc. – is a lot of fun. Adult party guests can get competitive in a costume or pumpkin carving contest. For the former, set up a mini runway and give out prizes for the most realistic, scariest, grossest and most creative costumes. For the latter, find the best price on portable pumpkins and remember that things will get messy. Set up a carving station with everything guests will need in a corner well away from upholstery and carpets.
Your Halloween spirit doesn’t have to clash with your household budget this year or any year. A little creativity can go a long way toward turning your usually welcoming home into a veritable fright fest just right for little ghouls, big ghosts, or both.
– By Jennifer Thayer
Jennifer is a freelance writer who enjoys covering everything from technology, to entertainment to lifestyle. She is always looking for tips and tricks to make daily activities easier. Follow her on Twitter to see what she comes up with next.