The Need to Take the Disgust Out of Halloween

Have Halloween Decorations Gone Too FarGrowing up I loved Halloween but not for the regular ”kid” reasons. I just used to love the excitement, the crafts and the fun movies, which as an adult, I still do. I was never, and still am not someone who enjoys dressing up, Halloween night was fun to be with friends but I was always terrified I was going to get jumped by some ”high school kid” and they’d steal my candy (an unnecessary fear), this resulted in me not venturing too far from home and coming back fairly early from my trick-or-treating ventures.

As I got a bit older my best friend and I would watch scary movies together leading up to the ”holiday”. Classics by Hitchcock usually. I also had a soft spot for the old Ernest Scared Stupid but growing up I was never exposed to really gruesome stuff and I was scared as much as any child or young adult should be. I didn’t need decapitated babies, bloody pick axes or zombies with trachea’s hanging out of their mouth to scare me. Exposing me to Freddy Krueger was enough. At what point have we as a society become so desensitized to everything that the movie Psycho is a casual weeknight family movie?

I am by no means prudish in any way but as I approach my daughter’s first Halloween where she will be trick-0r-treating, I shudder to think about how I am going to explain some of the over-the-top decorations we’re bound to see. Dead bodies, bloody body bags, severed limbs… What happened to spooky skeletons and witches? There is line with Halloween that often gets crossed.

My sister-in-law is one who has always loved the goriness of Halloween, the bloodier the better in her eyes, but she contains the over-the-top decorations for the inside of her house where, when kids come to the door, they cannot see anything but if you’re an adult attending her annual party, be prepared for plastic, bloody, severed fingers to be served with your appetizer. My point is that there is a time, place and appropriate audience. If you and your friends enjoy said decorations, by all means share them together but don’t expose the rest of the world to them.

It’s not just kids that worry me. There are many people going through many varying personal issues where Halloween decorations could be upsetting. While I’m willing to bet a scary witch or ghost on your front porch won’t bother many people, hanging a noose around what looks like a bloody, plastic body bag and hanging it off your roof (real thing in our neighborhood last year), likely will.

Halloween has the potential to be a really fun ”holiday” (a term I use loosely). There are some amazingly fun Halloween movies that despite my Grinchiness with dressing up, I really love to watch every year. The over-the-top gore just takes away the fun of it for me and my family and makes us not way to do anything at all which, let’s be honest is no fun for kids.

Young children don’t have the life experience we adults do, and someone who is dealing with personal issues shouldn’t have to avert their eyes or have memories flared up because of a neighbor’s decorations. Be sensible and aware of your audience and have a fun and safe Halloween!

Do you think Halloween Decor has gone too far?

Saving Money on Halloween

saving money on HalloweenI recently read that Halloween was the holiday that people spend the second most amount of money on, with Christmas coming in first. Between the candy, treats, parties, costumes and decorations it’s easy to get carried away with money. It’s still possible to have fun with Halloween while not breaking the bank though.


Make Your Own Costume

I feel like this is a way of the past. In the past few years, kids who come to my door are all wearing pre-made, store-bought costumes. Where is the imagination!? I used to love planning my costume out months in advance and having my mom pick up supplies as our ideas came together. With dollar stores and thrift stores it’s quite easy to put together a great costume for cheap if you’re willing to put in the effort and imagination.

Websites like Pinterest and Google are great sites to gain ideas and direct you to helpful resources. The kid with the homemade costume, no matter how bad, always gets extra treats at my house!


Save the Decorations

Last year after my friend hosted her daughters Halloween party I helped clean up. She got out large black garbage bags and threw everything in it. Other than some streamers that had been ripped, there is no reason why 90% of the stuff needed to be thrown out. She said she only paid ”like $20” for then at the local dollar store and Halloween shop,  so wasn’t worth keeping and storing. My mom also used to buy what she called ”disposable” decorations. Ones she would use once,not take care of and throw away. Take care of decorations you do buy, and stretch your dollar!


