5 Haunted House Decorations You Didn’t Know Were Made with Water

Haunted houses are always a fan-favorite Halloween pastime, and if you’ve ever been inside one, you know that they are full of intricate decorations and special effects.

We can’t help but appreciate all the art and craftsmanship that goes into creating these spooky attractions, especially when we know that many of the special effects that make haunted houses so terrifying are created with—you guessed it—water.

Read on to see our five favorite water-filled haunted house effects (and to learn how they work).

Fake Blood

While you may be thinking this spooky classic is nothing more than face paint or ketchup, it’s actually a water solution. One of the best ways to make fake blood is to use water, cornstarch, corn syrup, onion flakes and red food coloring.

Fog

The fog you see at haunted houses or in scary movies is actually made with dry ice. Dry ice is the solid form of carbon dioxide, so when it changes states, it actually turns directly into a gas. All that’s needed is a large bucket or cauldron about a fourth of the way filled with hot, hot water. Once dry ice is deposited into the water, voila: you’ll start to see a thick, spooky fog. (Remember: Never handle dry ice with bare hands as it can damage your skin due to its extremely low temperatures.)

Witches Brew

Witches brew is essential for any haunted house. While the solution can be made with a number of odd ingredients, water brings it all together. Getting the perfect icky green witches brew is as simple as boiling up a pot of water, adding a drop or two of dish soap and pouring in some food coloring. Of course, you can always add some candy eyeballs or gummy worms to make the bubbly brew extra spooky.

Specimen Jars

 

Specimen jars are among the creepiest of haunted house decorations: they combine both odd little creatures and greenish liquids you’d imagine smell awful. In reality, though, specimen jars are just filled with water, a couple of drops of food coloring and small toy animals or doll parts.

Plus, specimen jars can become even creepier by turning them into a sensory experience. Adding foods like cold spaghetti and peeled grapes to a jar and asking haunted house visitors to close their eyes and stick their hands inside is sure to produce some shrieks.

Slime

 

Slime is a perfect haunted house decoration: It’s easy to make, fun to play with and slippery as can be. Though it may feel like it comes from the bottom of a snail or a big fish, slime is actually made with a simple mixture containing water. The mixture creates a medium between solid and liquid that makes for some great ghost sludge or monster ooze. The best part is that the slime can easily be cleaned up with warm water, too.

As you’re preparing for Halloween, read up on Halloween safety to get the most out of the big night of trick-or-treating, and if you want to make some treats of your own to share with friends and family, make sure to check out our recipe for DIY salt water taffy.

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DIY Salt Water Taffy: The Perfect Halloween Candy

 

Halloween is right around the corner, and with all the costumes, decorations and sweet treats, it’s the perfect season for DIY projects. Instead of your usual store-bought candy, why not try making tasty Halloween treats right in your own home?

 

This easy recipe for DIY salt water taffy is a great example of one of the many ways in which water can be utilized for fun, and it’s the perfect way to kick off fall festivities.

 

What You’ll Need:

  • Medium-sized saucepan
  • Small baking dish
  • Candy thermometer
  • Kitchen scissors
  • Waxed paper

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon butter (and extra to butter your pan and hands)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 2/3 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon glycerin
  • food coloring and flavoring
  • Sprinkles (optional)




What to Do:

  1. Butter your small baking dish and set it aside for later. Then stir together sugar and cornstarch in the medium sauce pan. As you're stirring, slowly add in the corn syrup, butter, water, salt and glycerin.
  2. Place the mixture over medium-high heat and stir continuously until the mixture comes to a boil. Once the mixture boils, stop stirring, insert the candy thermometer and wait until the mixture reaches 254 degrees F.
  3. Once the temperature is 254 degrees F, you may remove the mixture from heat and stir in your food coloring and flavoring. The color you use will not alter the flavor or texture of your taffy. Note: Color will fade when the pulling process begins.                                                                
  4. Now you can grab your buttered baking dish from step one and pour the mixture right into the dish. (Make sure you applied a generous amount of butter so the taffy doesn’t stick to the pan.)
  5. Allow the taffy to cool. Once the taffy is sufficiently cooled, generously apply butter to your hands and begin to pull the taffy. Do this by pulling up the taffy into both hands, then pulling it apart and back together until the taffy is firm enough to sustain its shape. For a visual demonstration of this process, head here.                               
  6. Now butter your scissors thoroughly (be careful not to cut your hands). Stretch the taffy into a long rope-like shape and use your buttered scissors to cut the taffy at 1 inch intervals.
  7. Wrap your taffy in small wax paper squares and store in an airtight container.happy-halloween-964786_1920.jpg

Now that you’ve made your taffy, it will last you approximately two months. You can keep it around the house as a tasty treat or share with family, friends or even coworkers.

Whether you’re indoors handing out candy or going door-to-door trick-or-treating, it’s important to stay safe on Halloween. Don’t forget to check back here to see what other fun and inventive activities you and your family can enjoy this season.

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DIY Lunchbox Ice Packs: Keeping Lunchtime Cool

 Image via Flickr user Rubbermaid

Alright, parents: the kids have finally gone back to school! The back-to-school shopping list might have seemed endless, but we’re here to arm you with some creative and resourceful DIY projects that can help your family this fall season.

 

Here are two inexpensive DIY hacks that can help you cut corners and keep your kids’ lunches cool by the time noon rolls around. Not only will these DIY ice packs help you save money for your family, but they are also fun and safe projects to do with the kids on the weekend. Get started with the steps below.

