Few things are scarier than your Visa bill after a holiday spending spree.
But getting your ghoul on for Halloween doesn't need to cost an arm and a leg, even though you could recycle those severed body parts in a macabre display.
A few years ago I did a story on Halloween party mavens Ron Farner and George Nier, who offered these budget-friendly tips for turning your home into a haunt:
The ink from highlighters will add glow-in-the-dark color to the water in bubbling cauldrons, laboratory beakers and other Halloween decorations. Just use pliers to pull the ink-soaked felt pad out of the highlighter and toss it into the liquid. The color won't stain the container.
Cut cheesecloth into narrow strips, about a half-inch wide and a foot or two long, and tie them to a chandelier so the strips hang down like spider webs. Aiming a fan at the chandelier makes the effect even creepier.
Use colorless glow-in-the-dark spray to give accessories a ghostly glow under a black light, or highlight features like teeth or gravestone markings with colored fluorescent paint. Look for the products in craft stores.
Drape furniture in white sheets for that no-longer-lived-in look. They'll save your furniture from ghastly stains, as well. Shop thrift and dollar stores, linen outlets and other sources for inexpensive sheets.
Want more tips for decorating on the cheap? Check out these ideas from the DIY Network.