Spook up your Halloween: Tried-and-tested home, pet, make-up and gift guide
Looking for ways to spook up your Halloween?
Why not get the whole family - even the cat - involved with these frightfully brilliant creepy gift and home ideas. We've tried and tested them, so you don't have to.
Bat Skull Charm - Cheshire & Wain - £19 - http://www.cheshireandwain.com/all-products/bat-skull-charm - 3.5/5
Get your feline Halloween ready with this tiny bat skull charm for its collar, made from solid brass.
Though this charm is around a quarter of a size of a one pence piece, it is stunning - and the detail on the miniature skull is incredible; even down to the care taken over the sculpting of each tooth, and bends and cavities in the skull.
Due to its small size, it also helps eliminate the chances of the item getting caught as your puss jumps and climbs.
Though it is a little overpriced at £19, it truly is a one-off piece unlike anything I’ve seen before - and perfect for the purring predator in your living room.
The only thing I would change is to make is slightly larger, as if your cat’s fluffy, their fur may hide it.
Trunkaroo - Spooky Pets - £20 - 4/5 - www.trunkaroo.com
Want to be creative with your kids but don't know where to start? Then Trunkaroo could be for you.
Suitable for children aged between three and eight, these mail order boxes contain all the items you need to help your little one learn - and have fun - at home.
Subscribers to Trunkaroo can look forward to one-off or periodical deliveries of do-at-home projects focused on science, technology and art.
We trialled the Halloween-themed Trunkaroo, which contained all the goodies you need to make a spooky flying bat and a pom-pom monster.
From child-friendly scissors to stickers and easy-to-follow instructions, this box was a real treat for both children and adults.
In addition, there's a mini magazine with further ideas for at-home craft activities.
At £20, it's not cheap but if you're not very confident at putting together your own DIY activities then this is for you.
Rest & Regenerate (with pumpkin) night serum - £39 - Angela Langford - 5/5 - http://www.angelalangford.com/natural-night-balms/26-rest-and-regenerate.html
Though it may seem a little pricey on the face of it, this little pot of balm goes perhaps twice as far as a normal cream - perhaps further. Despite this, the balm itself soaks into the skin beautifully and has a delightful scent, thanks to its 100 per cent natural ingredients; which include avocado, macadamia and pumpkin.
This luxurious, stunning product leaves skin feeling refreshed and looking visibly more youthful and healthy.
Though this balm may be a little heavy for those with oily skin, it is absolutely excellent for medium to dry, even very dry, skin types.
A Little Lift (with pumpkin) firming face serum - £31 - Angela Langford - 4/5 - http://www.angelalangford.com/natural-face-serums/22-a-little-lift.html
This thin, yet luxurious face serum is an absolute delight to use. I’ve tried a fair few face serums - and, due to the fact I have very dry skin, have often found they are not strong enough, and leave my skin feeling tight and itchy.
This cream, however, is wonderful. One use (a little goes a long way) and my skin instantly feels smooth, hydrated and firm.
For those who like to mix creams with concealer and foundation, this is ideal for such use, as it mixes wonderfully; as it is neither thick or greasy.
The serum contains pumpkin, frankincense and electric daisy - and the scent produced from these ingredients makes this luscious cream all the more delightful to use, and the scent stays with you for a good few hours.
What else is so lovely about this product is the fact it is made from 99 per cent natural ingredients - so you know there are no nasty perfumes or chemicals which may result in irritation.
This serum won Silver at The Green Parent Natural Beauty Awards 2014 - and it’s clear to see why.
Playmobil Ghostbusters Car - 4/5 - £39.99 - http://www.playmobil.co.uk/ghostbusters%E2%84%A2-ecto-1/9220.html
I’ve loved Playmobil for as long as I can remember, but my how far their products have come since the early 90s. The figures themselves remain largely the same, but the car in this set is outstanding.
Each figure - Winston Zeddemore and Janine Melnitz - comes wearing a Ghostbusters uniform, with removable hair and backpack Proton Packs which clip on to the figures’ backs. To clip on to these Proton Packs are Proton Wands, making it appear that the pair are shooting laser-like ammo. They also come with an opening ghost trap (though I was a little disappointed this has to be opened manually, with no trigger) and a PKE meter for measuring psychokinetic energy.
