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Celebrating Halloween on a Shoestring

Holidays are about fun, sharing time with family and friends, and creating memories for the future. Holidays may also be a time of added expense to what may be an already tight budget. Having limited resources for entertaining and sharing doesn't have to mean you miss out on the fun of Halloween. With some imagination, your Halloween experience can turn into an annual tradition.

.   Invite several couples to your home for a Halloween "costume" party. Each couple can bring food or beverage item to share. Instruct each couple to come to the party impersonating some great figure in history. There are no actual costumes allowed. Each couple must act out the role of the person or persons they are impersonating without costumes or props of any kind. The other couples must guess the identity of the character being portrayed. Nominal prizes can be awarded for the best impersonation and to the couple most successful in guessing.

.   Take your show on the road. Enlist the help of a few friends. Cover your faces with a simple, inexpensive mask or a floppy hat and head on over to the local children's hospital or senior citizen's facility. Pass out treats and spend some time chatting with the residents. Spending time with folks who can't enjoy the holidays without restrictions is heartwarming and enriching.

.   Halloween is a good excuse to organize a cookie exchange with friends or co-workers. Have a dozen or so friends whip up a batch of their favorite cookie recipe, making enough to share with everyone. Get together over coffee and cookies to share your bounty. Each baker gets a dozen cookies from each of the other bakers while exchanging a dozen of their own in return. Freeze your cookies for a head start on the rapidly approaching holiday season. You'll enjoy the Halloween event as a precursor to the even bigger holiday events to come.

.   When it comes to children's Halloween events, remember that you don't have to spend extravagant amounts of money to make kids happy. Gather a group of your favorite kids together along with a parent and have an afternoon party. Let the children make Halloween masks out of construction paper, crayons or paints. A few games and a fashion show with the newly designed masks will offer all the entertainment needed. Provide healthy snacks and special holiday treats. This might coincide nicely with the cookie exchange group for parents with young children.

Halloween is a holiday celebrated in many different ways depending on where you live and community accessibility.  And it's not just a holiday for children. There's no need to be limited to the standard traditions of buying expensive costumes and going door to door in search of candy or passing out treats to everyone who knocks on your door. With a little imagination, this holiday can fun and memorable for everyone, regardless of age.


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