Halloween Doesn't Have to Be Scary Expensive

With Halloween just a week away, many parents are worried they don't have the time or the extra money to get their little goblin or princess ready for the big day.

Here are some smart tips to save time and money on Halloween this year, from Kit Hoover, host of the new TLC show, "Real Simple. Real Life."

Make Simple, Clever Costumes

Here are a few examples of easy-to-make, funny costumes.

Hawaiian Punch: Wear a Hawaiian shirt, a grass skirt, if possible, and boxing gloves.

Facebook: Tie a book with a picture of yourself around your neck.

Pig in a Blanket: Put on a pig nose and wrap yourself in a blanket.

Fallen Angel: Put on a halo, mess up your hair with leaves and apply makeup so your face looks dirty.

If money is tight, use a hand-me-down costume from an older sibling, or even swap costumes with a friend or neighbor.

Making a Perfect Pumpkin

To avoid a mistake and save time, have your kids use washable markers to test out different faces and designs before committing to one.

Instead of putting a real candle in your Jack-o-Lantern, use an LED candle, which is safer than a traditional one, but looks like the real thing. LED lights from www.smartcandle.com are one option.

Buy Candy at a Warehouse Club

You can save nearly 50 percent by buying a giant bag of mixed candy at a warehouse club, instead of getting it at a grocery or drug store.

Jazz Up Your Halloween Party on the Cheap

Make creepy hand-shaped ice. Take a vinyl doctor's glove or a clean dishwashing glove, fill it with water, secure it with a rubber band, and freeze it overnight. When you peel away the glove, you have spooky hand-shaped ice that you can put in your punch bowl.

Black widow punch. It looks gross but tastes great.


1 (.13 ounce) envelope unsweetened grape soft drink mix
1 (.13 ounce) envelope unsweetened orange soft drink mix
2 cups white sugar
3 quarts cold water
1 liter ginger ale


Stir together grape soft drink mix, orange soft drink mix, sugar and water until solids are dissolved. Combine with chilled ginger ale right before serving. Dip the frozen hand briefly in warm water, then peel off the glove. Float the prepared hand in the punch bowl for a ghastly effect.

Recipe courtesy of Real Simple

What to Do With Leftover Candy

After your kids have hit up every house in the neighborhood, and there's tons of candy leftover, you can mix it with brownies or cookies. Add sliced candy bars to regular brownie mix and bake. Add candy corn to pre-made chocolate chip cookie dough.

You can find more great ideas at RealSimple.com.