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Cheryl's Sensible Cents Newsletter - 10/01/2005 Budget Friendly Halloween Costume Ideas
October 01, 2005

Did You Know?....

- There is a Transylvania County in North Carolina.

- In 2003, Illinois led pumpkin production with a production of 326 mil-lion pounds. There also were a whole lot of pumpkin patches in California, Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania and New York. Each produced at least 70 mil-lion pounds of pumpkins. The value of all the pumpkins produced by these states was $81 mil-lion. observing you, children learn how to create and they learn craft. These powerful memories imprint a more important message. They come to understand the superiority of the creative tightwad method. - Amy Dacyczyn, a.k.a. The Frugal Zealot

Featured Article:

Budget Friendly Halloween Costumes - by Cheryl Johnson

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In this issue:

Harvest Bake Apples
Pumpkin-Oatmeal Cookies

Harvest Baked Apples

8 medium baking apples
1/2 cup apple or orange juice
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
1/4 cup raisins
1/4 cup chopped pecans, toasted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Remove cores from apples to within 1/2 in. of bottoms, pierce the skins with sharp knife. Place apples in shallow baking dish. Combine juice, sugar and cinnamon: pour over apples.Bake 30-35 min. or until tender, basting occasionally w/juice mixture. Remove apples from oven. Combine cheese, raisins and pecans, spoon evenly into centers of apples. Let stand 1 minute.

- From Kraft's Food and Family Magazine. Get your free subscription and other great recipes at


*Make ahead to allow for cooling.
1 (6 oz) package butterscotch morsels
1 (5 oz) can chow mein noodles
3/4 cup peanuts

In medium mixing bowl, heat the butterscotch morsels in microwave oven on Low for 2 minutes, until melted. Heat again for 30 seconds if needed. Remove from microwave and stir. Add the chow mein noodles and the peanuts and mix wellDrop by teaspoonfuls onto a sheet of waxed paper and let cool for 1 hour. Peel from the paper and store in an airtight container.

Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies

2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup quick cooking oats
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, at room temp
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 cup sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 teasppoon vanilla extract
1 cup canned pumpkin
1 cup chocolate chips
Candy corn and raisins for decoration
1/2 cup Vanilla Icing (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly spray some baking sheets with cooking spray.
2. In a mixing bowl, stir the flour, oats, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt.
3. In a medium mixing bowl, with a hand held electric mixer set on medium, cream the butter for 1 minute. Gradually add the two sugars and continue to beat until light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla and beat for 1 minute. Add half the flour mixture and beat 2 minutes. Add half the canned pumpkin and beat for 1 minute. Add the remaining flour mixture and remaining pumpkin and beat well. Stir in the chocolate chips.
4. For each cookie, scoop 1/4 cup of dough onto the prepared baking sheet. Spread into a pumpkin shape with a spatula or fingers. Add a bit more dough to form a stem. Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden brown. With a spatula, remove cookies to rack to cool.
5. When cooled, decorate with raisins or candy corn by gluing these on with icing if desired.

From The Kids' Holiday Baking Book

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Money Saving Tips:

  • Visit our new Energy Conservation Tips section to help lower electric, gas, or water bills.
  • If you're still paying your insurance bills by the month, check to see if your insurance company offers reduced fees for automatic payments. Most charge up to $3 per month service fee for the pay by the month service. Many will reduce this to as little as $1 per month if you enroll in their automatic payment program.
  • Cleaning Tips

  • If you have an electric stove, cover burner pans with foil to catch drips and spills. This makes keeping them clean easier. Just remove foil when soiled and replace with clean foil. Don't throw away gently used foil. Save it for just this purpose. Great use for recycled foil.
  • Use a soft paintbrush to dust small knick knacks. It will easily pull dust out of small crevices that dust rags and dusters miss.
  • Recycling

  • Plastic milk jugs - cut shape as desired to make Halloween masks. i.e. make just an eye mask or make a whole face mask. Line the outside with some sort of tape (masking, craft tape, duct) to soften edges. Decorate accordingly to suit your costume using fabric, paints, ribbon, etc. Punch holes in apropriate area to attach elastic band or use a paper clip. Insert paper clip (or you can use key chain rings) into punched hole on mask - one on each side. Attach appropriate sized rubberband (to fit head) between the two clips and you have an elastic band!
  • Large stuffed toys - remove stuffing and launder remaining fabric shell. Use fabric for animal costumes. Sometimes the head can be used as hood w/ears or adapt the entire head to create a safe mask. Cut holes for eyes (vision should not be restricted) cut mouth for breathing.
  • Use sections of panty hose as hair net under wigs or full head masks. Keeps the hair under control and out of the way.


    Budget Friendly Halloween Costumes

    Halloween costumes are so different today. Super heroes, wizards, and cartoon characters rule the trick or treat. It was not too long ago.....ok it was maybe a while ago......when I was a small trick or treater that costumes were much more original. You were not likely to bump into three or four other characters that looked exactly like you.

    Oh, you might run into a costume of the same theme, but it would be totally unique by comparison. Of course my mom created our Halloween costumes. You can create unique Halloween costumes and save money by recycling items.

    Create your own unique costumes. Remember that Halloween costumes exaggerate to be most effective. So the more accessories, the better. Some easy to make costumes using items around the house, borrowed from friends and/or relatives, or purchased for next to nothing at your local thrift store include:

  • The little old lady or man - dress accordingly in an older man's (a suit is great) or woman's clothing. A hat is a nice touch. If you don't have a real walking cane you can substitute an appropriate size stick. Add some creative face painting with lots of wrinkles of course. Be sure to add the cracking voice and a prominent limp.
  • The Hobo - Recycle some unwanted clothing. Paint on or put on patches, rip some areas (especially around the bottoms of pants, ends of sleeves, elbows and knees, since these areas show wear first). Use black or brown makeup to smudge the face a little to look un-kept. Blush the nose to look a little reddish. (hobos get cold outside) Sport the oldest pair of worn looking shoes you can find (or even better, two different shoes) and a tattered hat and you're good to go!
  • Princess - This is a timeless costume. I think every little girl wants to be a princess at least once. But don't rush out and buy the frilliest costume you see. The princess is merely an expression of elegance. As long as your little girl feels elegant she is a princess.

