’tis the season…FOR HALLOWEEN SHOPPING?

It’s well known that November 1st is one of the best times to load up on Halloween goodies at bargain prices. But did you know that after-Christmas sales are also a good way to stock up on stuff for Halloween? Or that some decorations can be used on both holidays? The GdL gang has put their heads together and came up with two handy lists of ideas to help explain it all.

1. Have you ever considered buying a large, freestanding Santa Claus figure? Besides their most obvious use, it’s also possible to use them on Halloween by changing the clothing and adding a mask. Just be sure to test how much you can move the limbs and see if the clothes have Velcro straps before purchasing, as you don’t want a figure that’s impossible to change the clothing on. Although in such a scenario, a simple hooded black robe and overhead mask should be able to disguise Santa. To ensure maximum reusability, don’t glue down any new clothing or masks to the figure.

2. Christmas tree lights have so many uses on Halloween. Strands of orange and red lights can aid in fake fire effects, while blinking green lights can work well in a witch’s cauldron. They can also be used to create eyes glowing in the darkness or simply adorn equipment in a mad scientist’s laboratory or an alien spaceship. There are even some certain strands of lights that let you change the behavior of the bulbs with a push of a button, which let you create “chaser” and fading light effects. Be sure to read the packaging prior to buying in order to see if they give off a lot of heat or if lead paint was used on the wiring. And be sure to never leave them unattended for long periods of time (if at all) or have them near any flammable objects.

3. Speaking of lights, December is also a great time to pick up some flicker flame light bulbs. These little beauties are designed to mimic the look of real flames and can be used in certain types of electric candoliers, candelabras, chandeliers, and Christmas tree lights. Certain Halloween haunters and Christmas decorators will undoubtedly want to use such bulbs to create (more) realistic fake candles. Just be sure to check whether or not the bulbs you want are compatible with the item you wish to use them in!

4. Similarly, one can also choose from a variety of fake candles. Just be aware that you can’t change the bulbs on some models.

5. Although intended for use on Christmas, red and green colored light bulbs (standard size) also work well on Halloween.

6. Motorized color wheels are used by some to bathe their Christmas trees in varying shades of color. Home haunters can use a hidden one to create “magical” effects for witch and wizard-related displays. Or, if they use a homemade plexiglass disc with a black bowtie-like section painted on, they can make props placed in dark areas appear and disappear.

7. Those little animated figurines you often see in stores not only make for an interesting Christmas decoration, but they can be useful on Halloween as well. Strong thread or fishing line tied from each moving part to a small or lightweight item, such as a rubber spider, can create the illusion of independent movement (provided the animated figure itself is hidden from view).

8. Twinkle light plugs can make certain kinds of non-blinking light strands “twinkle” when they are plugged into it, which can further aid fake fire effects in Halloween displays.

9. Miniature floodlights (and bulbs), along with extension cords and power strips, work just as well on Halloween as they do on Christmas. Think about it, won’t you?

10. Although they’re not decorations, relaxation devices that play sounds like rain falling and heartbeats are often found in droves during this time of year. They may be intended as gifts, but there’s no rule against someone buying one to use as a sound effects generator for Halloween.

For those of you who don’t care about reusing your purchase come next December:

1. The larger Santa figures that move and says (or sings) Christmas-related stuff could potentially be the star of your next Halloween display if you have some wiring skills. For example, this skilled home haunter managed to turn a dancing Santa Claus into a dancing pirate.

2. Those moving, light-up reindeer can become animatronic wolves with a little time and effort.

3. You know those silver, globe-shaped ornaments often found on Christmas trees? Phantasm spheres waiting to happen.

4. If you’re lucky enough to find one of those little talking Christmas trees, buy it immediately. They’re useful in a wide variety of homemade animatronic effects.

5. Smaller animated figurines can make for all sorts of little monsters, like this nasty clown.

6. The type of gold foil paper that lends itself to well to making homemade Lament Configurations is usually stocked in greeting card stores right about now.

7. Buy a bunch of Santa, elf, snowman, etc. decorations and give them fangs and the like. Now you can have “Santa Claws” and his cohorts wish people a “Scary Christmas” in October and/or December. That said, please keep in mind that people are far less tolerant of spooky/gory displays after October 31st. If you really want to go that route, perhaps doing something based on the more kid-friendly The Nightmare Before Christmas would be a better idea.

8. Come to think of it, setting up a flying crank ghost or grim reaper in a display with a dummy of a scared old man in bed would be a good way to reuse Halloween props in December and not arouse any anger. Who’s going to get worked up over scenes from A Christmas Carol?

Words of Wisdom:

Whenever possible, look up information about the product(s) you want to buy online before purchasing in order to avoid getting a faulty or potentially dangerous item.

If you see something you absolutely must have, we recommend buying it ASAP. There’s no telling what will or will not be available come December 26th, save for maybe the most common or generic of items.

Gravedigger’s Local 16 is not to be held responsible for the content on or anything that may occur (be it good or bad) as a result of visiting any links on the above sites, downloading from them or constructing a project that’s detailed on them. This also applies to any suggestions made here. Attempt at your own discretion.

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