Shop Around…and Wait

My sister-in-law, a self-confessed Halloween addict, knows how to shop for the holiday. Recently she found a gruesome garland of bloody scissors and knives at a Halloween specialty shop that she had to have, but at $10 for a three-foot length of glorified paper cut-outs, she couldn’t justify it. It wasn’t two weeks later that a local discount store had the exact same garland for $2.99. Especially with holidays like Halloween and Christmas, where stores put the merchandise out super early, it can pay off to wait and shop around.


Buy in Bulk

Depending on where you live, you may have a bulk purchasing store. The chain around here sells spices, dry goods, and candy. They bring in seasonal candy as well so buying in bulk from one of these stores can often be a much cheaper option than buying from a retail store.


Shop the Sales

This sort of goes without saying but if you have the option of buying something on sale, do so! So many people I know walk into the closest or first store they see and buy everything I need when, with a little planning, could save substantial money going to a different, or a few different, stores. Recently two competing retail stores around here were advertising Halloween stuff on sale. One store had a pretty ad that was intriguing and actually made me want to go into their store to see what they had but in all honesty they weren’t advertising a ”sale” just that they had Halloween merchandise in the store. The other flyer was much less pretty to look at but actually advertised a 40% off sale over a two-day weekend. Read the fine print and don’t get sucked in by a fancy ad alone!

Halloween is meant to draw out fun and creativity, make your own costumes and have fun with it! Shop the sales and don’t get sucked in by too many ”must have’s”.

Do you have a costume picked out? Will you be making it to save money on Halloween?

Halloween Safety Tips

jackolantern bucketHalloween should be spooky; but certainly not dangerous. It is our responsibility as parents to always keep our kids safe; so it is very important that we don’t let our guard down on Halloween, if anything — we need to amp it up. To avoid the many risks children face while trick-or-treating, it is imperative to use common sense. Here are some Halloween safety tips that will keep your kids safe and happy during this exciting holiday.


Before You Head Out

Here are some simple tips that you can check before you head out trick or treating:

Check Out Your Child’s Costume

Be sure that there is nothing dragging on the ground that they could trip on. If your child is wearing a mask, like the Monsters University Sulley Monster Mask, make sure they can see. If the holes are too small, you can make them larger by cutting them. This is very important; kids need to be able to see where they are going and when it’s dark out, it’s just that much more difficult. Make-up is an even better alternative to a mask; especially for little ones. Be sure to select make-up that is non-toxic and hypoallergenic.

Get Your Glow On

Put reflective tape on your child’s costume, have them carry glow sticks and/or wear glow bracelets or glow necklaces. This will help them to be more visible to motorists. You’ll also want to carry a flashlight to stay safe and visible; it also helps everyone to see where they are going, so hopefully no one will trip and fall.

Talk To Your Kids

Make sure you let your kids know what is expected of them while they are out trick-or-treating. They need to be aware that they should never enter a home, there should be no running, no playing in the street, they should only go to houses where the lights are on, and they should not eat any treats before you get home and inspect everything. Also, be sure they know to say “Trick-or-Treat” — and that “Thank you” is always appreciated.

Layer Up

If it’s a little chilly be sure to put layers under your kids’ costumes. This will keep them comfortable and warm during their fun night of trick-or-treating.

Plan to Accompany Your Children

If your kids are young enough to go trick-or-treating; then they are young enough to require adult supervision. I know it might not be very “cool” for a twelve year old to have Mom and Dad hanging out, but you can be with them without being right next to them. You can just hang back a bit but still keep a watchful eye (this should only be done with older children).


Trick-or-Treating Safety

Here’s what you need to know when you’re out and about:

Let the Light be your Guide

As I mentioned before, you’ll want to carry a flashlight to help light the way, but another important thing you should do is to only walk down well lit streets. Other lights that will guide you, are house lights. Only go to homes that have their porch lights on. People have their lights off for a reason so be respectful of that.