    If you don't already have a full length fancy party dress, check the thrift store for a low cost floor length party dress. Just pick one that looks "princessy." Even better, borrow one if possible.

    A princess wand can be easily made with a dowel or stick and a cardboard star covered with foil. Add frills with duster feathers or ribbons if desired. Make a crown. You can easily make one using a headband and craft materials.

    Here's a great tip: Recycle a Burger King Crown. You know the crowns they give out to all the little kiddies at Burger King. You can cover with foil or paint and add beads or gemstones to decorate. They also make a great pattern for a crown if you want to create it out of some other material you have.

  • Animals: For toddlers: Use one piece pajamas as a starting point. An extra bonus: the pajamas are warm clothing for what is typically a cool weather night in many areas. For example.. a fuzzy white, brown, black, or even pink footed pajama can easily become a kitten, rabbit, or dog. Add a home made tail using scrap fabrics (attach with safety pin), a headband with the appropriate ears attached, or if you use a hooded outfit attach ears directly to hood, some creative face painting using home made face paint (below), and you've got a cute little costume that can be used as a comfy outfit after trick or treat!

    For older children use tights or stretch pants, and turtleneck shirts, sweaters, hooded sweatshirts all in the desired color instead of the pajamas. Use desired color of mittens or gloves for paws. Bats, lions, tigers, even a skunk can be created in much the same way as the above animals!

  • The Big Baby: This is an amusing costume for an older child. Return to the diaper zone! A bottle or pacifier, a bib, a homemade cloth diaper (over tights or pants of course), and a rattle. Add some rosy cheeks and your youngster will be ready to laugh (or cry) his/her way through trick or treat.
  • The Witch - A witch hat and any black cape can be added to a long black dress or all black pants outfit with black boots to create a great witch costume. The hat and cape can be recycled year after year to be used for other costumes. A black cape is easy to make even for the novice seamstress. Try making one yourself.
  • These are all good ideas and I'm sure you get the picture by now. The idea is to use as many items as you have on hand to create these timeless Halloween costumes. The possibilities are limited only by your imagination.

    Don't let that little girl cry because you can't find her the purrrrrrrrrrr-fect cat costume. You can create a much nicer one from everyday items and a few craft materials. Chances are it will look more realistic than that store bought costume.

    As a bonus, many of the costume pieces (i.e. shirts, pants, tights, gloves/mittens) are reusable after Halloween!

    Visit our new Halloween Costume Ideas section. We have added more great costume ideas and will be adding to the tips and tricks here throughout October!

    A few other Halloween tips:

  • Use spray paints or craft paints. fabric dye, fabric paints and/or pens, to color recycled items to desired color. One year I used silver spray paint to color and entire outfit for my son's tin man costume. We recycled aluminum foil to use in making the hat and the axe. Some silver body glitter on the hands and face put the finishing touches on this costume!
  • Use regular clothing to create an all-over color effect as with the animal costumes.
  • consider mittens or gloves when you need hand color
  • A gallon ice cream bucket w/handle makes a perfect trick or treat bucket. I save these throughout the year and recycle for hundreds of other uses. Use neon paint or stickers to add bright decorations. This is a good safety technique to make kids more visible while trick or treating
  • Make your own face paint: You will need Corn starch, Water, Cold cream, and Food coloring.

    Use several different cups (custard cups, recycled single serve yogurt or Jell-O containers, a foam egg carton) Prepare 1 tsp cornstarch, 1/2 teaspoon each of cold cream and water. Mix different color food coloring in each cup for desired colors

    Make your own cream make up:
    2 tsp white shortening
    5 tsp corn starch
    1 tsp white all purpose flour
    glycerin (get at drug store)
    Food coloring as desired

    To make enough for one child's face - Use a rubber spatula, blend the first three ingredients until a smooth paste forms. Add 3/4 drops glycerin for a creamier consistency. Add coloring if desired one drop at a time blending after each drop until you have the desired shade. For easy removal use shortening, cold cream or baby oil.

    Remember your Halloween safety. Here are a few, but certainly not all inclusive, reminders of safe trick or treat rules.

    1. Small children should always be accompanied by an adult.
    2. Use flashlights, bright costumes or decorations to make trick or treaters more visible.
    3. Try to frequent the same limited area each year or limit visits to friends and families.
    4. Remind children not to eat candy until they get home and have moms and dads check and approve.
    5. A safe costume should not block or restrict a child's vision or interfere with mobility. Make sure costumes are of a safe length so as not to trip the child.

    Have a safe and Happy Halloween!

    Recommended Reading

    Tiny Teeny Halloween Treasury
    A great bargain at only $1.99 at Book Closeouts
    About: In Mary Engelbreit's Tiny Teeny Halloweeny Treasury, Mary gathers all of her best Halloween art, a few scary (but not too scary) stories, some facts about the holiday itself, and some delicious recipes to create a wonderful keepsake book that can be brought out every Halloween! Inside the pages of this treasury, you'll learn the origin of Halloween, some pumpkin facts and a few silly jokes. Inside the front cover you'll find glow-in-the-dark endsheets - just expose the black pages to light then go into a dark room and watch as little ghosts begin to glow!

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