A guide to carving pumpkins! By Dinah Wolf

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A Quick Guide to Carving and Decorating Jack O’ Lanterns

As summer comes to an end, the signs of fall gradually take over: changing leaves, chilly temperatures, football flags proudly waving on your neighbors’ front porches or at a tailgate party. Every coffee shop and bakery has the distinct aromas of pumpkin-flavored coffees and pastries. Pumpkin patches pop up in every city, and Jack O’ Lanterns start popping up in store windows and lining the front steps of every home. Pumpkins are everywhere this time of year. We carve them, eat them, and wear them as costumes. We line our mantels with them, turn them into table centerpieces, and bake cookies, cakes, and pies with them. For many, pumpkins symbolize family and tradition during this time of year.

History of Jack O’ Lanterns

But why do we go crazy over this iconic fruit, and where does the pumpkin-carving tradition come from? Jack O’Lanterns were originally carved out of turnips and potatoes. While Jack O’Lanterns’ location of origin is uncertain, pumpkins are native to North America, and carving and lighting them gained popularity after Irish and Scottish immigrants arrived in the United States in the mid-1800s. Pumpkins are harvested in October, just in time for Halloween and Thanksgiving. It was once a common belief that carving scary and grotesque faces in pumpkins and placing them in front of your home would ward off evil spirits (or pranksters) on Halloween.

Several different folklore urban legends are associated with the Jack O’Lanterns. One common legend with many different versions is that of Stingy Jack. Stingy Jack was a manipulative drunk who tricked the devil more than once with his devious ways. When Stingy Jack died and arrived in heaven at the Gate of Saint Peter, God would not allow him to pass, and he was forced to roam the earth, never to find a resting place, with only a small light inside a turnip to light his way for all eternity.

Over the years, pumpkin carving has become more popular. By the 1920s, pumpkins were widely embraced in the United States as part of Halloween and Thanksgiving traditions. Since then, it has turned into a multimillion dollar industry with pumpkin patches, Halloween decorations and costumes, and carving tools featuring on millions of shopping lists.

Basic Carving Tips and Tricks

Choose the right pumpkin. A large pumpkin with a sturdy stem and a flat base is ideal. Large pumpkins are easier to handle and carve, and a sturdy stem is a sign of a healthy pumpkin that will last longer. Be sure to examine your pumpkin from top to bottom, and avoid ones with soft spots and bruises.

Use the right tools. These days, many great tools for both kids and adults are available in retail stores. A boning knife or serrated knife works well for carving, an ice cream scoop works well for removing the pumpkin seeds, and a scraper cleans the inside walls nicely. For kids, you may want to purchase a carving tool set especially designed for them.

Cut the lid. First, create a lid by cutting at a 45-degree angle so it does not fall into the pumpkin when you place it back on top. I like to cut the lid in a zig zag shape. Another option is to cut off the back or bottom. The choice is based on what you want and the look you want to achieve for your pumpkin.

Scoop the goop. Remove all the seeds and pulp with an ice cream scooper. Place them aside and roast them later for a healthy snack! Once the seeds are removed, scrape the walls with a scraper. If you carve a pattern in the front, try to scrape the back of the pumpkin as smoothly as possible because it will be visible through your carved design and will reflect the light.

Draw and carve. Draw the face or trace a template for your desired design. Your design can be scary, grotesque, or funny. Consider using a dry erase marker so you can easily wipe off mistakes. If you are a beginner, start with a simple design. Use a small paring knife or Exacto knife for more detailed designs. Make slow, gentle cuts that go straight up and down, not at an angle. More experienced carvers may use drills and electric carving knifes.

Preserve it. You can preserve your pumpkin to make it last longer by spraying or soaking it in bleach or cold water. After you soak it, make sure to dry it completely to avoid mold. As an added preservative, apply petroleum jelly to the cuts. When you are finished carving, sprinkle a little cinnamon on the bottom of the lid or base of the pumpkin to make it smell like pumpkin pie!

Other Pumpkin DIY Ideas

You don’t have to carve a pumpkin to decorate it. There are also many beautiful but spooky alternatives to carving a pumpkin for your Halloween decor. You can paint them, decoupage them, or cover them in fabric or tulle. You can embellish them with flowers, gems, or gauze. You can even repurpose them and turn them into fall-inspired serving bowls, drink coolers, or flower vases.

To decoupage fabric onto a pumpkin, cut strips of fabric one or two inches wide. To determine length needed, measure from the stem to the bottom center of the pumpkin. Apply decoupage medium directly onto the pumpkin with a paintbrush. Place one fabric strip, and apply another generous layer of decoupage medium on top of the strip. Continue applying strips until your pumpkin is covered. Allow it to dry completely.

