How to enjoy Halloween without spending a fortune


Halloween doesn't have to cost a fortune to be fun, according to our king of kitsch, Garage Sale America author Bruce Littlefield. From bleeding popcorn to turning your lawn into a graveyard, here are some great ideas.

How to enjoy Halloween without spending a fortune

Here are some very cheap and easy ideas to have some Halloween fun:

Cheap Halloween snacking ideas: 

  • After carving your pumpkins, save the seeds. Don't wash them, but blend them with a little sea salt and paprika. Spread a thin layer of the mixture on a tray and bake for about 25 minutes in a 250 degree oven. Delicious!
  • When you and your family or friends curl up to watch a scary movie, surprise them with some "bloody" popcorn. Just put some red food coloring all over it.
Cheap Halloween decorating ideas:
  • To bring Halloween indoors, try making candle sticks out of gourds. All you do is cut out the center at the top so that a candle fits inside. It's a great table centerpiece that will last a few days. These kind of candlesticks look great for Thanksgiving too.
  • Create a witch's doorway with a black garbage bag: cut strips almost up to the top of the bag, leaving an edge so the bag doesn't fall apart, and attach to the top of your doorway.
  • Creep out trick or treaters by turning your front yard into a graveyard. Just cut a tombstone shape out of cardboard or foamboard, spray paint gray, rub some dirt all over it, and place at various depths throughout the yard.
And everyone loves a dog in drag! If all else fails, put a costume on your pet and hit the town.

Hey there I'm Bruce Littlefield for and nothing could be scarier this Halloween season than the economy! So I'm going to tell you how to have Halloween fun for cheap.

How about something for the center of the table. You have your outdoors, what are you going to do for the center of the table. How about taking some gourds, cutting out the center of them, and using those as candle sticks, candle operas. Once you cut them they'll last a couple of days, but boy do they look good for Halloween. And they'll work for Thanksgiving.

Also, once you have your pumpkins carved, what do you do with the seeds? I say don't throw them away, save them. Okay so you've got your seeds in a bowl, have not washed them. You take sea salt--this is my grandmother's recipe--put a little sea salt in there. Now I like sea salt because it's course. I like to take a little paprika. It's what my grandmother always used in South Carolina growing up. And then get those spread out evenly on a tray and the best is if you can make a single layer of them. And then you're going to put this in the oven for about twenty-five minutes, twenty to thirty minutes I'd say, at about 250 degrees. When they come out of the oven they'll look like this. These are great; they're delicious. So good!

I'm going to move this out of the way because I'm going to show you another really great treat for your kids. This will scare them to death. Very easy to do and very cheap. Rent a movie, stay at home, and make some bloody popcorn. All you have to do is take a little red food coloring, make the popcorn, and then you're going to add some red food coloring. You take it out to your kids and tell them you had a little cut, but some of us really like the blood...yum.

Okay we've got the fun inside the house, but now what do we do outside the house? How do we bring the scary excitement of Halloween to the outside of the house without spending a lot of money? How about the cost of a garbage bag? Can you afford that one? It's really easy to do this.

Alright you take a garbage bag--black--as you know it is Halloween. Open it up so you have a flat, cuttable surface. And then use your scissors and cut almost up to the top and into strips. So suddenly you have a witch's doorway.

Here's another cheap way to make the outside scary: turn your yard into a graveyard. How? Take either cardboard or foamboard, cut it into the shape of tombstones, paint it gray using a brush or if you're outside, use some gray spraypaint. Add a little bit of dirt into the mix, just by rubbing it, and put some at various depths throughout your yard. And kids as they approach your house will think they've stepped into a very scary graveyard.

And if all else fails, dress your dog in drag and go out on the town. Right Wes, we're going to go out and have some fun? Yeah.

For I'm Bruce Littlefield. Happy Halloween!

meet theexpert
  • Bruce Littlefield

    Bruce Littlefield Design and Lifestyle Guru Bruce Littlefield is a New York-based designer, writer, and restaurateur. Hailed as a "design and lifestyle guru" by Publisher's Weekly, he is the author of the recently published Merry Christmas, America!: Megawatt Displays Across the U.S.A. (HarperCollins 2007), Garage Sale America and Airstream Living (HarperCollins 2007), and co-writer of the best-selling Use What You've Got and Other Business Lessons I learned from My Mom (Penguin Group) with real-estate magnate Barbara Corcoran. The Today more about this expert »