While I was shopping recently I was amazed at all the wonderful Halloween goods you can buy, from a spooky torch to spider decorated paper plates.
My heart leapt slightly. I love Halloween and we usually have a party. It seems it's big business these days and there are some tempting things to buy.
Then my head overruled and declared that all the spooky accessories weren't necessary and I reluctantly turned away from the stand.
You can still have a fun Halloween party without spending (and wasting) money and resources.
Here are my top tips...Decorations: I don't go overboard. We do have a lit pumpkin on the porch roof as a kind of beacon to the village children declaring YES, COME AND SCARE US AND WE'LL GIVE YOU SWEETS! I don't decorate the house inside. A nice cloth on the table and candlelight creates the right atmosphere for tea.
Food: Ah, this is where your imagination can run riot. We make a cake and decorate it appropriately, give silly names to drinks (dragon's blood was a hit) and have delicacies like witches' fingers -- chipolatas with a slit an inch from the top for the nails which are slivers of almonds. Perfect.
Costumes: This is probably where I do spend some money as I am hopeless at sewing, although they do get reused and updated with stripey tights and a new witches hat for the girls and a scary mask for the boys.
Pass the brains: This is a cool game much like pass the parcel but involving a large pan of cooked spaghetti and red and green jelly. Amongst the "brains" are hidden, wrapped chocolates that the children have to fish out when the music stops.
Scabby faces: Sweets are placed in a plate of jam which the children have to fish out with their teeth followed by searching for more in a plate of cornflakes or crispies, resulting in said scabby faces.
Doughnut bobbing: These are hung from my ironing board usually (which has a holey base) and the children have to eat them without licking their lips. They also do traditional apple bobbing in a washing up bowl of water.
Mummy wrapping: Literally. Also involves quite a few rolls of cheap loo roll which is easy to recycle (or rewind if you're desperate).
Feely boxes: This is my favourite. Peeled grapes (witches' eyeballs), slimy banana skin (warlock's tongue), raisins (goblins' bogies) and a dried apricot (wizard's ear) are placed individually in a sealed shoe box with a hole or a cereal box and passed around to great squeals, even though we do this game every year.
Tea follows the games and trick or treating follows them. We go to a select few houses who we know will be expecting us. One is the home of very cool grandparents who each year put on a special spooky 'show' when they open the door.
We've also started handing out home-made fairy cakes because, I think, I feel uncomfortable with the whole trick or treating business.
Whatever you do this Halloween, have a fab time.