Halloween is a really fun time of year, but for most consumers, it has also become a very expensive holiday. Last year, the National Retail Federation estimated that American consumers would spend a whopping $6.9 billion on Halloween candy, costumes and decorations.
Americans are absolutely batty about Halloween, and spending for the holiday's festivities is second only to Christmas. Don't get spooked -- you can have a great Halloween without spending an arm and a leg. These DIY decorations are both easy and inexpensive. Get your little ghouls and goblins involved to make some lasting memories and teach them how to spend money wisely in the process. Dress up your front porch or stoop with these creative DIY ideas.
A man-eating pumpkin. Jazz up a jack o' lantern -- the old Halloween stand-by -- to a new eerie delight with items you already have around the house. First, carve a face into a pumpkin. For the best look, give your pumpkin some jagged teeth or fangs. Then, grab an old sock, a shoe and an old pair of jeans one of the kids has outgrown.
Cut one leg off the jeans and staple the sock to the bottom as if there were a foot coming out of the pants. Stuff the entire thing with newspaper, put the shoe on the "leg" and insert the top of the jeans into the mouth of your pumpkin. Add some red food coloring or ketchup around the pumpkin's mouth and on the ground around it for a gruesome yet giddy touch.
Sinister bats. This is an easy project for even young kids to do with you. Start with some black construction paper and a template for a Halloween bat (you can easily find one free on the Internet). Trace the template onto the black paper using a white crayon and cut it out. Make sure to cut out enough bats to create a spooky swarm.
You can hang the paper bats from your front porch with fishing line or dental floss or tape some around your door. Suspend a few from the bushes and trees in your yard, and it will appear to trick or treaters that the critters are buzzing them overhead.
Spooky spider. Put those leaves in your yard to good use and create a fun Halloween decoration at the same time. Grab five large black garbage bags and stuff them with leaves. The first bag should be the largest and should be very round. The next four bags should not be stuffed to the brim, as they'll form the legs of the spider.
Add craft eyes to the largest bag -- this will be the head of the spider. Use store-bought ones or draw eyes using glow-in-the-dark paint or markers.
Place the head of the spider in the yard or on the porch and lay the legs around it. You can do this with eight legs, but four looks better.
To create a joint in the leg so it can bend, tie a black rubber band or some fishing wire around the center of the leg and prop it against a chair or wall.
Decide how many ghosts you want to make and gather that many white sheets. Use old flat sheets you have on hand or go to a discount store to purchase some.
Stuff some newspaper into the top to round out the head and off the bottom with some white string. Once you've done this with all your sheets, create faces with permanent black marker.
Attach a safety pin to the top of each ghost's head and thread some rope, fishing line or string through the top.
Hang the ghosts from your porch or the trees in your yard -- they'll sway in the breeze and creep out the neighborhood kids.
Tie off the bottoms of the pants and shirt and stuff them both with straw or newspaper, then put the shirt on top of the pants and tuck it into the waistband.
If you want your scarecrow to sit, place it on a chair in the front yard in a sitting position and put the legs of the pants into the boots.
To create the head, carve a face into a pumpkin. Put a stick through the pumpkin and place it on top of the shirt, propping it up against the chair.
If you're creating a standing scarecrow, you can skip this step, as you should have a stick running the entire length of the scarecrow to allow it to stand.
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