Nothing says Halloween like a huge carved pumpkin. Put a tea light candle inside for a striking centrepiece. You can also use a hollowed-out pumpkin to serve soup or ice cream.
With a bit of imagination and not too much money, you can create a brilliant Halloween feel. Here are some ideas: brooms (buy small ones from the side of the road), cauldrons (black, three- legged pots), plastic spiders, insects, snakes and fake spider webs. Use black cardboard to cut out cats and bats.
Choose a large, plain glass jar. Half fill it with a pale coloured jelly and allow to set. Drop in a plastic eyeball (you should be able to find one at your local toy store). Fill up with more jelly.
To make one cup of blood, use one cup of glycerine and a few drops of red food colouring. Mix together in a small bowl. Adding a small amount of milk will make the blood appear darker and thicker. Use sparingly!
Make it glow
Give an eerie glow to your table setting by hiding plastic, non-toxic glow sticks (available from toy shops) under the edges of platters.
Print out scary road signs
Place the signs around your garden or create a scary trail with spiderwebs in the trees that kids can "accidentally" walk into. A tape of scary night sounds (owls' hooting, witches' cackle, monster noises) will add to the atmosphere.
Dressing up is a key part of the Halloween fun. Here are some ideas:
- A cape is simple to make and can be adapted for Dracula, a witch or various other characters. You'll need about one meter of plain coloured cotton fabric cut into a square. Fold the square of fabric in half lengthwise, then crosswise. Pin the layers together. Measure around the base of the neck and make an arc on the fabric for the neck opening that's big enough for a head to fit through. Cut along the arc to make the hole for the cape.
- A witch's hat is cheap to buy or easy to make from a roll of black cardboard.
- A mummy is easy to create out of loo paper or crepe bandages.
- Creepy hair looks stunning and is very easy to achieve. Start off with loads and loads of gel. Spike up the hair and let it dry. Cover with spray-on hair colour and when it's all dry, affix your decorations - plastic spiders, insects and so on - using eyelash glue.