Silicon slime splats also come in the set, which stick to the car and other smooth surfaces.
The car itself is awesome - and many a guest has commented on it after seeing it on display in our home. It has a working light and sound module on the roof, which sounds the original siren sound and flashes blue lights.
The only thing I was disappointed with was the fact the doors do not open, so the roof must be removed to sit the figurines inside the car.
An excellent gift for a huge range of ages. It contains 79 pieces though; so it wouldn’t be suitable for young children due to the complexity and small parts.
Crazy Colour - Platinum colour (£4) and Bleaching Kit (£5.20) - 4/5 - dye: http://www.crazycolor.co.uk/shop/products/ bleach: https://www.capitalhairandbeauty.co.uk/brands/crazy-color/crazy-color-bleaching-kit
This colour and bleach kit is ideal for anyone wanting to try out some Crazy Colours this Halloween.
Choose from a huge array of shades, from Rose Gold, to Sapphire, Lime Twist, Capri Blue, Emerald Green, Lilac, Candy Floss and Silver. Each dye comes in a small pink bottle which, despite my VERY thick hair - which reaches past my shoulders - covered the entire head.
I cannot comment on how the colour would look without bleaching first, as I needed the bleach to strip my hair of dark brown and red tones.
As would normally be expected, it took three boxes of bleach to cover my hair - and though the result (again, as expected) was white roots and orange ends, it was covered very well by the Platinum dye.
For those intending to use these products in the same manner I did, I would recommend investing in some silver shampoo - as, no matter how good a bleach is, brassy tones will always be the end result for those with red tints.
The dye itself was very easy to use, went far and left my hair looking shiny - despite all the bleaching. It is also incredibly good value for money.
The bleach, on the other hand, did not go very far at all. It did, however, give better than the results I had hoped for. Still an absolute bargain at £5.20 per kit.
Barratt’s Sweet Champions sharing tub - £5 - and Sweet Champions Halloween bag - £1 - 5/5 - available from Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Asda
If you love old school sweets, you’ll absolutely rave over these.
Anyone over the age of 25 will be transported back to their school days with these tremendous sharing tubs, containing Refreshers, Black Jacks, Sherbert Fountains, Wham bars and Dip Dabs.
Especially for Halloween, the firm has also released a seasonal selection bag, containing mini packs of Refreshers, Refreshers lollies, a selection of different flavoured Wham bars, Black Jack lollies, Fruit Salad lollies and Dip Dab lollies.
These are absolutely ideal either for Trick or Treaters - or simply for a treat to keep in the home.
Want my advice? Ignore the kids at the door and keep them to yourself. The ideal substitute for popcorn while watching horror movies this Halloween. YUM!
Haribo - Trick or Treat (£1), Scaremix (£1), Tangfas Tricks (£1), Scaremix and Tangfas Tricks Duo Tub (£5) - 5/5 - available from leading, national supermarkets and independent retailers
Kids and adults love it so… And it’s no different at Halloween - especially with the added scarily sour and spicy Tangfas Tricks and the special edition Starmixes, complete with green eggs and blue and purple hearts.
These are great - the individual bags are ideal for giving out at Halloween (no one wants loose sweets floating around in their kids’ treat bags), while the Duo Tub is excellent for Halloween parties or gatherings.
The eery theme continues through all the items - including the individually-wrapped Trick Or Treat bag, which includes jelly bats, spiders and pumpkins.
Inglot False Lash Effect Mascara - £13 - 4/5 - https://inglotuk.com/mascara/58-false-lash-effect-mascara
This tremendous mascara is among the best I’ve tried. Upon initial application, this mascara perfectly highlights each lash, and spreads them evenly. With the second application, however, the mascara builds up; creating a stunning, false-lash like effect. Keep building until you get the desired effect.
My only complaint about this mascara is, if you build it up too much, fibres do drop onto your skin after a little while, leaving you with black dots and, occasionally, smudges.
