Halloween decor for less

RITTENHOUSE SQUARE - October 20, 2008

But Matthew Mead, author of "Halloween Tricks and Treats," says, with a little imagination, you can get into the Halloween spirit without putting a scare into your bank account.

Mead says he gets a lot of ideas when he goes to the grocery store and looks at everyday objects. Then he "re-imagines" them.

He shared some of his money-saving ideas with us at the Barnes and Noble on Rittenhouse Square.

For example, he made ghost decorations out of cupcake liners with stick-on eyes. They cost just pennies apiece and can be hung from doorways or light fixtures.

And he used carrots with black-eyed peas as eyes to look like spooky taper candles.

On Mead's website, Matthew Mead Style, you can download patterns for everything from little masks to turn hard-boiled eggs into witches, to wrappers for Sugar Daddies, to patterns for treat boxes.

Print them out, tape them up, and fill them with bulk candy -- which costs less than individually wrapped sweets.

He also suggests checking the attic and closets before heading to the costume store. He says great costumes can be made from old clothes, hats, even even sheets.

To save time, Mead suggests decorating store-bought cookies with icing and jimmies. He says that gives you the fun, family activity of cookie-decorating, without the time-consuming chore of baking.

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