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Frugal Halloween party fun!

Jodie Lynn is an award-winning internationally syndicated family/health columnist and radio personality. Parent to Parent ParentToParent.com/a is now going into its tenth year and appears in newspapers, magazines, newsletters and through...

Halloween party

Here are a few great frugal party ideas and Halloween recipes to keep the spirit of Halloween alive.

Baking caramel corn

Thoughts of Halloween often conjure haunting visions of buckets of candy, trays of caramel apples and oodles of other sugary snacks.

Although it's only once a year, the aftermath of Halloween can linger for weeks as your child's stash of candy whittles away. But why torture yourself? Why not make Halloween a fun holiday with easy to use low-cost yummy ingredients? These creative, money-saving ideas to get everyone in the mood!

Parents, always supervise any cooking activities with your children. Enjoy these recipes but keep age appropriateness in mind when allowing your child to eat and/or to create certain foods. For your information: While everyone should eat healthfully 90 percent of the time, there is a time to let loose very occasionally. While everything listed below is not 100 percent healthy -- everyone needs to splurge 10 percent of the time and this goes for kids too. Have fun and always monitor small children, ESPECIALLY ages 10 months to 3 years, when preparing, cooking and/or eating certain types of food.

Halloween treats

Spiders
Ingredients:
1 (12 oz.) pkg. chocolate chips
1 medium can of chow mien noodles. Use only the amount you need and freeze the rest.
1 pkg. M & M candy
If needed, add 2 to 4 tablespoons water, to thin chocolate.

Directions:
1. Melt chocolate in microwave.

2. Stir in noodles. Drop by spoonful onto waxed paper.

3. Add two M & M's for the spider eyes.

Slush Drink
Ingredients:
1 pkg. lime gelatin
1 cup sugar
4 cans or more (up to 2 quarts) 7-Up
4 cups boiling water
3 cups pineapple juice
1 glass bottle of cherries (just add a few cherries -- not the whole bottle)

Directions:
1. Mix all ingredients together except 7-Up.

2. Place in container with a lid. Freeze four to five hours. Remove from freezer when mixture is slushy.

3. Fill glasses one-half full of slush. Fill remainder of glass with 7-Up. Or, add the 4 cans for a larger serving size for a party treat in a glass punch bowl or pitcher.

4. Throw cherries in for added spooky effect.

Popcorn Treats
Ingredients:
1/2 cup candy corn
Vegetable cooking spray
4 cup miniature marshmallows (use the colored ones for cool colors)
8 cups popped corn (use the kind without butter)

Directions:
1. Lightly coat 13 x 9 glass or metal pan in cooking spray.

2. Cut each piece of candy corn in half lengthwise.

3. In double boiler on low heat, or microwave, melt marshmallows, stirring constantly.

4. Remove from heat. Add popcorn and stir to coat evenly. Slowly add candy corn and stir.

5. Using wax paper, press mixture evenly into pan, let cool about one hour. Cut into 24 squares.

Black Kitty Kats
Ingredients:
1 cup crunchy peanut butter
1/3 cup water
2 eggs
1 chocolate cake mix (you're on your own with this one -- I make it from scratch with wheat flour)
M & M's (plain -- or peanut if you choose to use plain peanut butter)
Red hots
1 small jar or can of coconut pieces (choose the coconut or the candy pieces below as one or the other for kitty whiskers)
1 small jar or can of orange cake decorating candy pieces

Directions:
1. Beat together peanut butter, eggs and water. Gradually add cake mix. Mix well.

2. Roll and form cookie dough into 1-inch balls. Place on ungreased cookie sheet.

3. Flatten balls with bottom of glass dipped in sugar -- a jelly jar will suffice.

4. Pinch out two ears at top of cookie. Add M & M's (eyes) and red hots (nose). Press fork into dough to form whiskers and fill with coconut pieces or cake decorating candy pieces after they come out of the oven.

5. Bake at 375 degrees for eight to 10 minutes. It should make 4 1/2 dozen.

Face Paint
Ingredients:
1 tsp. cornstarch
1/2 tsp. water
1/2 tsp. cold cream
2 drops food coloring

Directions:
In a small mixing bowl, combine all ingredients, mix well. Place in fridge for two hours and apply to dry face. Let set at least 20 minutes before going outdoors.

Chocolate Halloween Eyeballs
Ingredients:
1 pkg. seedless grapes
1 to 2 cups of chocolate chips
1 pkg. red hots wax paper different colored toothpicks

Directions:
1. Wash seedless grapes and drain. Spread out onto paper towel and pat dry. Transfer onto wax paper.

2. Melt chocolate chips and cool slightly. Poor onto room-temperature grapes and/or dip into chocolate mix.

3. Within one minute, stick a red hot into the middle of a chocolate covered grape. For better eyeball affects, make a circle around the red hot with vanilla frosting.

4. Insert toothpicks into the side of the treat. Eat right afterward or share chilled eyeballs with friends and family.

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