To make a drink cooler, choose a large, wide pumpkin. Follow the tips and tricks above for cutting the lid, removing the seeds and pulp, and scraping the wall. Do not carve it. Place a glass bowl inside the pumpkin. Fill the bowl with ice and place a bottled beverage inside. Consider embellishing the pumpkin by painting it or attaching paper bats to the outside. This pumpkin drink cooler is perfect for Halloween parties and get-togethers.

The pumpkin is officially an icon of autumn. From Halloween through Thanksgiving we can’t get enough of them. So now that you know why we carve pumpkins and how to carve one, it’s time to make it a family tradition. Join front porches all across America, carve them, line them up, and light those Jack O’Lanterns!

Originally published to Fix.com

3 Inexpensive Things to have for a Themed Pool Party

 

3 Inexpensive Things to have for a Themed Pool Party                                           By: Aimee Lyons

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Throwing a pool party is one of the best ways to celebrate the summer months. It combines soaking up the summer sun with cool, relaxing water. The only thing that can make a pool party even better is a fun theme. Common themes include islands, luau, sunlight, beaches, and under the sea. All of these can make a party more entertaining but at what cost? Theme parties can easily become expensive but, when done properly, can also be thrown on a budget. Here are a few cheap ways to bring your pool party theme to life.

1. Visit the Local Dollar Store for Décor

While you may think a craft or party store is the best place to go for party décor, dollar stores actually carry most of what you will need. Plain, color themes such as blue or red paper dishes, streamers, and banners can be found any time of year while common summer themes are typically available throughout the summer months. Island and generic summer themes are always an easy find and make for great pool party themes.

2. Make Your Own Theme Food

A themed cake is easy to come by in the average grocery store but finding other premade themed foods can prove difficult. Instead, try making your own foods based on your party’s theme. For example, you can use deviled eggs and tortilla chips to make little sail boats, craft paper to turn a bowl into a treasure chest, or even find flavors that reflect your theme. An island theme might use pineapple and coconut- based recipes while an under the sea theme could be centered on fish dishes.

3. Shop Pool Toy Sales

It is easy to find cheap pool toys. Some dollar stores might carry things like inner tubes and pool noodles. However, these inexpensive toys tend to be poorly made and will need to be replaced several times before the season ends. Instead, you should take a little extra time to shop the sales. A good quality pool toy will last you several summers and several pool parties with only a little extra effort. Find the sale items and acquire fun, themed toys for a lower price. Some good options are animal-themed inner tubes and lounge floats in colors that work with your theme.

Throwing a well-planned, themed pool party can easily become too expensive. Premade, themed food and full price décor alone can break your pool party budget. Add pool toys purchased at full price, and you’ve got a dent in your bank account. Instead of going all out, take some time to plan and find the cheapest options for your party’s theme. Visit your local dollar store to start, and you might even find yourself inspired to use a different theme than what you originally had in mind. Additionally, your own kitchen is the best place to create party-themed foods on a budget. Lastly, inflatables and other swimming pool toys can be found just about anywhere. Stores with summer seasonal areas are bound to have a selection, while online shopping almost always guarantees that you can find what you’re looking for at a reasonable cost. Create a strict budget for food, decorations, inflatables, and other necessities (and stick to it!), or you may end up spending more than you planned.

 

Aimee Lyons is a twenty-something free spirit who loves crafting, painting, building, and anything else that lets her exercise her creative muscles. A born do-it- yourself kind of girl, she started DIYDarlin.com to inspire others to embrace their inner creators and tackle projects with confidence. When she isn’t crafting, you might find her vintage shopping or taking her Corgi Champ out exploring in her hometown of Austin, Texas.

Image via Pixabay by Ben-Kerckx

St. Paddy’s Day Accessories!

So.. St. Patrick’s Day falls on a Thursday this year, which is not quite as good as Friday or Saturday, but is significantly better than Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday.. atleast in my opinon, or maybe that’s only if you’re in college and have “Thirsty Thursdays.” Either way, I think Thursday for St. Paddy’s isn’t too bad of a deal. I mean, if you’re feeling a little “under the weather” the next day, you really only have to get through Friday at work before you get to relax all weekend so, I think it works out pretty good this year. All the more reason to get your St. Paddy’s Day accessories and party plans in preparation mode.

There’s the “going out” party, where you strictly just need a multitude of goofy outfits and St. Paddy’s Day accessories while you trample to a bunch of different bars and take jaeger bombs and drink Guiness…

Then there’s the home party, where you buy a slew of decorations and turn your house into a mini Ireland.. and you still take jaeger bombs and drink Guiness.

Figure out which one your plans entail and prepare accordingly.

For party type #1.. going out with your friends and dressing goofy, here’s some of our absolutely favorite St. Paddy’s Day accessories and these can all be added to your St. Paddy’s day dress or suit. Simply use these accessories to enhance your outfit and get into the Irish spirit! These are perfect for the college kids because ALL of these accessories are reasonably priced and that absolutely adds to the fun, because hey! More money for food and drinks!

I would love to break down the categories into serious AND goofy, all of these different options make it all the more exciting and will appeal to a larger group of people.

