8 Truly Last-Minute Halloween Hacks

Photo by Pressmaster / Shutterstock.com

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. Make last-minute jack-o’-lanterns

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. Preserve your pumpkins

Did you carve the pumpkins a bit early and now are worried they will fade? Just use a dab of petroleum jelly or hairspray to make that Halloween decoration last. Shelley Carella, brand director at Yummly.com, says:

That will help keep the cut edges of your pumpkin from softening too quickly and keep the rest of it plump, too. Hairspray also works to seal in the moisture of your pumpkin. A light coating of hairspray around all the cut, exposed parts of your pumpkin can go a long way in keeping it looking good.

Hairspray isn’t flammable when dry, she says. But it’s always a good idea to use battery-operated candles instead of the real ones.

3. Create speedy spiders

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 at its website.

4. Bring in the blooms

Janet Lawatsch, florist on the delivery site BloomNation and owner of Studio One Twenty Three West in Braintree, Massachusetts, suggests saving a few empty beer and wine bottles in advance and spray painting them black:

Pick up a dozen or so fresh colorful blooms and arrange in bottles creating varying heights. Be sure to get some curly willow or birch sticks, as well, and stretch some spider web netting (purchased at a local grocery/craft store) across the branches. Arrange your bottles in a cluster and add some candles for a more dramatic effect.

If you want to use fresh flowers to decorate, be sure to buy from a reputable vendor so they don’t die before the big day, says Lawatsch.

5. 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. Adriana Saurini, creative director at PartyPaint.com, says:

The special connection that happens during the process of face painting adds magic to a child’s experience.

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.

6. 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.

7. Create food spider webs

Put a topping like frosting or cream cheese (for dessert) or sour cream (for dip) in a plastic storage bag and cut the end to help with the decorating. You can buy orange frosting, too, to keep with the holiday colors. Whichever hue you choose, draw a few straight lines and then connect the lines in between to create a simple spider web design. You should have a spooky meal in minutes, said Yummly’s Carella.

For more ideas, go to the Peeps website. Turns out, they are not just for Easter anymore.

8. Make fast, festive cookies

Libby’s has a 100 percent pure pumpkin cookie dough you slice and bake. Don’t want to deal with the mess that baking even refrigerated cookies can create? Jenny Harper, senior baking specialist with Nestle, says:

One cleaning time saver I use all the time is to line my countertop with wax or parchment paper when I measure ingredients, mix or decorate. Also, I use parchment paper to line my baking sheets for less cleanup and for an easier transfer of cookies to the cooling rack.

What do you recommend for last-minute Halloween tricks? Share with us in the comments below or on our Facebook page.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Read Next
New Ways to Save Money on Insurance of Every Kind
New Ways to Save Money on Insurance of Every Kind

Tech startups are making it easy to find the best rates for all kinds of insurance policies.

The 2 Biggest Retirement Fears of Baby Boomers
The 2 Biggest Retirement Fears of Baby Boomers

Boomers have a lot of worries as they age, but two stand out.

How Baby Boomers Are Earning an Extra $573 a Month
How Baby Boomers Are Earning an Extra $573 a Month

In the gig economy, baby boomers are out-hustling their younger competition. You can cash in, too.

10 U.S. Jobs That Are Disappearing Fastest
10 U.S. Jobs That Are Disappearing Fastest

Think twice before pursuing these shrinking occupations.

How to Stop Living Paycheck to Paycheck in 8 Steps
How to Stop Living Paycheck to Paycheck in 8 Steps

Does it feel like your paycheck is gone the moment you get it? You can break that vicious cycle.

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Most Popular
10 Things Frugal People Never Buy
10 Things Frugal People Never Buy

If you’re a true tightwad, the mere thought of spending money on these items gives you the willies.

10 Useless Purchases You Need to Stop Making
10 Useless Purchases You Need to Stop Making

You might as well flush your money down the loo if you spend it on these things.

7 Social Security Rules Everyone Should Know by Now
7 Social Security Rules Everyone Should Know by Now

Confusion over Social Security is a shame, considering how many of us will need this money badly.

9 Shopping Mistakes to Avoid at Costco
9 Shopping Mistakes to Avoid at Costco

Are you missing out on serious savings at your favorite warehouse club?

If You Find This Thrift Shopping, Buy It
If You Find This Thrift Shopping, Buy It

They don’t make coffee makers like this anymore.

Why Your Next Stimulus Check Might Be Bigger Than You Expect
Why Your Next Stimulus Check Might Be Bigger Than You Expect

Your third coronavirus payment will be the biggest yet — and possibly even bigger than you realize.

13 Amazon Purchases We Are Loving Right Now
13 Amazon Purchases We Are Loving Right Now

These practical products make everyday life a little easier.

3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free
3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free

With a little ingenuity, you can cut Office costs to zero.

14 Things You Should Stop Buying in 2021
14 Things You Should Stop Buying in 2021

These convenient household products come with hidden costs that you might not have considered.

Is Writing a Check Still Safe?
Is Writing a Check Still Safe?

Every time you pay by check, you hand your bank account numbers to a stranger.

6 Ways to Protect Your Retirement Accounts From Hackers
6 Ways to Protect Your Retirement Accounts From Hackers

Imagine having $245,000 stolen from your retirement account — and not being reimbursed.

8 Things You Should Replace to Improve Your Life Today
8 Things You Should Replace to Improve Your Life Today

Being frugal isn’t smart if you put off replacing these items.

This Is the Most Dependable Car Brand in the U.S.
This Is the Most Dependable Car Brand in the U.S.

This brand’s vehicles are least likely to give drivers repair headaches, according to J.D. Power.

7 Social Security Benefits You May Be Overlooking
7 Social Security Benefits You May Be Overlooking

There’s more to Social Security than retirement benefits.

The 6 Best Investing Apps for Beginners
The 6 Best Investing Apps for Beginners

If you’re looking to ease into investing in the coronavirus economy with just a little money, check out these easy-to-use tools.

7 Hidden Sections of Amazon Every Shopper Should Know
7 Hidden Sections of Amazon Every Shopper Should Know

These little-known departments of Amazon are gold mines for deal-seekers and impulse shoppers alike.

7 Income Tax Breaks That Retirees Often Overlook
7 Income Tax Breaks That Retirees Often Overlook

Did you realize all these tax credits and deductions exist — or that they apply to retirees?

7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco
7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco

Even if it seems you save a bundle buying Costco’s Kirkland Signature brand products, they may not be the bargain they appear to be.

The 10 Worst States for Retirees in 2021
The 10 Worst States for Retirees in 2021

Based on factors like affordability, quality of life and health care, these are not ideal places to spend retirement.

View More Articles

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Add a Comment

Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.