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Check out these kid-friendly Halloween decor tips and video how-to’s for dressing up mantles, tabletops, and shadowy nooks and crannies — plus some KidSmart ways to add a spooky candle-lit glow to festivities without the scary flames!

1. Start with Kid-friendly, Flame-free Candles and Votives:

Battery-operated candles offer the same flickering ambiance of wax candles… without the danger of fire. What’s not to love? You can find inexpensive battery -operated tea lights at the dollar store, or choose more realistic real wax drip-rim battery operated candles. Flameless candles usually last about 40 hours or so, and the batteries can be replaced, so you’ll be enjoying them long after the Halloween candy is a distant memory. Use them in Lack-o-Lanterns, votive holders, or anyplace you need a touch of light.

 

2. Search Everyday Items for Halloween-ish Colors:

Plastic glasses do double-duty as Halloween votive candles

Plastic glasses do double-duty as Halloween votive candles

Have any orange or black placemats on-hand? How about colorful drinking glasses — maybe in white, frost, orange, smoky gray, green or purple? Any white candle pillars stashed in a drawer? These everyday things can do double-duty as Halloween decor! For example:
  • MYO-Votives: Add some construction paper bits to colorful drinking glasses, pop a flame-free candle in the glass and, Presto! Instant Halloween votive candles that kids can easily help make. We used Bentley 11-oz plastic tumblers in Smoke and Tangerine, construction paper and double-sided gift tape.
  • Create a Ghostly Glow: Don’t spend your money on fancy Halloween candles that you’ll just have to store in a few weeks! Grab simple white or orange pillar candles (of course, battery operated candles are best) and attach paper or fun foam bits to make Jack-o-Lantern faces or Ghosts. (If you use real candles, place embellishments well below the burn region and keep an eye on them when burning).

Arrange several candles, homemade votives or a combination of these across the mantle for a Halloween spookscape, or place a few on orange or black placemats for a flickering centerpiece.

3. For a Spideriffic Centerpiece, Start in the Backyard:

What could be spookier (or cheaper) than a cluster or spindly branches hung with paper or pipe cleaner spiders? For this simple project, you just need some branches, an empty soup or coffee can, floral foam or dried beans* to hold the branches in place, some pipe cleaners or construction paper, and glue. If you want to get fancy, spray paint the branches and can before assembling. (*If decorating around toddlers, use foam instead of dried beans – if spilled, beans could be a choking hazard)

4. Safe — and Spooky — Trick-or-Treating Lights:

Battery operated candles offer a spooky and kid-safe glow

Battery operated candles offer a spooky and kid-safe glow

Add a little extra creepy to your little ghouls’ and booys’ costumes this year. Instead of flashlights, give them a battery-operated pillar candle to hold. These cast a spooky flickering glow without a flame — perfect if you have a little witch or wizard who really gets into character!

Let us know about your kid-safe, budget-friendly Halloween ideas!