But for those, like me, who cannot apply false lashes for anything, this is a great alternative.
And a steal for £13.
Inglot AMC Eyeliner Gel - £13 - 4/5 - https://inglotuk.com/eyeliner/99-amc-eyeliner-gel#/amc_eyeliner_gel-74
This vibrant eyeliner is ideal for creating stand-out looks this Halloween.
Though £13 is a tad high in price, this gel eyeliner has great staying power and achieves a bold colour (mine was in purple), thanks to the product’s high intensity pigments.
Once applied and allowed to dry, the eyeliner does not smudge or run either; making it ideal for any spooky parties.
This eyeliner is also hypoallergenic and waterproof.
Game Of Thrones Mask: House of Targaryen Dragon - Carlton Books - £14.99 - 3.5/5 - https://www.carltonbooks.co.uk/game-of-thrones-mask-house-targaryen-dragon.html
This unique concept is a wonderful activity for a rainy day this Halloween - and a superb surprise for any Game Of Thrones fan.
HBO and Carlton Books have teamed up to bring out this collection of mask books, designed by Wintercroft. Choose from a White Walker design, the House of Stark Direwolf, House of Lannister Lion or the House of Targaryen Dragon. We went for the latter.
For the low price of £14.99, this great set is fairly easy to put together - but you will need glue or tape (and a fair bit of patience) to do so.
There are lots of pieces to it too, so it may not be suitable for small children.
Once built, the impressive 3D cardboard mask can either be worn (ideal for trick or treating or fancy dress) - be careful though, it’s still fairly fragile - or mounted on the wall.
7th Heaven: Halloween Trick Or Treat Yourself Peel-Off - £1 - 3.5/5 - Asda
Trick or Treat yourself to this luscious face mask this Halloween.
The slimy green mask is in fact a repackaged version of the firm’s menthol cucumber mask - a refreshing, minty viscous liquid which turns into a silicon-type material once applied to the skin.
Though it is not the most intense of masks, it’s very refreshing and tingly - and leaves the skin feeling more firm, smooth and plumped. Having dry skin, however, I could have done with something a little more hydrating.
I also worried it may be an issue to peel off; but the mask came off in one whole piece - with the exception of the odd bit left around my hairline. These bits came off very easily with water, however.
Encona Carolina Reaper Chilli Sauce - £1.49 (142ml) - ⅗ - http://www.enconasauces.co.uk/product-range/americas/encona-limited-edition-carolina-reaper-chilli-sauce/
Inject some danger into your dishes with this limited edition sauce offering straight from the flames of hell.
My other half is a huge fan of all things spicy - so he couldn't wait to sample the cause covered in a bold label stating ‘try at your own risk’.
Made with the world’s hottest chilli - the carolina reaper - I was expecting a world of pain the minute I tried a tiny droplet of the bright orange concoction.
I was pleasantly surprised that this sauce blended heat as well as flavour, to create a spicy mix that was actually incredibly tasty.
Tomato, cumin and garlic worked fantastically with the carolina reaper to tone down it’s harsh flavour, making it a perfect addition to various dishes.
My other half, an avid fan of hot food, did not think this sauce quite lived up to it’s bold claims that it would challenge even the bravest of chilli lovers - but he did agree that the sauce was packed full of flavour and a nice addition to Encona’s already extensive range of high-quality offerings.
Not so much a challenge to a lover of spice, the Encona Limited Edition Carolina Reaper Chilli Sauce is a tasty addition to any condiment collectors kitchen.
Leighton Denny Halloween Nail Varnish - £12 each - 5/5 - https://www.leightondennyexpertnails.com/kaleidoscope/black/maneater?p=3190
Get your claws in top shape ready for Halloween with these brand new shades from Leighton Denny.
Each of the bold new shades come in a sleek, thick glass bottle with a simple logo emblazoned across the side.
Often enticing packaging makes up for a lacklustre product - but this was not the case with these spooky shades as everything about them was absolutely flawless.
Three new colours have been released for Halloween - Maneater is a glossy sumptuous black, Caught Red Handed a shimmering metallic red and Miss Behavin’ a mysterious midnight blue.
