Hosting a kids Halloween party? Before you get scared off over the potential cost and hassle, check out our scary simple ways to have a spook-tacular Halloween spread without busting your budget.

FEEDING THE GOBLINS

There’s nothing scarier than a hungry ghost, and young ghosts tend to love pizza. If you can find deals at your local pizza joint, it’s often an economical way to feed a big crew. If you can’t find deals, it might be cheaper (and more fun) to make your own – buy pre-made dough and then add your own toppings.

Depending on how many goblins you’re entertaining and their ages, you can have pizza-making be an activity in itself, setting out the fixings and letting your guests get creative.

Or, make the ‘zas ahead of time – especially if you want them to look themey. We found some fun and easy pizza ideas here, but you can go way more low-key with our personal fave: the jack o’-lantern pizza. (Cheese pizza + pepperoni slices arranged in a face shape = delicious festive simplicity.) ($10.99 for each delivery pizza; $5.99 for each frozen pizza – you can rearrange the existing pepperoni yourself! For make-your-own, plan on $3 each for a pre-made crust, and then the cost of toppings, which can vary.)

To avoid a total carbsugar overload, but stay in theme, add some (orange) carrot sticks, (orange) pepper strips and, well, oranges. Or, depending on your skill with a knife, make these cute pepper veggie holders. Who wouldn’t want to eat their five-a-day when served like this? (Approx. $2/lb for mini oranges; $1.25 per pepper and $3.29 for baby carrots.)

Your princes and princesses are about to hit max sugar consumption as they eat the hoards of candy they got while trick-or-treating, so don’t worry about skipping dessert.

KEEPING YOUR GHOULS BUSY

Got a houseful of crazy kiddos who can’t wait to go trick-or-treating? Keep them busy for at least a little while with fun party games.

The good news is you don’t have to be scared off by elaborate games. The best are those the kids already know and love. Just add a tiny Halloween twist to make them special without spending very much.

For example:

  • Bob for apples: Always a winner. Take a drink tub, add water and apples, and you’re done. ($3 for 3 lbs of apples.)
  • Halloween bingo: Print bingo cards you find online, pass out candy corn markers and bingo! You’re good to go. ($1.50 for 11 oz. bag of candy corn.)
  • Musical pumpkins: Cut out big orange pumpkins and arrange in a circle. Play “Monster Mash.” Stop the music. Watch everyone scramble for a pumpkin. The odd one out removes a pumpkin, and comes out to be the “music player.” Continue until you have two guests and one pumpkin. ($2.59 for 50 sheets of orange construction paper.)
  • Mummy runny: Divide the group into teams; set out rolls of toilet paper, choose a victim, and get wrapping. Once the mummy is ready, he or she has to run to a certain point and back. Whichever mummy is still wearing the most TP wins. (Yes, we’ll admit it’s a little wasteful, but, hey, you can buy the cheap TP that the family otherwise complains about.) ($9.99 for 12 mega rolls of generic TP.)
The best games are those the kids already know and love. Just add a tiny Halloween twist to make them special without spending very much.

TO-DIE-FOR DECORATIONS

Sure you can go to a big box store and buy any decoration you could dream of, but that can add up. And your Pinterest board might be blowing up with crafty creations, but some of us, are, well, less than hot with a glue gun.

Never fear. With some creativity and the tiniest bit of artistic talent, you can trick out your house for less with these four wickedly easy ideas:

  • Pumpkin power: We love the look of little pumpkins in a big hurricane vase. (Plus, you can add a few fall leaves and repurpose it for Thanksgiving.) ($8.99 for a big bag of mini pumpkins; $9.99 for a good-sized hurricane.)
  • Floating friends: Blow up white balloons, draw a friendly or scary face with permanent marker, and you have a gaggle of ghosts. ($1.59 for a 10-count pack of white balloons.)
  • Pumpkin planters: Buy flower pots in different sizes at a craft store, paint them orange, turn them upside down and paint (or draw with permanent marker) a pumpkin face on them. Even the littlest pumpkins can help with these. ($0.49 to $3.69 per pot depending on size; 0.79 for a 2-oz bottle of craft paint.)
  • Haunted house: Haven’t cleaned in a while? Those cobwebs on your ceiling and light fixtures are now…decorations. (Just kidding…sort of.) But any house looks a little spooky when you dim the lights (or swap out regular bulbs for green-hued ones) and light candles. Instant mood lighting. ($4.99 for each green CFL lightbulb; $10.99 for a dozen glass votive holders and candles.)

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