I love Halloween and Dia de los Muertos, but I’m not the best planner. After 7 years of throwing together Halloween parties last minute, I have down what you can do in the days before the holiday that will make it fun and not too stressful.
The key is to do the Do-It-Yourself part in a simpler way. You can still make your own costume, but you may have to buy key parts of it. The same goes for the food. You can bake cookies fresh from the oven, but part of it’s from a box. Or vegetable chili with butternut squash and black beans that tastes amazing, but features precut vegetables and canned beans. You’re doing it yourself while making it much easier on yourself.
Easy gluten-free pumpkin cookies … 1 of 7
These gluten-free pumpkin cookies are easy and impressive. They were made with a cookie mix without chocolate chips, but the original recipe calls for chocolate chip cookie mix, canned pumpkin, butter, cinnamon and an egg. Adults and kids will love them.
Throw everything in a pot… 2 of 7
This healthy and delicious butternut squash chili hits the spot right before an evening of watching your kids go door to door asking for free sugar. It takes a few minutes to put together and a few hours in the slow cooker or less time on the stove top.
Hit the sale bins for supplies and decorations… 3 of 7
If you wait until the last minute, a lot of Halloween merchandize is on sale to make way for Thanksgiving and Christmas. A lot may be gone, but there are some great deals to be had. We got a witches hat (which we will try to make into a Gandalf hat for my son's Lord of the Rings costume) for $1 at Target and Halloween cookie cutters at Michael's for 99 cents.
Superhero costume for Mom … 4 of 7
The kids are thinking about their costumes for months, but that's likely not the case for you. A superhero costume Cat Woman, Bat Girl, Black Widow can be as easy as yoga pants, black boots, and a belt. Last year, I was Black Widow and my boys were Iron Man and Captain America. I wore all black and used red hair spray. It took 5 minutes and was very comfortable. You can buy a tail for Cat woman or print an iron on Bat logo from the internet for the other super heroes.
Make an altar … 5 of 7
I was given the wood altar in this picture that I then decorated with glitter and a picture of the Virgen de Guadalupe. I thought about trying to make a couple more myself for a Dia de los Muertos project I'm doing for my boys' classes at school, but realized that even if I had months I probably couldn't make it out of wood myself. Then I decided to go the more manageable route and make them out of cardboard. Actually, I went the really easy route and asked my husband to do it. He did an excellent job. A little paint and some glue and they'll be ready to go. I'll also be making sugar skulls for the kids to paint.
Make a few gravestones … 6 of 7
This takes a little more time, but I had to include them. My husband made these using plywood and a router. My boys helped carve out the words and paint the three gravestones in front. We put them on the lawn along with Styrofoam gravestones in the back from Party City. They can also be made the night before with cardboard and paint.
String up a few spider webs… 7 of 7
This took about 10 minutes and cost around $5 (again, the dollar bin at Target), but it adds a nice spooky touch to our porch.
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