a "been-there" mom of six offers encouragement
to wives, young mothers, and those not so young,
and simple common-sense approaches to
the "ings" of life:
child-rearing (hints and helps), homemaking (all areas),
cooking (simple, cheap, and do-it-yourself)
making (toys and gifts), preparing (for the unexpected),
maintaining (sanity and peace in this increasingly crazy world) and more---
all aspects of making the most of making do on little---
and having fun in the process.
Monday, September 26, 2011
Halloween: Homemade, Cheap, and Creative
TRUNK or Treat
Hopefully you live in an area where kids can still be kids---safely. Trunk or Treat has become a popular replacement in many areas. Church parking lots become the "homes" and treats are handed out from car trunks. It is even more fun if the "distributors" take the time to decorate their trunk and/or themselves. Everyone knows everyone so homemade is okay.
It took hours and hours to make the skeleton costumes above. The skeletons themselves were painstakingly cut from oil cloth (a heavy waterproof plastic-y fabric that was commonly used for tablecloths) and then even more painstakingly appliqued onto the body of the costume. The kids loved them----for the first couple of years. Because of all the work that went into them, I continued to make them, and then their younger siblings wear them until the foot bones literally came only to their knee bones. That is sad, and kids, I am sorry.
Years later Dave and I chaperoned a costume dance. One of the guys came as a terrific skeleton. It cost him $2 and about 20 minutes time. He bought a life-size cardboard skeleton--the type with movable joints and he disjointed it by using a pair of scissors to pop out the rivets. Then, wearing a black sweat shirt and sweat pants he had someone pin the bones onto them. The bones moved with him, and even stood slightly away from him at times. It was very effective.
A Bag of Beans!
Our daughter-in-law Cheri shared this idea for a cute, simple, and inexpensive costume, which can be adapted for either children or adults. Cut arm and leg homes in a clear plastic trash bag of the appropriate size to fit the individual. Once the person is in the bag, fill it with small oval inflated balloons in a variety of colors. Gather the top opening of the bag around the wearer's neck and tie with with a piece of ribbon. If you really feel further identification is needed for this bag of jelly beans you can make a paper label and fasten it to the front of the bag.
Homemade Halloween Make-up (from Amy Dacyczyn's book, The Tightwad Gazette)
Theatrical-type Grease Paint: Combine 2 tsp. vegetable shortening, 5 tsp. cornstarch, and 1 tsp. flour. Add 2 to 3 drops glycerin (available at drugstores) for smoothness. Add food coloring as desired. Brown Grease Paint: 1 tsp. vegetable shortening, 2-1/2 tsp cocoa powder, and 2 to 3 drops of glycerin.
They can be removed with cold cream, baby oil, or vegetable shortening.
Scar Tissue is created by mixing unflavored Knox gelatin with drops of hot water to make a paste. Apply "drooping open flesh" with a spatula. Gently apply a layer of baby powder using a powder puff or cotton ball. Pain with acrylic craft paint to resemble flesh and blood.
Looking for a special treat for a special time? A friend from long ago shared the recipe for chocolate caramel apples she used to make every year for the trick-or-treaters that came to her door. She hadn't realized just how popular they were until she discovered that the kids that use to come to her home were now driving their own kids to her door on Halloween.
Mary Sue's Chocolate Caramel Apples
(recipe makes enough for 12-24 apples, depending on their size)
small, crisp tart apples
popsicle sticks or skewers
1 cup butter or margarine
2-1/2 cups brown sugar, packed
1 cup light corn syrup
1 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
2 squares (2 ounces) unsweetened chocolate
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup chopped peanuts
Wash and dry apples. Insert stick or skewer into stem end of each. Set aside. Butter baking sheets. In large, heavy saucepan, melt butter. Stir in brown sugar and salt. Add corn syrup and mix well. Gradually stir in milk; add chocolate. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, about 12-15 minutes, until candy reaches firm ball stage (245 degrees on candy thermometer). Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Dip each apple into caramel sauce, turning to coat. Scrape excess off bottom. Dip bottom in peanuts. Set on buttered pan. After they cool, slide them onto cupcake papers. The apples should be made the day they will be served.
'til we eat again,