Let’s start with some goofy options. Option #1, this St. Paddy’s day pigtail viking hat! Option # 2, fake tattoo sleeves.. and option #3, this St. Patrick’s Day jester hat! All of these items are UNDER $7, which as mentioned earlier, makes these GREAT options for college parties and school events! Click each picture for a direct link to the item.

250207_SP13Celtic fake tattoo sleeves  St. Patrick's day jester hat

 

Although we have tons of goofy accessories, we definitely have plenty of super cute options as well. The girls might want to try some of our knee high socks or hair clips, while the guys might want to try a pair of suspenders and a green bow tie. Here are some of our absolute favorite items!

St. Patrick's day suspenders   Shamrock striped thigh high stockings  Irish princess necklace

We have PLENTY of hair accessories, because we know how important a good hair day is, especially on a special day like St. Paddy’s day, but we won’t show you it all! You’ll have to visit the site to see all the other super cute accessories we have and you can even mix and match to create the perfect outfit, but first, let me show you a few manly options, for a boyfriend, brother or best guy friend.. they need to keep up with the St. Paddy’s day style too, you know!

Shamrock jeff cap  St. Patrick's day bandana  St. Patrick's day tie

All of these items are under $10, this is the best way to celebrate St. Paddy’s day for a reasonable price! You will have an absolute blast dressing up with all of our St. Paddy’s Day accessories.

Make sure you check out our website for a full inventory of St. Paddy’s Day accessories options! Now is the time to start ordering!

Halloween for kids!

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Halloween for kids!

Now, don’t get me wrong. Many MANY adults love Halloween, but it’s pretty much become more of a kid’s holiday and I feel as though a majority of Halloween items out there are marketed to children or to decorating for children and entertaining children. This is great though, because helping our children enjoy Halloween is the fastest way to get more adults to enjoy Halloween.

Decorating your home is definitely an important part of Halloween and though helping your child choose their costume is most important, they will have a hard time getting into the Halloween spirit without pumpkins out front or a hay barrel to sit on while eating a caramel apple. Luckily we sell plenty of kid friendly decorations. Meaning ones that are safe for kids to play with, or use to decorate their house/room themselves! Many of these decoration ideas are also great for classrooms for Halloween parties and other school festivities.

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Gel clings are some of our favorite decorations because they are simple and easy for kids to apply and play with while being non-toxic and easy to remove. Check out our blood splatter gel clings, which may be a little violent for some of the younger kids, but could be lots of fun for older children. We also have these festive little Happy Halloween gel clings. Also going off the same sort of ease of use is our Halloween window stickers! They are a great way for your children to decorate your windows or doors at home or school (and don’t worry, they come off easily!) Halloween cutouts are also a great idea for decorating because they are easy to use and have super cute kid friendly designs like smiling ghosts, pumpkins, cats and skeletons! Grab your cutouts and a small roll of tape, allow your kids to pick spots where they’d like to hang the cutouts and simply just apply a piece of tape to hang them up! Although confetti can be a bit messy, the kids will definitely have a lot of fun using it to decorate, pick a place where they’re limited and let them sprinkle it on tables or other areas and spread it out for a decorated look. Again this could be a fun decoration at school! Another great option for school is these Halloween activity sheets! Most schools will have Halloween parties with snacks and drinks and other activities. These Halloween activity sheets are a great way to keep the kids calm and occupied while enjoying the Halloween festivities. In addition we have plenty of Halloween favors to hand out to the kids in party bags or you can use them as prizes for games and other Halloween contests. You can check out some of our favorite Halloween favor ideas here. But we love these glow sticks, these skull glow rings, Halloween temporary tattoos, spider rings, necklaces, sunglasses, etc.. the ideas are endless and we have plenty of cute little Halloween favor bags to put the goodies in! Simply tie some Halloween colored string on to close them and place all the treat bags in a basket for prizes or Halloween handouts!

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And although we don’t sell costumes, we have plenty of non-toxic Halloween makeup, hairspray and costume accessories to help complete your child’s costume.

Halloween is truly a kid’s holiday in all that it has to offer for kids.. As far as adults go, enjoy the decorations around your home, grab your Halloween cocktail and sit out by the fire while you hand out some Halloween candy favorites!

The perfect little Halloween Party Menu!

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If you’re throwing a Halloween party this year, it’s time to start thinking about the ghoulish goodies you’ll be serving! Your Halloween party menu is one of the most, if not THE MOST important part of the festivities. Your guests are going to be hungry AND thirsty so you must make sure you have plenty of snacks and drinks on your Halloween party menu, to keep the party going.

Since Halloween is on a Saturday this year, partying is a must. That’s why our first order of business is picking the drink of the night for your Halloween party menu! It’s definitely smart to do an alcoholic and non-alcoholic drink for kids or guests that do not drink alcoholic beverages.

