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Creating a Spooktacular Halloween for your Family

(ARA) – Halloween is a time for crazy costumes, ghost stories, sugar-buzzed kids and all things that go bump in the night.

While the average American is expected to spend over $70 on Halloween this year, you don’t have to break the bank to have a spooktacularly fun holiday. Here are a few tips to help you create a festive Halloween without sending a chill down your spine.

Quick and Easy Costumes
While purchasing a costume may be the easiest solution, it can be expensive. Instead, consider making a one-of-a kind costume. All it takes is a little creativity and items likely found around your home.

With a few supplies, a little prep-time and some imagination, paint and scissors can transform a simple box into a robot, a racecar or a kissing-booth. Or, scan your closet for inspiration; a fortune teller, Greek goddess or private detective costume may be lurking amongst the treasures and accessories in your closet.

For hair-raising fun, the folks at Jack Link’s Beef Jerky have made it easy for fans of their iconic “Messin’ With Sasquatch” commercials to create a costume of the elusive Sasquatch. Check out JackLinks.com to download a free, printable Sasquatch mask, iron-on T-shirt transfer, and other fun tips to make an inexpensive, yet ferociously fun Halloween costume this year.

Don’t be Tricked by your Treats
Between the candy corn, candied apples and popcorn balls, finding a healthier Halloween treat can be a spooky experience for parents. Don’t be tricked; a “fun” sized mini chocolate bar can pack 60 to 80 calories and it’s loaded with sugar.

To avoid a holiday candy coma, choose non-sugary, protein-rich snacks such as roasted pumpkin seeds, low-calorie beef or turkey jerky or fun-to-eat string cheese. In fact, after carving your Halloween pumpkin, roasting the pumpkin seeds is a fun activity to share with your family.

The Great Pumpkin
Nothing conjures up memories of Halloweens past like carving jack o’ lanterns. This year, test your pumpkin carving skills with a family friendly “carve-off” competition. Choose prizes that will engage the whole family such as a “winner’s choice” family movie night or movie passes to a local theater.

“Everyone likes pumpkins, and carving jack o’ lanterns is a great way to bring people together,” says children’s book author and avid pumpkin and woodblock carver Betsy Bowen. “Youngsters, oldsters and in-betweens can all be creative with a pumpkin.”

If you’re a pumpkin-carving novice, it’s easy to get started. Select a nicely shaped, firm pumpkin and cover your work surface with newspaper. Gather all of the necessary carving tools, such as spoons, toothpicks for marking your pattern and a small carving knife or saw. Get creative and sketch out a unique design, or use a stencil or pattern as your guide. You can download a variety of free patterns online, suitable for all skill levels, including a Sasquatch stencil at JackLinks.com. If you’re not comfortable carving your pumpkin, try painting it instead.

After carving, light each pumpkin by placing a candle, battery-operated tea-light, or glow stick, inside. There is a certain magic in the air when pumpkins are aglow.

For more information on the Jack Link’s Beef Jerky Sasquatch o’ Lantern or Sasquatch costume, visit JackLinks.com/Growloween. For more information on Betsy Bowen, visit Woodcut.com.