Steer clear of the costume aisle. Try some of these homegrown options instead.
- Dancing With the Stars: Cover a tutu and leotard with glow-in-the-dark star-shaped stickers.
- Breaking News: Staple torn newspaper sheets to old clothing.
- Sick and Tired: Put a bicycle tire around your neck and a thermometer in your mouth.
- Stick in the Mud: Wear an all-brown outfit and sew a large twig onto your chest.
- Smartie Pants: Glue rolls of Smarties candies onto a pair of old pants.
- Iron Chef: Wear a chef’s hat and carry an iron.
- Quarter Pounder: Carry a quarter in one hand and a hammer in the other.
- Tickled Pink: Don a head-to-toe pink ensemble with a pink feather boa.
Sweeten the deal. Drugstore “fun size” candy assortments average about 14 cents apiece. Oriental Trading Company (orientaltrading.com) offers lesser-known brands, like Wonka’s Laffy Taffy, at 12 cents a pop.
“Change” your approach. Younger tykes love to get money, so dole out loose coins in a small Baggie with a note reading, “Spend it any witch-a-way you want.”
Head straight to local farms. You’ll save $5 to $10 per gourd, since grocery stores mark them up at this time of year. (Go to localharvest.org for listings in your area.)
Give them a hand. Create a deliciously macabre (but fun) centerpiece by stuffing latex gloves with cotton balls, then adorning them with faux nails or costume rings.
Liven up your home with glow-in-the-dark paint. Decorative lights can cost $26 per string, so use the water-based paint ($5.95 for one ounce, glonation.com) to personalize pumpkins.
Be a bloody good host. Turn drinks ghoulish by adding red food coloring to ice trays before freezing the water, then plop into clear drinks. Word to the squeamish: It gets creepier looking as the ice melts.