The More the Merrier

Trick-or-treat as a group. This keeps you safer for many reasons, but the main one is, its makes you all more visible. Visibility really is the main element to having a safe Halloween. When crossing the street be sure to cross at corners and use crosswalks.

Beware of Dog

Anytime you come in contact with an animal you don’t know, you must always use caution. It is especially important to keep this mind during Halloween. Costumes can be confusing and scary to animals – dogs especially – so it is essential that you and your children are aware of this so there aren’t any unfortunate encounters.

Here are a Few More Quick Tips:

  • Do not go inside anyone’s house
  • Carry a cell phone for emergencies
  • Watch where you step
  • Don’t stand to close to Jack-o-Lanterns, since they usually contain a lit candle


Halloween Safety Tips at Home

Once you get home be sure to inspect all of the items your children have received. This means looking for any candy that may have been tampered with. Remove all choking hazards for little ones. This is especially important for parents with children under age 6. You’ll also want to monitor the candy intake; you don’t want to have to deal with an upset tummy later on. You might let the kids select a few pieces and then put the rest up. Some parents like to let their children trade in their candy for something else, like a special toy, gift card, or money. Some dentist offices offer this as well.

If you’ll be handing out candy, be sure that your pathways are clear that there isn’t anything trick-or-treaters might hurt themselves on. It’s also a good idea to lock up your pets so they don’t run out the door. Even the best behaved animals can get a little spooked, so just play it safe for everyone’s sake.

Do you have any additional Halloween safety tips?

Easy Halloween Recognition Where Halloween Isn’t a Big Deal


(via Dimland Radio)

In the Philippines, Halloween is not such a big deal.  It is considered a more Western tradition and is thus not really given all that much attention.  Sure, it answers our inner need for dramatics and our seemingly inherent sweet tooth but, on the whole, the day and the event go by with not too much fanfare.

That doesn’t mean nothing happens at all.

In some villages in the suburbs, the association organizes a village trick or treat event which give the kids (and the parents!) the opportunity to dress up in their most creative costume.  This is one part of what a lot of those involved find fun.  Here, not every costume needs to be scary.  In fact, dressing up like your favorite super hero or your favorite childhood character is more than enough.  You will see the simplest Casper costume, to the elaborate Jesse of Toy Story, to any of the Disney Princess, to Ben 10, Justice League, even Thomas the Tank Engine!  It really is that time to let the imagination run free.

But it isn’t just about getting all dressed up.  This is just a part of the fun as was mentioned earlier.  Another big part of the fun is dressing up your home’s entrance for the visiting ghosts, witches, princes and princesses.  Since the kids and accompanying guardians don’t really go beyond your front door, all care is taken to dress up this block of wood, any front-facing window, or even the smallest patch of garden or front lawn.

For single moms like me, the cost of dressing the front portion of my home is just an expense that falls far below the list of essential expenses.  But I also would like for my kids to experience the trick or treat and dress up fun that really only comes once a year.  So it is a challenge for me to allot money towards this event.

Halloween decorating on a budget

Here was what I did this year.  I decided to decorate my front door and two front windows with spiders, rats, and clay pots.  Sounds interesting doesn’t it?  Well, I thought it was and really, really easy and inexpensive too!

First, I bought 4 packs of these realistic looking rubber spiders (6 to a pack), about ping pong ball size each, for php60 ( 1 USD= 43 PHP by the way), and used super glue to glue white yarn to parts of their body.  I then thumb tacked the other end of the yarn to the tops of my door and window frames to make them look like they were hanging down from the top of the door and windows, in the act of perhaps making a spider web.

I then bought 2 packs of again-realistic looking rubber rats, black with the red eyes, each about the size of a small empanada and 8 to a pack, for php70, and lined the rodents up on the edges of the windowsills.

