Halloween has a way of sneaking up, leaving us without costumes, decorations and holiday-friendly treats. But fear not! Consider these savvy Halloween hacks for procrastinators.
1. Jack-o’-lantern shortcut
One of the best ways to make a stylish pumpkin in a hurry is to use your electric drill and several different-sized drill bits.
First cut a hole in the top of the pumpkin and scrape out the contents. From there, you can make random polka dots by drilling through the pumpkin, or lines of holes, or holes in a zig-zag pattern. Whatever you like. Then, just add a candle or battery-operated votive.
You can get fancier about it by following directions from HGTV. The network recommends using strips of tape as a guide while you drill. Switch out drill bits of different sizes to create patterns.
Alternatively, if you don’t even have time to hollow out a pumpkin, you can always paint them — or draw on them with markers.
2. Speedy spider decoration
Conscript your kids to help you make giant spiders. Have them rake leaves into heavy black trash bags, which they can then turn into giant outdoor spider decorations. No leaves to rake? Grab some old newspapers to stuff the spider bodies. Then cut and tape extra trash bags into lots of creepy legs (eight’s the right amount). Drape the giant arachnids over a wall, from a tree or on your porch. Hefty offers directions on its website.
3. Bust out the face paint
Maybe you don’t have the time, cash or energy to dive into costume-shopping madness. Face paints can turn you or the kids into a Minion, Winter Princess, Sugar Skull or other characters.
There are lots of remarkable examples of face paint on Pinterest. If you’re an artist, by all means, try them out. But for something last-minute, take a look at these simple examples on Parents.com.
Use face paints or makeup specifically designed for this purpose. Do not apply household paint or craft paint to the skin.
4. Raid your closet
Dress in white or black clothing. Then grab eyeliner or an eyebrow pencil, draw on whiskers, and you’re a cat or bunny. For the complete look, pick up a long kitty tail or a puffy cottontail at a costume shop.
Not into the animal look? Recycle a formal gown, add a costume tiara and fake chains, and you become the rock band Alice in Chains. Or skip the chains and you’re a prom queen.
For kids, oversized suits are a great starting point for building a clown costume.
5. Halloween Peep treats
For a shortcut to Halloween-themed treats check out the website for marshmallow Peeps. Turns out, they are not just for Easter anymore. You could use them to decorate baked goods or just array them on a platter at your Halloween gathering. You can order Halloween Peeps on Amazon.
6. Make fast, festive cookies
Here’s a homemade treat that is simple, festive and fast: pumpkin spice cookies. Very Best Baking offers a recipe for five dozen cookies that requires 20 minutes of prep time and 15 minutes of baking time. Alternatively, you could buy a ready-made sugar cookie dough at the grocery store, bake it and decorate the cookies with Halloween candies and colored sugar.
7. Easy set-up Halloween games
If you’re entertaining, set up a tub for kids — maybe even adults, depending on your friends — to bob for apples. Equally entertaining, and just as easy to set up is a game with a powdered sugar doughnut hanging from a string. Players try to eat the doughnut with their hands tied behind their backs. Eventually they usually get the doughnut down the hatch, but not without getting powdered sugar all over their faces.
What do you recommend for last-minute Halloween tricks? Share with us in the comments below or on our Facebook page.
Kari Huus contributed to this post.