by Elaine Ambrose
Halloween can be scary—especially for your wallet! Turn spooky economic times into a memorable family celebration. Consider homemade costumes—who wants to look like every other superhero, celebrity, or creepy creature on the street? Hit the consignment or thrift stores to come up with a fab’50s Mad Men or a hippie ’60s look. How about a nerdy geek with glasses, slicked back hair, and plastic pocket protector (add a slide rule if you can find one). Or create your own Lady Gaga costume out of . . . well, just about anything! Oversize boxes make cool robots, Legos, or dominoes, or don purple or light green sweats and add matching balloons to transform yourself into a bunch of grapes.
Don’t forget to deck the halls, porches, and walkways! Create a scarecrow couple or tombstones for the yard. When time is tight, less is more—use a big helium balloon or Styrofoam globe to create one impressive ghost to hang from a tree, porch, or upstairs window. Attach a wire to the “head” for hanging, cut features out of black foam for a scary countenance, and drape in layers of gauzy cheesecloth (recycle later for cleaning cloths). Hang, then hope for autumn breezes.
Set a tall trashcan or basket on the porch with a “broomstick parking” sign. Toss in an old broom. Light the way to your door with lunch-bag luminarias. Cut out simple Jack o’ Lantern or ghost faces on each bag and set a glow stick or LED light in each one. Cover your door in black paper, then tape pairs of sinister eyes, silly eyes, ghoulish, and ghastly eyes randomly over the paper—easy, quick, and fun.