Finally, I took 2 medium sized clay pots, filled them with some Christmas lights (handy to get these tested for the coming Holidays, too!) and them lightly covered them with orange reflective paper.  I didn’t enclose them nor did I place the paper anywhere need the bulbs to avoid creating a fire hazard and I made sure that the lights I used were the outdoor, all-surface ones.  This gave off an orange glow.  Then I placed the remaining rodents around each pot.

These were super cheap, super easy things to prepare and to fix up for Halloween. They are also really easy to put away after. The best part is that I can use these props again next year, for another Halloween design.  All in all I spent around less than $15 on everything.

Although Halloween is not a major activity in my country, it is still a day that brings joy to a lot of kids playing dress up, running from house to house, asking for sweets and treats. It feels great to join in on the fun without breaking my wallet.

How do you save money on decorating for Halloween?

A Brief Look at Some Pre-Christmas, Post-Halloween Traditions

All Saint's Day

(via Photodocks)

We are nearing the end of the month of October, known in a lot of parts of the world as the “spooky month”, and we have been reveling in horror movies, ghostly and ghoulish costumes, and sugar overload.  It has been a lot of fun for those that take the time out to celebrate this kind of holiday, this kind of tradition.  Little is known though about the two days immediately following October 31, and the fact that, again for some groups of people, these days hold some significance.

The Meaning of All Saint’s Day & All Souls Day

To be specific, November 1 and 2 signify something in particular mostly for Roman Catholics or for followers of Western or Eastern Christianity.  I took the time to look up the simplest description of the two days (other than my own words) and here is what I found in Wikipedia:

All Saints’ Day (in the Roman Catholic Church officially the Solemnity of All Saints and also called All Hallows or Hallowmas[1]), often shortened to All Saints, is a solemnity celebrated on 1 November by parts of Western Christianity, and on the first Sunday after Pentecost in Eastern Christianity, in honor of all the saints, known and unknown.

In Western Christian theology, the day commemorates all those who have attained the beatific vision in Heaven. It is a national holiday in many historically Catholic countries. In the Roman Catholic Church and many Anglican churches, the next day, All Souls’ Day, specifically commemorates the departed faithful who have not yet been purified and reached heaven. Catholics celebrate All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day in the fundamental belief that there is a prayerful spiritual communion between those in the state of grace who have died and are either being purified in purgatory or are in heaven (the ‘church penitent‘ and the ‘church triumphant‘, respectively), and the ‘church militant‘ who are the living. Other Christian traditions define, remember and respond to the saints in different ways.

Does it sound like a lot to take it?  I can understand that it would.  Especially for those who choose not to look at days or traditions that are religious in nature, these two days and what they appear to mean is a lot to adjust to.

All Saint’s Day & All Souls Day in the Philippines

In my country, which is known to be very Roman Catholic, these days are observed and are also often declared holidays so that families have time to make arrangements in the other provinces within the country.  But this tradition has also changed in practice and in meaning to a lot of people.

Before, these two days really did mean that families all went to cemeteries, in the Metro and in other provinces, where close relatives are buried, spend time around gravestones, light candles, pray and reflect on the dearly departed.  Today, this holiday is also used as just general time to get some rest and to spend time with the family.  Yes, people do still go to cemeteries to pray for their dead.  They still light candles or bring flowers.  But some families also bring food and drink as a form of celebration for the life or lives of loved ones who have passed.  It sounds morbid, true, but a lot of people find more comfort in remembering their dead during the good times, retelling stories of past achievements, funny moments, memorable events.

Others choose to remember and pray in a different way.  They go to church, light candles there, and pray specific prayers for their dearly departed.  Then they retreat to family homes and have dinners or lunches, not parties with revelry, but more of gatherings with food where family can spend time together, maybe catch up with relatives and friends who live far and who are only seen at this time of the year, and just remember good times and good people; To remember, to reflect, to be with family.

