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Tuesday, October 20, 2009

More thrifty Halloween tips


Fall is here, the temperature has dropped, and we find our food tastes change from the high water fruits and vegetables of summer to the heartier and heavier foods of winter. It’s a natural food progression, but it doesn’t mean you have to spend a lot more. It just means that you need to be a bit creative with your food offerings.

Want to know one of my favorite fall secrets for feeding lunch to a large group of hungry kids for just a few dollars? Broiled open-faced cheese sandwiches.

On slices of hearty bread, place a thin layer of a good cheddar cheese. Top with a thin slice of tomato and one slice of bacon.

Broil until the bacon is cooked. (If kids make these, remind them to not leave the kitchen, the broiling does not take long.)

Figure on two slices per person.

My kids love these tasty sandwiches, which are so easy that they often make them after school for snacks. These open-faced sandwiches are much easier, healthier and thriftier than their store-bought, processed cousins – Hot Pockets.

More Halloween thrifty ideas

With regard to thrifty Halloween costumes, Lynn Lippett, of Milford, told me about how her neighbor dressed her child in black and then used fluorescent tape to make him look like a skeleton. What a thrifty and safe idea. Lippett further suggested that orange or red tissue paper can be taped onto kids flashlights in the shape of a cone or flame to help them be seen better by cars.

As a way to keep down on costs, as well as sugar, instead of candy, the Lippetts often give out little toys at Halloween. She gets them from Oriental Trading and will throw in those unopened toys that come in kid meals at fast-food restaurants. The kids have fun choosing a toy, and the neighborhood kids always look forward to it.

Gina Rosati, of Merrimack, has the following tips for a thrifty Halloween:

n If you can’t find any cool costumes in the depths of your closets, check out the selection at thrift or consignment stores.

n Go to your local library, and look through past October issues of Family Fun and other parenting magazines. There are tons of ideas for costumes and parties.

n Be considerate of the pocketbooks of others. Don’t give out taffy or other sticky candies that will cause big dental bills.

n Save those pumpkin seeds and roast them. They’re very good for you – and a good source of zinc!

n A little ambience goes a long way. Rather than spend a fortune on Halloween decorations that take up a ton of space to store for the rest of the year, buy a Halloween CD or search for Halloween music on iTunes and play scary music for the little boys and ghouls

n Do not try to save money by turning out your porch light and pretending you’re not home. If you anger the little tricksters and they egg your house, power washing costs a fortune!

Send your money-saving tips and ideas to Wendy Thomas at wendy@simple She also writes at