You can find plenty of cocktail recipes on the internet, especially Halloween cocktails. All you have to do is pick your favorite and follow the recipe! There are so many neat looking cocktails that can involve a lot of steps and a lot of different liquors and mixers. We wanted to pick something that was simple AND will look really neat to your guests, that’s why we chose this “Bloody Orange” cocktail for your Halloween party menu! With a mix of orange juice, club soda and vodka and a splash of raspberry syrup, you can create an eerie looking cocktail, especially when you top it off with a syringe prop! Get the recipe for this creepy little cocktail here! For a non-alcoholic version, skip the vodka and add sprite! Or you can choose a fun non-alcoholic punch for your guests to help themselves, like this magic potion punch! Now that you have your drink recipes… what ever will you put them in?! Well, that’s where we come in, of course! We have a large variety of different premium quality plastic drinkware for your party. For the bloody orange cocktail we recommend a martini glass or a 9-10oz tumbler. Check out some of our other plastic drinkware options here.

Next up, Appetizers! An absolute fave and might even be all you need on your Halloween party menu if you’re planning on having a cocktail party. Appetizers are a great way to keep food in your guest’s bellies while not over-stuffing them with a large meal. Plus, you can do many different kinds so everyone has different options to choose from! Put them out for your guests to pick at throughout the night! Since we are more partial to the appetizer idea, we chose three of our favorites to show you!

Our first choice is deviled egg “eyeballs.” These are great because everyone loves deviled eggs and by adding a spooky “eyeball” look to them, you’re only making them fun on top of delicious! Get the recipe here. You can serve these on one of our many tray options, such as our black motif charger plate (perfect for Halloween), any of our three white plastic platters, or our clear plastic tray.

Our second choice for a Halloween appetizer is called “Swamp Chili.” We love this one because seriously, who doesn’t love chili when it’s chilly out?! It’s a perfect option for your Halloween party menu! The best part about this swamp chili is that it sounds delicious but look disgusting, almost like a…. SWAMP! Get the recipe here! Now, you don’t want your guests to get too full at your cocktail party, especially when there’s other appetizers to try, so serve your swamp chili in cordial glasses, mini clear square tumblers, or cocktail cubs, stick in mini cocktail spoons for the perfect portion!

Our last appetizer choice is a simple, but yummy three in one popcorn crunch. With festive candy corn and a sweet coating, your guests won’t be able to resist this little treat. Get the recipe here! Now the wonderful thing about this three in one popcorn crunch, is the way you can serve it! You can easily serve it in a large bowl for guests to grab and put into a bowl or you can hand out small helpings of this little Halloween party menu treat. Either way you choose to serve, we have the supplies. If you woud like to serve in a large bowl check out our metallic fall bowl, for small serving bowls for guests to eat their treat, check out our mini cocktail cubes. They’re a great option for a small little serving, be sure to make extra so guests can have seconds!

Now, for a cocktail party, the cocktails are obviously the most important and you have your drink of the night on your Halloween party menu. Be sure to have a fully stocked bar and tons of beer for guests that would like something classic. We have tons of plastic drinkware to accommodate all sorts of drinks, check it out here.

Now that you have your appetizers and cocktail of the night (as well as your fully stocked bar) you’re ready to choose a dessert for the end of your Halloween party menu! Desserts are great for later in the night when those late night cravings return. That’s why we chose this “Creepy Crawly Cake,” because let’s face it… who can resist chocolate cake? Follow the recipe (here) to create a delicious and delectable chocolate cake then add the final Halloween touch… small rubber cockroaches! Use one of our plastic cake stands to serve the cake and hand out small plates like these white 5in premium quality square plates for your guests to grab a piece! If you’re looking for a more festive plate to serve dessert check out any of our Halloween patterned dessert plates here!

This should give you an idea of some wonderful things to serve on your Halloween party menu (and serve ON) at your Halloween cocktail party, and if not, it should at least give you an idea where to start!

Enjoy!

Sources:

  1. http://goo.gl/zrKf7X – Taste of Home: “Magic Potion Punch”
  2. http://goo.gl/72zmDB – HGTV – “Bloody Orange Cocktail” By: Sam Henderson
  3. http://goo.gl/go9ZeJ – Buzzfeed Life – “27 Fun Snacks for a Halloween Party” By: Christine Byrne
  4. http://goo.gl/b3KSxd – Food&Wine – “Swamp Chili” By: Grace Parisi
  5. http://goo.gl/c7YKyy – Taste of Home – “Three-in-one Popcorn Crunch”
  6. http://goo.gl/hBjVTS – Marth Stewart – “Creepy Crawly Cake:” By: Martha Stewart Living

 

Pumpkin Carving in 7 Easy Steps!

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If you are anything like me, you get super excited about pumpkin carving every single year and then you mess it up and you’re always wondering what you did wrong and how you can ensure that it doesn’t happen again. Lets face it, everyone KIND OF knows the pumpkin carving steps, but I think there’s an actual fool proof system out there that we’ve been neglecting to give attention because we just think we already know how to carve our pumpkins.

