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EIGHT DAYS Till Halloween…

By Ann Tatko-Peterson
Friday, October 24th, 2008 at 7:05 am in Crafts, Halloween.

Staff PhotojournalistIs the table or front porch looking a little bleak? Does it need a Halloween pick-me-up? I’ve always been BIG in the decorate-for-Christmas department. Not so much for Halloween. Considering I’m throwing a Halloween party this year, I decided it was time to bust out the orange and black. But of course, with the economy being tight, I needed to do it on a budget.

That brought me to the discount stores. With just a few bucks and lots of imagination, it’s possible to whip out a porch or table centerpiece in just about an hour. I wanted one that would work both indoors and out. Even better, the pumpkin tree uses indoor and outdoor elements, cost less than $20 to make, lights up with battery-operated votive candles and was simple enough that my 11-year-old stepdaughter could help put it together. (One note: Branches are fragile, a lesson I learned the hard way when I accidentally tipped the centerpiece over and snapped one side of it. The good news, however — branches are free, so it was easy to fix.) Want to make a pumpkin tree of your own, just follow these instructions (and for more affordable Halloween decoration ideas, check out the Home & Garden section Saturday):

Staff PhotojournalistWhat you need: Sturdy tree branches and sand or stones; eight mini plastic pumpkin candy holders, artificial flowers, floral foam, glass jar (available at discount stores), floral wire and two four packs of battery-operated tea lights (available at craft stores.) (Note: Eliminating the tea lights will make this a $10 or less project.)

1. Place piece of floral foam inside a glass jar. Fill with sand or stones to keep the foam in place.
2. Insert branches in various spots in the foam.
3. Drill or punch holes in the stems of the plastic pumpkins. String with about three inches of floral wire. Wrap the wire around various branches to hang the pumpkins.
4. Attach three inches of floral wire to each artificial flower and wrap around various branches to fill in the empty space. You also can insert artificial flower stems directly into the floral foam.
5. Pop off the bottom half of each pumpkin. Turn on the battery-operated tea lights and place one in each bottom. Firmly reattach the bottom.

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