How to Save Money During the Halloween Rush
With the Halloween season upon me, I realize that there is a great push to spend money. Even if I'm on a budget and saving money, that temptation to blow my budget isn't too far out of my reach. So, I've had to get creative with decorating and gift giving.
Being a teacher, I can usually throw together a craft project out of paper plates, construction paper, glue, and wiggly eyes. Using what I know from teaching, I incorporate these ideas into craft projects that always seem to keep kids occupied and enjoying themselves. It also provides great homemade holiday decorations with a little adult help.
Over the past few years, I've also gotten some very creative, inexpensive gifts from colleagues that have inspired my own gift ideas. There are usually colleagues I purchase gifts for in return, and I use some of these past ideas to keep me under budget. Below, I've detailed Halloween decorations, costumes, and gift ideas that are creative and economical.
Quick and Simple Costumes
When I was little, my mother would make my Halloween costumes. She was a superb seamstress, and my costumes were always much more beautiful than any store bought costume. Some years, if she ran out of time, we would gather things around the house and make a hobo or ghost costume out of old clothes or a sheet. As I've grown, I've taken these tips and expanded upon them. Here is a short list of ideas for homemade, quick and simple costumes:
The Easy Ghost Costume
Take an old sheet, cut out eye holes, spray paint glitter on the sheet or smoky gray hair spray for more detail. If you have an old bike chain hanging around in the garage, or on your bike, take it along with you to clank and bang
The Hobo Costume
Select some old clothing that you were thinking of donating to Good Will, rip some holes in the jeans and roll up the bottoms. Rub some gray charcoal on the pants and shirt. Layer old shirts and coats, giving you the rumpled look. Take an old hat, crumple it up, add some of that charcoal to your face and hands, and off you go.
Masks and Leotards
If you want to go a bit further, you can make masks out of paper plates. This is especially great for small kids. They can help decorate their masks. Cut out eye holes and use a large rubber band to attach to either side of the paper plate so that it will stay on. With a little construction paper, glue, and scissors, you can make just about any mask you like. Check out EnchantedLearning for more detailed information on paper plate masks, it's a great resource.
Every year for Halloween, my husband and I decorate our home simply with luminaries and some fake spider webs. We keep it simple. The biggest surprise at our house is my husband wearing his leafy-hunter suit laying in the yard with a very scary mask. He waits until the children have gotten their pencil or candy, then on their way out, jumps up and scares them. Luckily, I usually warn the little ones, or I say very loudly to my husband, "These are some very little kids, be nice!" He then waits until they are outside the gate before he pops up.
If you want to go a little further with decorating, and have kids who love to make crafts, here are a few craft ideas you can make using some basic supplies:
Luminaries are easy to make and help light our path. Here is a simple way to make them:
Using brown or colored paper bags, the size of lunch bags, cut out a jack-o-lantern face using basic shapes such as triangles and rectangles. You can make a pattern first to trace on each bag before cutting them out. Then, place tea lights, real or battery operated, inside them along your path.
Using the small paper plates (6" if you can find them), paint one side of the plate black. Then, using black pipe cleaners, glue or staple 4 long pipe cleaners to the back of the plate, criss-crossing them to make a total of 8 legs poking out each side of the plate. (You can also use black construction paper cut in strips then folded to make accordion like legs.) Glue on 8 small wiggly eyes, or paint 8 small white or gray dots to make eyes. Cut out two red triangles for fangs out of construction paper. You can make a few of these to hang in your windows or on your porch.
Using white tissue paper, or actual tissues, lay out your tissue and put a few cotton balls in the center of the tissue. Gather up the rest of the edges and secure them with a twist tie or rubber band just under the balled up cotton balls. Then, using a black marker, draw two dots for eyes. Hang your ghosts throughout your yard or windows.
Have your child trace and cut their hand about 4 times using yellow, red, and orange construction paper. Then, draw a half circle on brown construction paper for the owl head. Draw two small circles for the owl's eyes and one triangle for the owl's beak. Take the hand cutouts and glue the tops of them to the back of the semi-circle head, so that the hand and fingers will be the owl's feathered body. Glue the eyes and beak on the front of the owl. Small children will need help tracing and cutting out their hands.
This guest post is by Little House.
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