Every year it’s the same thing with me… I don’t carve the walls thin enough and therefore I can’t carve through… OR I carve the walls too thin and my pumpkin wall just collapses… then, I use a stencil that doesn’t want to stay on and it gets wet and soggy and rips off and I’m left with a “design” that looks nothing like it’s supposed to. At that point, I’ve given up and I’m left with a huge mess of pumpkin seeds and wet pulp to clean up.

I’m simply trying to break the cycle of this awful pumpkin carving experience for myself, and all of my readers. There HAS to be a more successful, enjoyable and cleaner way to get our pumpkins carved and placed out on the porch glowing brightly in the night!

Now, carving kits are wonderful inventions for pumpkin carving because they usually include a few different tools to help you and they usually also include a variety of different Halloween stencils to choose from. They’re basically an inexpensive and convenient way to pumpkin carve. I personally think they are a great idea for kids as most of the tools aren’t as sharp as knives or saws or other tools you might use for pumpkin carving, therefore I highly recommend you pick one up here to help guide you through the pumpkin carving process even if you do decide to use some more intense tools.

So, first things first!

1. Bring Mr. or Mrs. Pumpkin home and lay out your tools. Whether it’s your carving kit, or other tools, you’ll want to have them ready for the job. You can actually use a number of different tools to create an incredible pumpkin carving. Some of these tools you may not have at home or may not have even heard of them, stick with a few you have at home or pick a couple up at your local shop! Here’s a list of some super helpful carving tools:

2. Pick out your pumpkin! This step can easily be one of the best steps… skip your local super market and go pumpkin picking with your family or significant other! Places that have pumpkin picking are usally farms that also have hay rides, corn mazes, games, hot chocolate and other fun things to do while you choose your favorite pumpkin. I also recommend getting a back-up pumpkin, just in case something goes wrong with your first one.

  • miniature or keyhole saws
  • power drill
  • needle tool or pin
  • cookie cutters
  • scraping tool

You also want to make sure you have stencils and tape if you’re going to do a design on your pumpkin. If you have a carving kit, most will include a variety of different stencils to choose from.  Once you have your stencil chosen and your tools ready, make sure you pick an area of your home where you can easily lay everything out. Lay a towel or trash bag down to collect pulp and pumpkin seeds so you don’t make a mess!

3. Once you have your pumpkin carving location ready and set, the first thing you want to do is carve a hole in your pumpkin. Most commonly, people will choose to carve a hole in the top where the stem is, you can do that or you can carve it in the bottom. Either option is fine because you are doing this so you can put a candle or tea light in your pumpkin to illuminate it when you are finished.

4. The next step is the messiest! Now is where you will get all the pulp and seeds out of the inside of your pumpkin so you have a nice, smooth, clean area for illumination when you put your pumpkin outside at night. Use a large spoon or scraping tool to get as much of the gunk out as you can while simultaneously thinning the inside walls of the pumpkin for easier carving.

5. The next step is designing! Your stencil will most likely be a standard size of 8.5 x 11 so cut around the design slightly to make it smaller and more manageable on your pumpkin. Then you’ll want to tape it or secure it to the pumpkin the best way that you can. Make sure you pick a nice, smooth, clear side of your pumpkin for your design! Use the needle tool or pin to poke holes to replicate the design on to your pumpkin. Make sure you poke the holes deep enough so you are able to see them once you remove the stencil.

6. After you remove the stencil paper, you should be able to clearly see your poked holes. You will carve these areas with a miniature saw or carving tool from your kit! Carve well so the pieces fall out, grab each once and toss it away. You’ll already start to see your design coming together! Once you are finished carving all the area you made with your pin, marvel at your hard work! Do any last minute touches to your design!

7. To light up your pumpkin, simply place a small candle or electric tealight inside and place your pumpkin outside in a special area where everyone can see it.

Tip: To keep it from turning brown and last longer, apply a thin exposed areas of your pumpkin with a thin layer of Vaseline!

Check out our carving kits and and other pumpkin tools like tealights, here!

Find more information for pumpkin carving here!

5 Awesome Group Halloween Costume Ideas

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Group Halloween Costume Ideas

If you and your family or you and a group of friends are going out trick or treating or just to have a little bit of fun this year, you might want to consider dressing up as a group. Nothing makes a huge impact like dressing up as a group—and it’s a good way to prevent your friends from abandoning you at a party. Here are five seriously awesome group Halloween costume ideas you are sure to love:

Men in Black

This is probably one of the groups Halloween costume ideas to execute. All you really need at least one other person and a black suit and tie. While this is group for a pair, it can be just as effective as large group of people. Here are some tips to make sure you get the look right.