 

 

 Image via Flickr user horiavarlan 

Method 1

 

What you’ll need:

  • 1 pack of sponges
  • 1 box of sandwich bags
  • Bowl of water

What to do:

  1. Take the sponge and soak it in water, letting the sponge absorb as much water as possible.
  2. Place the sponge in the sandwich bag.
  3. Let the sponge freeze overnight.
  4. After the sponge thaws out, place it back in the freezer at the end of the day. The sponge will absorb the “melted” water and be good to go for the next day. 

 

By using sponges as a thrifty alternative to those pricey ice packs, you won’t break the bank replacing them if the ice pack is accidentally thrown away after lunch. In addition to saving money, you’ll also be conserving water by allowing the ice pack to re-absorb the water in the sandwich bag time and time again.

 

The second method is a bit more hands-on and does require the use of rubbing alcohol, so please use your discretion when working with children.

 

 

 

Method 2

 

What you’ll need:

  • 3 cups of water per pack
  • 1 cup rubbing alcohol per pack
  • Freezer bags
  • Food dye

What to do:

  1. Pour three cups of water into a freezer bag.
  2. Pour one cup of rubbing alcohol into the same bag.
  3. Add a few drops of food dye of your choice to the mixture.
  4. Shake it up!
  5. Remove the air from the bag.
  6. Place the first bag into another freezer bag to prevent leaks.
  7. Flatten the bags.
  8. Freeze.

 

This project provides longevity for your family’s ice packs. You can also personalize ice packs by letting the kids choose which color they want their ice pack to be.

 

We hope you and your loved ones have a great school year, and keep checking back here for more posts on how to save money and use water with fun, creative DIY projects the whole family can enjoy.

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DIY Snow Cones: A Natural Taste of Summer

Ah, summertime.

Favorite memories of the season often include a combination of sun, water and delicious frozen treats, one of which is the classic snow cone. This flavored crushed ice is a simple but universal staple of many memorable summer adventures.

Unfortunately, snow cone syrup is often packed with chemicals, food dyes and hidden sugars that aren’t quite as nutritious as they are fun to eat. If you’re looking to capture the magic of summer in a delicious snow cone without any of the pre-packaged or way-too-sugary syrups, look no further! Here’s how to have fun while making healthier choices this summer.

What you’ll need: 

  • 1 cup of 100 percent fruit juice
  • ½ to 1 cup of sugar, depending on your preferred tartness of juice
  • Ice
  • Blender, food processor or snow cone maker to shave ice
  • Small saucepan

Image via Flickr user L.A. Foodie

What to do: 

  1. In a small saucepan, combine fruit juice and sugar.
  2. Set saucepan over medium-high heat and bring to a boil.
  3. Turn to low and simmer for five minutes, stirring until sugar completely dissolves.
  4. Pour syrup into a jar and allow it to cool completely.
  5. Refrigerate for several hours before use.
  6. To make snow cone, mound shaved ice in a snow cone cup or bowl. Pour your homemade syrup over the ice and dig in!

Bonus recipe: 

August also happens to be National Coffee Month. If you’re a kid at heart who still needs their afternoon caffeine, here’s a recipe for a delicious coffee syrup for a cold treat fit for grown ups.

What you’ll need:

  • 1 cup of strong coffee
  • ½ cup of water
  • 2 tbs of lemon juice
  • Small pan

What to do:

  1. Boil ingredients in a small pan.
  2. Set in fridge to cool.
  3. Pour over shaved ice.

The summer celebrations don’t have to stop when school starts! Keep a taste of summer going as long as possible by enjoying after-school snow cones to cool off and celebrate a long day of learning.

What’s your favorite DIY snow cone syrup flavor? Let us know!

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DIY Water Parks: Build a Backyard Aquatic Adventure

With Summer in full swing, it’s no surprise that the weather outside has been getting hot, hot, hot!

Instead of shelling out money, waiting in line, and dealing with the stresses of taking the family to a water park, we have another idea: bring the water park to you! By skipping the hassles of a busy water park and working together to set up these fun water games in the grass, you’ll have tons of fun as a family.

Read on for some easy and fun ways to transform your backyard into an amusement oasis for the kids —and the kids-at-heart!

Water Balloon Piñatas

Water balloons are a summer classic. Turn the hot weather staple into something new by hanging oversized water balloons from a tree branch or the monkey bars, then take turns breaking your water piñatas with a baseball bat. (Just make sure you clean up all the broken balloons once you’re done so any furry friends don’t accidentally eat them.)

For a little extra fun, award a popsicle prize that corresponds with the color of each balloon you break!

Pool Noodle Sprinklers

It’s easy to transform a pool noodle—another classic summertime staple—into a refreshing sprinkler. Just poke holes into your pool noodle, plug the opening on one side and then attach the mouth of a garden hose into the other side. When you turn on the water, you’ll have a fun H2O gadget ready for any party. Read even more detailed instructions here.

Human-Sized Bubble-Maker

via GIPHY

Blowing bubbles and a warm summer breeze go together like peanut butter and jelly. These human-sized bubbles will put wonder and awe into the eyes of your guests.

All you need is a lot of bubble solution, a plastic kiddie pool and a hula hoop. Fill up the pool with the bubble solution, then have one of your guests stand inside the hula hoop inside the pool. When they pull up on the hula hoop, the bubble will envelope the person inside. This is a great way to add some whimsy to your backyard waterpark.

Slip ‘N-’ Slide

Photo via Flickr user Fred Rockwood

No backyard water park would be complete without a slip ‘n-’ slide. As it turns out, DIY slip ‘n-’ slides tend to be more durable than their storebought counterparts. Gather up heavy plastic sheeting, dish soap and stakes to secure the plastic to the ground. For full instructions on how to build a heavy-duty slip ‘n-’ slide that’ll be a hit all season, head here.

We hope these ideas have sparked your imagination and added some fun to your summer. Always remember to stay hydrated when you’re outdoors—even when you’re surrounded by water!

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