SAVING YOU MONEY -- Eerie, but economical: Spooky costumes, decorations don't have to cost a lot
Oct 18, 2008 (Muskogee Phoenix - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- EDITOR'S NOTE: One in a series on helping readers save money.
Don't let high prices and economic problems scare you out of having a happy Halloween with your kids.
You can find all sorts of inexpensive ways to dress up or decorate -- and many of those things can be found right in your closet, area experts say.
All it takes is imagination and time.
"Try to utilize items you already have," said Muskogee County Family and Consumer Science Extension Educator Virginia Stanley. She listed several costume ideas that require only old clothes, fancy scarves or out of style duds.
"You can be a scarecrow, a pirate, a 1950s sock hop teen," she said. Frugality-oriented Web sites have all sorts of costume ideas, she said.
Do-it-yourselfers can find fabric and accessories at Hobby Lobby, Hancock Fabrics and other stores.
Pam Moulder, manager of scrapbooking at Hobby Lobby, said people can use all sorts of fabrics for costumes. For example, tulle, gauze and cheesecloth can make an eerier ghost than a sheet.
Chris Moreno, who works in the store's fabric department said people also can make costumes out of flannel and felt.
"People buy a lot of shimmery fabric such as lame," she said.
Though it helps to know how to sew, people can easily assemble costumes using fabric glue, Moulder said.
"There is a lot you can glue together," she said. "It's only going to be worn one night. Take fabric and slap it together."
Moulder said people also can make creative and inexpensive costumes with, of all things, balloons.
"You can be a bag of jelly beans with multi-colored balloons or a bunch of grapes with purple balloons," she said. "Just get a bag of balloons, blow them up and attach them to a trash bag or sweat suit."
Hobby Lobby also has inexpensive accessories such as hats for pirates, cowboys and witches, she said.
People also can save money by doing creative things with face paint and adult makeup, especially makeup that has been out of fashion.
Halloween haunting, decorating and treating can get expensive. The National Retail Federation's Halloween Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey, conducted by BIG research, said the average person plans to spend $66.54 on the holiday, up from $64.82 one year ago. Of that, they likely will spend $24.17 on Halloween costumes for adults, children, even pets; $18.25 for decorations; $20.39 for candy and $3.73 for greeting cards. Total Halloween spending for 2008 is estimated to reach $5.77 billion.
People also can save on decorating by using at-hand items, Stanley said.
"You can make a scarecrow with old jeans and an old shirt," she said. "Make the head out of a paper sack and stuff it with leaves."
Rachel Lockwood, Wagoner County Family and Consumer Science Extension educator said people can make all sorts of things with black trash bags, "from bats to goblins."
People not into Halloween can decorate for fall with items from nature, she said. "They can collect leaves, acorns or nuts."
That saves money in another way because people can keep such decorations up after October, she said.
We want your ideas
Do you collect coupons? Do you buy store brands or insist on name brands? If you have money saving ideas, contact Cathy Spaulding at 684-2928.
--Use clothes or items you already have, such as animal print pajamas or old hand-me-downs.
--Buy costumes that can be used for other purposes, such as a princess dress for a party dress.
--Or reuse a party or "flower girl" dress for a princess or baby bride dress.
--Check online auctions of second-hand stores for costume ideas.
--Let your kids decorate an old gallon ice cream bucket to carry their Trick or Treat loot in.
--When all else fails, there's always the bed sheet ghost with holes cut out for eyes. Avoid plaid and floral prints or fitted sheets.
--Mismatched old clothes, or oversized clothes, plus creative face makeup can make a cute clown or hobo.
Sources: www.thriftyfun.com, reporter's experience.
Web sites for costume ideas
Reach Cathy Spaulding at 918-684-2928 or Click Here to Send Email
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