  • Make sure you get some dark, matching sunglasses. The suits don’t necessarily have to all have the same fit, though they should all be black. The sunglasses, on the other hand, are what are really going to pull your group look together. Go to the grocery store and pick up a bunch of cheap pairs of the same sunglasses so you really look cohesive.
  • Decide which men in black you want to be. A pair of black-suited, sunglass-wearing people will look like alien-fighting Men in Black. A large group of people all wearing the same black suit and sunglasses might look like Agent Anderson from The Matrix. There’s nothing wrong with that, just know that you’re probably going to be identified as everything form FBI agents to secret service, to sentient computer viruses for most of the night.

Disney Princess

This idea is great for a group of girls that all want to go together, but don’t want to match exactly, or for a group of guys that want to do something a little wacky. There are lots of different Disney princesses to choose from, so each person can pick the princess they like best. Putting these costumes together usually isn’t very difficult, depending on how accurate you want to be.

An interesting twist on the typical Disney princess costume is to go as “hipster” Disney princesses. All this really requires is some ultra-cool clothing in the princess’s colors and a snarky, “I was into _____ before it was cool” saying to match that princess’s vibe.

Most costume stores will have Disney princess-type costumes or some type of costume that will work with a little bit of tweaking, but don’t be afraid to just scrounge your own costume out of party supplies.

Tetris

While Tetris might not be the most exciting game that’s ever been made, it is a classic, and dressing up as these different colored blocks for Halloween as a group is actually pretty simple. All you’ll need is cardboard, paint in the primary colors, and some black duct tape. The construction process is actually fairly simple.

Start by mapping out which pieces you and your group want to be. All Tetris blocks are made up configuration of the same four squares. You’ll want all the cubes in your final costume to be the same size so you can latch the Tetris pieces together when they are finished. Once you’ve constructed the pieces, make sure there are holes for your head and arms, paint the boxes, and hit the town!

Sims

For fans of the wildly popular Sims franchise, this one of the best group Halloween costume ideas and it requires very little work or preplanning. Unless you want to go as one of the Sim’s more iconic townies (like Bella or Mortimer Goth), you can wear whatever you like and simply make the plumbob (that thing that Sims have over their heads that helps players gauge the Sims’s mood) out of cardboard. Use a coat hanger to make a little stand for it and attach it to your head, neck, or back with a little bit of tape. A group of Sims together is always much more effective than just one running around by himself!

If you are really dedicated to making these the best Halloween costumes ever, you might want to learn some of the Sims’s iconic gibberish language so you can speak it amongst your group and really sell the image. Older people might not know what you are, but any modern day gamer will know instantly and be impressed.

The Seven Deadly Sins

A classic—especially if you a group of seven people you’re going out with on Halloween. Just for reference, the seven deadly sins are pride, covetousness, lust, anger, gluttony, envy, and sloth. Some of those will be easier than others to evoke, but when you’re all together in a group, it will be fairly obvious what all of you are.

One person can be “green” with envy, another person in a red outfit for anger. Gluttony should be food-themed, and sloth can actually just be a sloth, or a person who is sleepy. Pride can also be interpreted as vanity, so someone who is carrying and looking in a mirror is a good way to evoke that sin. Just have fun with it!

A Rainbow with a Pot of Gold

This is one of the best group Halloween costume ideas because it can be easily adjusted to however many people are part of your group and the costumes are simple to put together. Each person will be a color and the final person will be your pot of gold, with plastic gold coins attached to his or her shirt.

This works whether you have five people in your group, or whether you have fifteen and you really want to play on different color variations!

Save Money with These 5 Wedding Supplies Online

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A lot of your wedding planning does have to happen in person. You have to try on and buy your dress in person (though some people do buy their wedding dresses online), you have to taste and choose a cake and catering in person (unless you have decided to do those things yourself), and you have to pick out your venue by visiting and touring the available spaces near you. Many brides can get caught up in wedding planning and will start to believe that they have to buy everything in person.

That just isn’t true. Buying some of your wedding supplies online can not only save you time, it can save you a lot of money. You won’t have to buy gas in order to drive to a party supply store in order to pick up the supplies you need (which they might not even have in store) and you will usually get a better price when shopping online anyway.

If you are a bride or a groom who is currently in the midst of wedding planning—do not fret. There are plenty of wedding supplies that you can buy easily online.  Here are just five of the things that you can save money on when you buy wedding supplies online.

1.    Cutlery – No matter what size of wedding you are having, cutlery is going to be one of your biggest expenses. Why? Because you need a lot of cutlery. Even if you are setting out individual place settings, people are going to push their spoons onto the ground and drop their forks or set them down and leave them somewhere and need a new one. If you are having a buffet, most people will pick up new cutlery every time they go back for another plate of food. Is this a bad thing? No, but it means that if you are trying to purchase enough real metal cutlery for your wedding, you are going to be facing a serious trial. Plastic cutlery, luckily, can look just as classy as metal utensils, and they are far, far less expensive. You can buy a 48 ct. of black plastic forks on our website for less than five dollars. That means that even if you are inviting two hundred people to your wedding, you can get all the forks you need to serve them food for less than $50. That simply isn’t going to happen when you try to buy real utensils.