So, I bet you are wondering why I chose to blog about this.  Well, aside from the fact that these days a few days away, being a single mom has made me more aware of the traditions I would like my kids to be exposed to and the meaning of family, death, the importance of life, memories, and making sure you live to the fullest, strive to be happy and good.  So close after Halloween, the days of witches and ghosts, and a month away from Christmas, it seems to me a good time to pause the partying and to think about the people that matter the most and the meaning of death and life.

I don’t know if you all have similar traditions but it would be interesting to find out the ways in which you celebrate life, reflect on death, and emphasize family.

Do you observe All Saint’s Day?

Christie’s Favorite Halloween Movies

I like Halloween. It’s not my favorite holiday but I do think it’s pretty fun. Between ages 19-33 I could have cared less about it to be honest but now that I’m a Mom I do enjoy it. Plus, there’s candy involved so it’s got to be a good one right?

Brian’s post Best Halloween Movies for Kids got me thinking about the movies I have enjoyed over the years. I thought his list was great!  It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown, Escape from Witch Mountain and of course any of the Simpson’s Halloween episodes are awesome!

So, today I am going to share some of my other favorite Halloween movies. These may not have a Halloween theme but I like them and most of them are good if you only want to be semi-scared. I usually don’t go for full blown guts, blood and gore but every once in awhile it’s okay. Again these are MY favorites and not family friendly movies. If you have teenagers they might be okay — other than that ,wait until you put the kiddos to bed,  pop some popcorn and enjoy! If you dare ~ muahahahahahahaahaha (that was my evil laugh if you were wondering).

Favorite Halloween Movies

The Phantom of the Opera

Phantom of the Opera

Available on: Amazon

Price (at time of posting): $7.91 sale — $14.99 Regular

I love The Phantom of the Opera in general.  I actually like the newest (2005) release of the movie better than the 1993 release. However, I feel that this particular version is much better for Halloween. I mean really, it stars Robert Englund – aka Freddy Krueger – as the Phantom, so it is going to be scary and have some gore associated with it. If you want to see a handsome phantom and enjoy all of the wonderful music you associate with the Broadway musical — go with the 2005 version. However, if you want to see a terrifying phantom, the 1993 Robert Englund version is the one for you! Of course, if you are like me, you will love watching both!

The Silence of the Lambs

The Silence of the Lambs

Available: Amazon

Price (at time of posting): $12.91

This is one of my favorite scary movies. I have seen it a million times and it still creeps me out everytime! Jody Foster’s determination and strength almost made me want to be an FBI agent — almost. Anthony Hopkins role as Hannibal Lecter promptly talked me out of it!

Interview with the Vampire

Interview with the Vampire

Available: Amazon

Price (at the time of this posting): $6.05 Sale — $19.99 Regular

I so enjoyed this movie but I haven’t seen it in ages. It was scary and surprising. The young Kirsten Dunst played her role brilliantly and Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt were excellent as well. It may not be the scariest movie of all time but it’s certainly one of my favorites and a good one to watch on Halloween.

The Shining

The Shining

Available: Amazon

I have only seen this movie once and it scared me half to death — so I would be remiss if I didn’t include it. Someday when I am braver I will watch it again. If you haven’t seen this classic horror film you should pick it up this Halloween and watch it! The movie may be old, the special effects are a bit outdated but I am sure it will still give you nightmares — if you like that sort of thing.



Available: Amazon

Price (as of this posting): $6.49

So apparently all the Halloween type movies I have seen were in the 90’s or later. This move was a little more gory than I like but I was surprised by the ending and terrified while I watched it. I enjoyed it and think it makes a fantastic Halloween movie.

I hope you all have a fun and safe Halloween whatever you decide to  do!

