By Megan Patrick, Staff Writer
You can celebrate the spookiest of seasons without investing a lot of money or time. All it really takes is a little creativity, a few craft supplies and some common household items arranged in just the right way to set the mood for a neighborhood party, trick-or-treat night or scary book club meeting. Start with our simple suggestions and let your imagination take over. Whether your style is scary cute, festive fall or traditionally spooky, we've got an idea for you.
You can use any set of Alphabet Cookie Cutters to spell out a spooky message. Just be sure to ice your creations in traditional Halloween colors. Use Halloween Cookie Cutters to make additional charming shapes. Use a large platter to display your creations and be sure to snap a photo before your guests devour the centerpiece!
It's easy enough to carve a couple of pumpkins for the porch, but to make this year really special, create a whole pumpkin family that takes after your own. You can even choose pumpkins in sizes and shapes that reflect the actual members of your family. Use miniature pumpkins or other small gourds for your kids and pets.
Even if you don't typically have concrete geese in your yard, Halloween is a great time to give that tradition a creepy twist. Just add sticky googly eyes on long-necked gourds and secure them to the ground with wooden or metal garden stakes.
Instead of the traditional orange pumpkins, for a more sophisticated (and ghostly) look, buy white pumpkins in a variety of sizes. You can use them outside on the porch, as a table centerpiece or on the mantel. If you can't find the natural variety of white pumpkins, you can spray paint your own!
Pull together any accessories (bowls, candles, lanterns, vases) that are orange, black or white. Use black duct tape or construction paper to add jack-o-lantern grins to orange objects. Plain white napkins or paper towels can be easily turned into ghosts with a twist tie used to form the head. Black construction paper and white computer paper can be cut into simple shapes like bats and ghosts and slipped into picture frames.
You can use pre-cut paper ghosts, a ghost punch or cut your own spooky shapes to craft this creepy garland. Secure the ghosts to any kind of orange ribbon with miniature clothes pins, colored paper clips or a dot of glue. Hang the garland around a doorway or window.
Gingerbread houses aren't just for Christmas anymore. Now you can get your very own gingerbread haunted house kit to decorate with your kids. Use the house as a table centerpiece and share the spoils with your friends and family at the end of the party. Everyone will have as much fun destroying (and eating) the house as you did building it!
Turn old cardboard boxes and paint stir sticks into creepy yard signs with a little imagination and some poster paint. Just cut the boxes down into simple shapes and label them with Halloween-ready messages. You can offer to sell potions, give the distance to Transylvania or create punny gravestones.
No one loves to rake leaves in the fall, but instead of just putting them out for the garbage truck or tossing them directly into the compost pile, bag them up in giant plastic pumpkin bags to decorate your yard. (You can always add them to the compost bin after Halloween!)
Instead of just creating a lovely fall flower arrangement, you can take it a step further by hollowing out a small pumpkin and placing a short, clear, glass vase inside. Make sure the vase is at least half an inch shorter than the pumpkin so it can be completely hidden.
A jack-o-lantern doesn't have to be made out of pumpkin. Many kinds of fruits and vegetables work just as well and create an even more festive color palette to decorate with. Try orange, green, red and yellow bell peppers. Any kind of winter squash or gourd will work, too.
If you don't want to make a mess by carving a pumpkin or gourd, you can still decorate the outside using a permanent marker. Don't limit yourself to basic black. Experiment with bright colors and even metallics.