Halloween Decorating Shortcuts
For a fondue Halloween dinner party, cut a hole in the top of a pumpkin just large enough to hold the rim of a small bowl; fill the fondue pot with melted chocolate and serve with cubes of pound cake.
Make your own jack-o'-lantern and be the envy of every DIY-er on the block. Log onto pumpkinglow.com for a range of totally un-Halloween designs (like Mona Lisa's face or a koala bear). Choose your fave and download a free PDF of a stencil pattern.
Instead of predictable jack-o-lanterns, etch your house numbers into the rind and insert battery-operated bulbs. You can keep using them past Halloween, as long as the pumpkins stay fresh.
To create spooky luminaries, cut a few inches off the top of a paper lunch bag and lightly draw the letters B-O-O near the top. Fold one side of the bag in and crease lightly through the middle of the letters. Punch holes through both layers of paper along the letter bottoms (make holes close together but not touching). Pull the folded side up to reveal "BOO." Fill the bag with sand and a candle.
Treat your trick-or-treaters with a handmade candy bowl: Carve two holes on opposite sides and paint designs on the rind. Fill the pumpkin with candy, thread rope through the holes and hang.
Add ghoulish mood lighting to your dinner table for a Halloween dinner party. Tape lights under a glass table and cover with sheer fabric to diffuse the light. Then, top the table with your favorite Halloween centerpiece.
Carve ventilation holes through the rind or a pumpkin, rub the interior with ground cinnamon and place a tea light inside.
BEAN THERE CENTERPIECE
As long as you're stocking up on staples for your Halloween party, pick up an extra bag of lentils for this easy centerpiece. Designer Mark Brunetz -- who helps bring order to homes on The Style Network show Clean House -- grabs some juice glasses and orange votive candles and ties it all together with raffia from the craft store.
Make fun gravestones out of cardboard or foam core (available at arts and crafts stores). Then, place the spooky signs in the yard or on the front lawn.
Turn fall gourds into "stone" using this quick trick: Mix sand or dirt into off-white paint, coat each gourd from base to stem, then dry overnight. Use any mix of pumpkins, acorn squash and gourds and place on the table as a centerpiece, or outside near your front door.