2.    Plates and Cups – Don’t think you can find beautiful plastic or paper plates for your wedding? You’re just plain wrong. There are so many different varieties of plastic and paper plates, that finding one that matches the theme of your wedding and your colors is simple. Plates and cups are two of the best things to buy as wedding supplies online. Not only can you get exactly however many you need, you can get them delivered right to your door, which means you don’t have to worry about going to pick them up or the store not having enough of the color or colors that you want to use at your wedding. We even have plate and cup sets that ensure that you get all of the plates and cups you need in the same color, no matter what color that is.

3.    Decorations – Getting enough decorations to fill your space at a low enough price to not break your budget might sound impossible, especially if the only way you have been shopping for wedding decorations is to drive around to different party supply and craft stores. Buying these wedding supplies online is a much, much better way to get exactly what you want, at a discounted price. Whether you need fluffy paper hanging decorations like these or a “Just Married” sign for your car, or any number of other decorations, like confetti, balloons, and even centerpieces, it’s time to stop looking in stores and time to start looking online. Buy your decorations enough ahead of time that you can pick up more if you need to or so that they have time to ship to your home.

4.    Favors – Are you having trouble picking out favors for your guests? Are you planning on having so many guests that buying favors for all of them is going to seriously break your bank account? Why not turn to the internet? You can actually buy favors for your guests in bulk online and have them shipped to your door so you don’t even have to leave home in order to get what you want and what you need. Candles are a great choice, since everyone loves a candle! You can buy them for much less online than what you would pay if you had to buy them in store, and you can actually get them in the quantity that you need!

5.    Flowers – Fresh flowers are nice for a wedding, but especially for a fall or winter wedding, finding the right fresh flowers can be difficult and expensive. A florist may be able to get you want you want, but it will probably be at a high cost and the flowers are not guaranteed to actually be fresh. Instead of going with fresh flowers, why not try faux flowers. These are a great alternative to real flowers, and premade arrangements like this are perfect for fall weddings. They are all far less than you would have to pay for similar arrangements made out of fresh flowers!

8 Ways to Use Discount Wedding Supplies for a Classy Wedding

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You want to throw a classy wedding. You may think that that precludes you from buying discount wedding supplies, but the opposite is actually true. Especially if you are on a budget, buying discount wedding supplies can be a great way to make your wedding feel and look classy, without having to spend thousands just on the decorations and supplies. Here are eight way you can use discount wedding supplies for a classy wedding:

1.    Paper Napkins – Shouldn’t a classy wedding have cloth napkins? Some will say yes, but the truth is that the right paper napkins can look and feel just as classy as any other type of napkin. Especially if they match the color and style of the rest of your wedding, no one is going to notice that you are using paper napkins, instead of cloth napkins. Finding the right napkins doesn’t have to be difficult. Look for a pattern that complements the theme of the wedding and a color that matches your wedding colors. If you can’t find a color that matches exactly, black and white or gold or silver are always great options.

2.    Plastic Charger Plates – If you are planning a classy wedding, you are probably planning on having real china for your tables. Full place settings for all of your guests can be extremely expensive. A great way to cut down on the cost of these settings and still provide a high-class experience is with plastic charger plates. They are stylish enough to mesh with just about any china choice and provide a great backdrop for that china, but they cost significantly less than normal charger plates. And because they are not the plates that your guests will actually be eating off of, no one will mind.

3.    Latex Balloons – Balloons can be a great way to decorate your venue, especially if you have a large venue with a lot of space to fill. Get latex balloons in your wedding colors, or as close to your wedding colors as you can find and you will love how stylish your venue looks. If you can’t find balloons that match your wedding colors exactly, black balloons are always a great alternative. They look sophisticated, and whether you fill them with air or with helium, they are great for covering walls and filling up high-ceilinged venues.

4.    Confetti – If you want a great way to make your wedding look sophisticated, sparkly confetti on the tables is an excellent option. Because confetti, even sparkly confetti, is so inexpensive, and the task of strewing it across the tables is so easy, this is one of the best ways to really spice up your wedding decorations, without having to spend that much money or put that much effort into the task. You can almost always find lots of different colors of confetti online and in our online party supply store.

5.    Ribbon – If you are looking for an easy way to class just about anything up, ribbon is a great option. It can make floral centerpieces look high class, can be tied around the back of chairs to make them look fancier, and can even be used to tie together utensils on top of your place settings for an interesting and beautiful touch. Choose a color of ribbon that meshes well with your wedding and then use it to adorn anything that needs just a little bit more class. If you choose a wired variety, it can be easily shaped into perfect little bows!