 So what are your favorite movies? Do you like to be terrified or only a little scared like me :)

Best Halloween Movies for Kids

Halloween is such a great time to be a kid.  It’s a great time to be an adult for that matter but a certain part of the magic is lost as we get older.  As Halloween approaches, I always try to get into the mood by watching some scary movies but most are way too scary and graphic for my children.  So, to get my kids in the spirit of things, I started looking for scary movies for them that they could watch leading up to Halloween without scaring them half to death.  I am sure many of you reading this article could come up with a list of your own Halloween Movies for your kids.  They would probably consist of some great movies you saw as a child and watched as you grew up, but I thought it would help some parents if we came up with a comprehensive list.

This is where the caveat comes in!  When it comes to holiday movies, most families have their favorites.  If your movie didn’t make the list, don’t be offended.  I probably just didn’t know about it.  Please help us make the best list possible by posting your favorite Halloween movie in the comments section below the article.  We will do our best to add it to the list.

Best Halloween Movies for Kids

It’s The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown

It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown

  • Available From: Amazon
  • Format: DVD
  • Price (at time of article): $14.99

This one is such a time honored classic, how could we not start the list off with it. I was a big fan of the Peanuts when I was a kid and mourned the loss of Charles Shultz when he died. It is one of the best Halloween movies around as Charlie Brown gets rocks in his trick or treat bag, snoopy falls asleep and Linus waits patiently (kind of) for the great Pumpkin to arrive in the pumpkin patch. Like all of the Peanuts movies, it sends a great message to kids and is a great kids Halloween movie. You can buy it by clicking The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown

Casper the Friendly Ghost

Casper The Friednly Ghost

  • Available From: Amazon
  • Format: DVD
  • Price (at time of article): $9.99

I grew up watching the Casper the Friendly Ghost cartoon and it was always one of my favorites. I was ecstatic when they created a live action movie. The actual movie is just called Casper, I always add “The Friendly Ghost” because that is how I always think of him. It’s a perfect movie for Halloween and your kids are sure to love it. You can buy it by clicking Casper

The Monster Squad

The Monster Squad

  • Available From: Amazon
  • Format: DVD and Blu Ray
  • Price (at time of article): $8.99 – $14.99

I couldn’t possibly make a list of the best Halloween movies for kids without including the Monster Squad. This was my all time favorite monster movie when I was a kid. I first watched it on a Boy Scout camp out and just fell in love with it. It’s a movie with Dracula, Frankenstein’s Monster, The Wolfman, The Mummy and The Gillman all seeking out a powerful amulet. Only the Monster Squad, a group of determined kids, can stop them. You can buy it by clicking The Monster Squad on DVD or The Monster Squad on Blu Ray

Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad

The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad

  • Available From: Amazon
  • Format: DVD
  • Price (at time of article): $11.99

This movie is actually a fairly new addition to my families collection of Halloween movies for the kids. The movie makes up two shorts, The Wind in the Willows and The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. It was originally released on the big screen in 1949 but until recently, was not available on VHS or DVD. It was the 11th animated feature that Disney released and we love it. You can buy it by clicking Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad

Monster House

Monster House

  • Available From: Amazon
  • Format: DVD and Blu ray
  • Price (at time of article): $12.99 to $19.99

The 5th movie in our Best Halloween Movies for Kids list is Monster House. It’s about a group of kids who believe a haunted house that is planning on eating all the little kids that come to trick or treat at it’s door. They do an amazing job making the house one of the actual characters in the movie. It can be a little intense and scary at times so I don’t recommend this for younger kids. You can buy it by clicking Monster House on DVD or Monster House on Blu Ray

Escape to Witch Mountain

Escape to Witch Mountain

  • Available From: Amazon
  • Format: DVD
  • Price (at time of article): $7.99

Here is another movie that I loved as a kid. By today’s standards, the effects are nothing special but back then they were amazing. It’s another classic from the brilliance that is Disney. It features two little kids, a brother and sister, with mysterious powers, who are on the run from someone trying to exploit them as they make there way to witch mountain. All sorts of adventures happen along the way as the movie builds to a great sci-fi ending. You can buy it by clicking Escape to Witch Mountain

