Many people have gotten the idea that, in order to throw a party or decorate for the holidays, they have to put themselves in debt. This is because they tend to rush out to the party store to purchase loads of mechanical doo-dads and similar decorations. There’s a way around this, though. Not only does your Halloween party not have to cost you an arm and a leg, your can make decorations that are much more fun and charming – and you don’t have to be Martha Stewart to do it.
Here are a few simple and easy ways to decorate your home, classroom or office for Halloween without breaking the bank.
Do-it-yourself ghosts. It’s amazing what you can do with poster board and a few black markers. On the non-slick side of a large sheet of white poster board, draw a simple ghost in pencil and cut it out. Add a face on both sides with your black marker and…presto! Instant ghost. Use a needle to add a loop of white thread to the top of his head for hanging in a doorway.
Spooky signs. Using a piece of brown cardboard and a red crayon, you can fashion a bloody sign that points the way to the bathroom or warns guests to BEWARE. The tone of these do-it-yourself signs is up to you. Some people like to make them as gruesome as possible, while others like a little bit of humor with their spookiness. BEWARE OF THE BARTENDER is a good one, especially if you have your very own demented Igor pouring drinks.
Faces at the window. All you need for this one is white paper and crayons or markers. Draw and color two scary eyes and a set of sharp, pointed teeth, cut each eye and the upper and lower teeth out separately and tape them to the windows. (Don’t cut out each tooth separately. Cut out the top set together and the bottom set. It’s best if you draw two fangs on either side of three or four shorter teeth.) Use your imagination to create all kinds of possibilities for scary faces to peer in at you and your guests.
Disembodied hands. Again, using poster board, trace around your hand and about halfway to your elbow. With a pen, add in long fingernails, which you may want to color red, black or dirty yellow, and also the wrinkles around the knuckles. Cut it out. Then, notice how your fingers bend and bend the paper fingers accordingly. This will make a nice claw that you can then tape to a surface in your home. Ideas include making “hole” in your wall with a circle of black poster board and taping the hand to it, so that it appears to be reaching through. Or you can have it reaching from behind a piece of furniture.
Do-it-yourself graveyard. Styrofoam or any sort of thick, stiff arts and crafts material will work for this. Simply cut out your tombstones and put silly names and witty sayings on them with your black marker. This is a great place to use your imagination. You can have your guests howling with laughter. The thicker, stiffer material can actually be used outside by putting bricks around the tombstones to hold them up. If you want an inside graveyard, it may be best to either reserve a corner of a room where guests won’t be stumbling after they’ve had too much witch’s brew, or to actually attach the tombstones to the walls.
Ghostly wails. This is the easiest of all. Simply go to the nature store and purchase a CD of wolf calls. Listen to it before you use it, however. Adults, however, will think you’re a genius.
Depending on how many tombstones, ghosts and signs you want to put up, you can spend whatever you want to on your Halloween decorations. For $100 you can give yourself a seriously overpopulate your house with ghosts and have gravestones and signs all over the place, where you may only be able to afford maybe four mechanical monsters for the same amount. You can still have several do-it-yourself ghosts for under $25, the price of one mechanical monster. All it will cost you is a little time. And your guests will ooh and ahh a whole lot longer.