6.    Hanging Decorations – There are a wide variety of hanging decorations available on the market today. Available in a wide variety of colors and in a wide variety of styles, these can be a very inexpensive way to add some beauty and some class to your wedding’s venue. Fluffy paper decorations like these are a great way to make a venue look thoroughly decorated, even if you don’t want to spend a lot of money on decorations. There are also hanging lanterns varieties in many different colors that can have the same effect.

7.    High Quality Plastic Products – While there is something very high class about having real glass cups at your wedding, if you want to save money and still create a very fancy vibe, there are high quality plastic cups that you can buy. They have all of the classiness of real glass, without the expense and without the cleanup required to wash all of those glasses. Cups like these, that have a silver rim around the top, look very high-class, but are very inexpensive, especially when compared to the cost of buying real glasses for everyone, are a great option. Plastic forks, knives, and spoons can also be a low-cost but high-impact option for any wedding.

8.    Paper Table Runners – One of the biggest obstacles brides and grooms run into is figuring out how to decorate their tables inexpensively. A large wedding will inevitably require a large amount of tables. While you might spring for centerpieces for each table, consider paring down some of the decorations or opting for discount wedding supplies like paper table runners, instead of fabric ones. These can provide the same impact on your guests, at a much lower cost.

You don’t have to spend a fortune in order to plan a classy wedding! Use these tips to find discount wedding supplies that still look and feel classy!

6 Cheap Party Supplies that Can Transform Your Party

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Cheap Party Supplies

Throwing a party doesn’t have to break the bank. The right party supplies can make your party great, but that doesn’t mean that you have to spend hundreds of dollars just on things for your party. Whether you are having a lot of people over or just a few, finding the right cheap party supplies can make throwing a party a lot more affordable. In addition to making your party more affordable, they can also totally transform your party. Don’t be afraid to put out a little bit of money on your party, but with these cheap party supplies, you can get everything you need for a great party, at an affordable price.

1.Balloons

Balloons are a great way to add some fun to your party for a very low cost. Unlike other decorations that are very expensive and do not take up very much room, balloons cost only a few cents each, come in a wide variety of colors, and can be used in a variety of different ways in order to transform wherever you are having your party. They can be used to fill up a large party space that does not have very many decorations, can be used as wall decorations, can be weighted down in bunches in order to act as table centerpieces, and much more. At only a few cents a pop, they are a great way to add life to your party, without having to spend very much money on the decorations themselves. Because they also come in a wide variety of colors, it’s easy to find balloons that match the theme of your party, if you have one, or to simply find balloons that you like the color of.

2. Tableware

Available both in the solid and patterned varieties, tableware can go a long way to transforming your party. When you use simple white plates and white plastic forks, spoons, knives, cups, and napkins, the party itself can start to look extremely drab. While you might not consider how your table looks as a very significant part of your party, your tableware can actually set the tone of the entire event. Luckily, it is possible to buy very inexpensive tableware that can make a big impact. Whether you stack all of your plates, cups, and utensils at one end of a buffet table or you set all of the eating tables before the party begins, they can act as both decoration and tool.

3. Games

One of the great challenges of planning a party is deciding what you actually want to do at that party. Games can be a great way to spend your time and are not necessarily just for kids. While kids will enjoy bean toss games with bean bags, a set of dice that tell you want to do (take a shot, dance, etc.) and who with or where (on at table, for example), can be great for adults. If you are hosting a large party for children, having lots of different games is a great way to keep those children engaged for a long period of time. On the other hand, if you just want to make sure that you have enough games to occupy the children while the adults also play a game, our online party supply store has plenty to choose from. Buying a few cheap games are great ways to make sure the party goes smoothly.

4. Streamers

Want an easy way to decorate your space? Want a fun party supply that is as versatile as it is inexpensive? Streamers are the ultimate option for you. Why? Because not only can they be hung from the ceiling, draped on walls, draped across tables, and even used to decorate chairs, they can also be used to wrap presents, play party games, and more. There is just about no end to what you can do with streamers, especially because they come in such a wide variety of colors and are dirt cheap. They are the king of cheap party supplies and they are also super compact, so even if you do not end up using all of the streamers, they can be easily packed away and used again at a future shindig.

5. Serving dishes

Do the color and style of your serving dishes and utensils really matter? If you want to plan a fancy or classy party but also want to do it on a budget, picking up some cheap, but still beautiful serving dishes can certainly do the trick. Whether you just need serving plates for your buffet table or you want plastic chargers to go under every single place setting, cheap party supplies are certain to provide you with the exact look that you desire. Having a well-decorated food table and eating tables are key to making a party space look fully decorated.

6. Costumes

Costumes and accessories aren’t a necessary party of every party, but they are a great way to round out your theme, if you have one. If you are throwing a totally awesome 80s party or a swingin’ 40s party, having some costumes and/or accessories on hand for those that want to fit into the theme is a great way to transform your party in to a real event. Finding cheap party supplies like these doesn’t have to be difficult. Just look at the accessories section of our online party supply store to find the products you need.