Wizard of Oz

The Wizard of Oz

  • Available From: Amazon
  • Format: DVD and Blu ray
  • Price (at time of article): $14.99

While not strictly a Halloween movie, I LOVED Wizard of Oz as a kid and it has Witches in it so C’mon! This move absolutely belongs on the list of the best halloween movies for children. Not much explanation is needed for this classic, it’s a musical that just about everyone loves no matter what there take on the musical genre is. It’s a must watch for Halloween and is typically the one we use to start off our Halloween season. What better way to get into the Halloween season then watching a witch get crushed by a house! You can buy it by clicking Wizard of Oz on DVD or Wizard of Oz on Blu Ray

Simpsons Treehouse of Horror

The SImposons Treehouse of Horror

  • Available From: Amazon
  • Format: DVD
  • Price (at time of article): $7.99

Okay, so we all know this isn’t for younger kids. Heck, it’s not something I would let my own kids watch but I have sat down with my nephews (much older than my kids) and watched it with them and it was great. I love the Simpsons. More accurately, I love the older Simpsons which is what this is. It’s a collection of some of the best Treehouse of Horrors episodes. You can buy it by clicking Simpson Treehouse of Horror

Nicktoons Halloween Tales of Fright

Nicktoons Halloween: Tales of Fright

  • Available From: Amazon
  • Format: DVD
  • Price (at time of article): $11.99

In this day and age, there is just no getting away from Spongebob and some of the uber popular Nicktoons cartoons that our kids just can’t get enough of. We bought this DVD for our kids last year and they love it. It’s packed full of Halloween themed episodes from my kids favorite cartoons. You can buy it by clicking Nicktoons Halloween Tales of Fright

The Little Vampire

The Little Vampire

  • Available From: Amazon
  • Format: DVD
  • Price (at time of article): $7.99

This is a surprisingly good movie for kids and parents alike. It’s a movie we picked up for the kids thinking they would love it around this time of year but it’s not one we expected to enjoy ourselves. It’s not a movie we would watch without the kids but isn’t it always a great bonus when you can enjoy the move alongside your kids? I made this selection the last pick in our best Halloween movies for kids because it was such a surprise. You can buy it by clicking The Little Vampire

Easy-Peasy Homemade Halloween Decorations

Halloween CraftsHalloween is that time of the year when kids can dress up in their spookiest outfits.  This is when I think about how to prepare my house for the visiting little goblins and witches.

Of course, budget is never far from anyone’s mind these days.  This year, I decided to go the route of homemade Halloween decorations.  I decided to make it fun by taking on little “projects” that my son could help me out with.

Outside Spookiness

1.  The classic jack-o’-lantern

Take some Terra-cotta pots (make sure they are clean and dry), and invert them.  Cut out the eyes, nose, and mouth from some yellow-orange craft paper.  Get some all-in-one glue and spread it over the surface of your pot, stick on your jack-o’-lantern’s face, and seal it with another coat of glue. Place an old tree branch in the center for the stem of the pumpkin.  Line the pots on the sides your porch steps or on a flower pot ledge. This is an easy, kid-friendly, and cheap way to decorate the entrance of your home for Halloween.

2. Wolf path

Take some sponges and download some templates of wolves paws that fit the size of your sponges.  Use the templates to cut and create your own paw-sponge.  Get some washable glow-in-the-dark paint, dip them in, and place on the ground- maybe in your garden, or leading to the entrance of your house.  Your kids will love doing this! You’ve got a neat, washable, cheap and enticing trick to get the kiddies excited over the treats you have inside.

Inside your Haunted House

1.  Window treatment

Choose two window panels facing the front of the house (or any part where the trick-or-treaters are likely to pass).  Get some black cardboard and cut them out to fit exactly the shape and space of your windows.  Take note- mom’s and dad’s should do this part.  Then measure out pumpkins eyes, nose, and mouth and again cut them out. Make sure these holes can be seen from the outside.  Take orange tissue paper or bright orange cellophane and paste them to the holes.  From the outside, it will look like you have spooky windows.  My son loves this neat trick!