The best thing about these varnishes is how deep the colour is, so much so that only one coat of the polish was needed to completely cover my nail.
The polishes dried quickly and were incredibly hard-wearing - only one coat on managed to last three to four days with no chips, and more than a week with two coats.
Perfect for Halloween partying and a week of work while still looking glam, Leighton Denny’s new Halloween nail varnishes are worth every single penny for a flawless finish.
Halloween 2017 Half Pint Mug - £19.95 - ⅘ - https://www.emmabridgewater.co.uk/invt/1hal060002
Stoke-on-Trent’s Emma Bridgewater is known for their bold and unique designs on their varied and timeless products - and their Halloween offerings are no different.
If you’re planning a quiet night in with a horror film this Halloween, Emma Bridgewater’s Halloween 2017 Half Pint Mug is perfect to warm your bones with a hot drink.
Ripening pumpkins a-plenty watched over by a wise owl create an intricate and beautiful Halloween scene on this mug.
Beautiful designs are not just on the sides either - lines of pumpkins grace the inside rim of the mug, as well as a cheeky owl and pumpkin only visible when you take a sip of your drink.
These quirky features are made even more apparent by its bevelled edge base and wide handle like an ale tankard.
Despite it’s delicate illustrations, the mug is hard-wearing and chunky without being heavy.
Almost £20 may seem a little steep for a mug - but considering it’s beautiful and quirky illustrations and design and top-quality materials, this mug really is worth the hefty price tag.
Great for a warm night escaping the chilling weather , drink your hot beverages in style with the Emma Bridgewater Halloween 2017 Half Price Mug.
The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty - £39.95 - 5/5 - http://www.foliosociety.com/book/EXC/exorcist
To mark the passing of William Peter Blatty who died in January this year, The Folio Society have produced a stunning illustrated edition of his classic horror novel The Exorcist.
Bound in blood-red, hard back material with gold foil lettering - the book’s appearance from the outside is as ominous and bold as the tale within.
Inspired by the real-life exorcism of a child in the 1940s, The Exorcist follows the gripping tale of a young girl thought possessed, and the small group of determined individuals who race against time to save her.
This tale comes frighteningly to life with haunting illustrations from acclaimed artist Jeremy Caniglia that encapsulate the the gruesome scenes that inspired the novel itself.
These illustrations lend themselves perfectly to the chilling words on the page - and put you right in the mind of the author himself.
The book holds its audience in a vice-like grip of terror and intrigue like never before in this beautiful tribute to William Peter Blatty.
On top of being gorgeous, this book is also hard-wearing to protect all of the beauty inside - and comes in a sleek and sophisticated hard black case for safe-keeping.
Horror isn’t all about films - you’ll be having nightmares after reading the chilling tale of The Exorcist, given a new lease of life by The Folio Society.
Jelly Belly Bean Boozled - £2.40 - ⅘ - https://www.hawkin.com/bean-boozled or https://www.jellybelly.co.uk/beanboozled-4th-edition-45g
Do you dare take a sweet out of the Bean Boozled packet? Myself, my friends and my partner have had hours of fun with this daring product perfect for your next product.
Containing flavours such as Stinky socks, tutti-fruitti, lawn clippings, lime, rotten egg, buttered popcorn, toothpaste, berry blue, vomit, peach, canned dog food, chocolate pudding, booger, juicy pear, baby wipes, coconut - these beans are not for the faint hearted.
You may think that these flavours would not be true to life, and you couldn’t be more wrong. This product would not be well-suited to someone with a weak stomach with their strong and sometimes very unpleasant flavours that can only be revealed when it’s already too late.
There are no subtle difference in appearance between the nice and naughty beans - making them all the more fun.
We spent hours laughing and gagging over the weird and wacky flavours, and a lot of time sighing when we got a peach bean rather than a vomit one!
Everyone can join in with the fun - as these beans are gelatine free and kosher.
Easy on the wallet and brilliant fun, a packet of Jelly Belly Bean Boozled is perfect for your Halloween party... If you’re brave enough.
By Kirsten Rawlins and Rebecca Stanley
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