2. Kids corner:

This is one the kids will love to help you out with.  Collect an old hanger, some glue, yarn, neon paint or markers, and fiberfill and you’re set to go!  Download templates of bats and half moons and have your kids color them using neon markers or non-toxic, glow-in-the-dark paint.  When they’re done, cut them out, align the front and the back and glue together making sure to insert yarn in the top center part of the bat.  Take your yarn and tie them to the flat end of the hanger in varying lengths (think of those pretty hanging lights you may have in one of your corners).  Hot-glue the fiberfill to cover the entire hanger and then glue the half moon cut-outs in them.  Hang in your child’s room- let them pick out the corner!

Some Tips to Decorate Your Treat Table

Use some orange and black cloth to cover your table.  You can purchase a bit from your local store, just enough to be a runner. Fill old jars (remove labels and wash) with orange cellophane and candy for treats.  You can use jars of varying sizes, although wider ones would be advisable if you have them. Or you can use old tin cans, cover them with black craft paper, stick cut-out pumpkins eyes, nose, and mouth onto one side, and then fill with treats.

There are so many homemade Halloween decorations you can use to make your home Halloween-ready without too much fuss, money, and time required.  What’s most important is making it fun for your kids and their friends!

So, Happy Halloween! Trick or treat everyone!

How do you decorate your home for Halloween?

Cheap Costume Ideas For Kids

Between the endless bags of candy we buy and the Halloween costume ideas that seem to get more elaborate every year, Halloween festivities can certainly get pricey! The good news is, dressing your child up in a great costume doesn’t have to break the bank. Fortunately, there are plenty of creative, easy and cheap costumes that you can make at home even if you are not a world-renowned artist or an expert seamstress.

Cheap Costume Ideas for Kids

Make Your Own

Think inside the box! It is amazing what you can do with a large cardboard box and some poster and face paint. Using a box that is big enough for your child to fit in, cut out holes for his or her head, arms and legs. A simple box can be transformed into a:

Robot…don’t forget the silver face paint and use a smaller box for the head.

Television…ditto with the silver face paint and then add a headband with antenna.

Aquarium…paste some plastic or Swedish candy fish onto the box and cover with a square of clear, blue plastic or plastic wrap.

Some other last-minute and inexpensive Halloween costume ideas include:

Witch or Wizard…dress your child in their own black clothes and add a simple witch or wizard hat and cape.

Monarch Butterfly…dress your child in black and make cardboard wings with a swirly pattern of orange and black.

Mummy…dress your child in white and wrap him or her in white fabric strips or gauze.

Ghost…this costume costs next to nothing if you can part with one of your white sheets, and never goes out of style!

Buy Secondhand

LIttle Girl Witch CostumeIf your child is older or has a specific character in mind that they simply have to have, then secondhand shops can offer an affordable solution. Many thrift stores have a children’s Halloween section every fall and carry an amazing assortment of sizes and styles. I was lucky enough to find my son’s first choice of costumes the last two years running at my local second hand store (Dracula and Ninja Turtle) for under $10.00 a piece! Not only is a secondhand store a great way to find cheap costumes, it is a green practice as well, as it is a classic example of “reduce, reuse and recycle.”

Swap and Shop

If being green is important to you, consider organizing a costume swap at your home and invite a bunch of moms you know who have kids the same age as yours. Invite the kids to come along and make a Halloween play date out of it, complete with apple cider and cookies. Not only can you find a gently used costume this way, you can also explain to your child how swapping is a form of recycling, which helps the planet. If you do not want to host a swap yourself, there is even a website that lists local costume swapping events:

Do you have other ideas for easy and cheap costumes?  If so, we’d love to hear from you…


Where do you get your kids Halloween costumes?