Jack-o-lanterns prepared by Scotty Maxwell and Kristi Wood are pictured outside their McAlester home. To have your pumpkin carving skills recognized by the McAlester News-Capital, please e-mail photos to photo@mcalesternews.com

McAlester Mayor Kevin Priddle says he’s making a change in the hours set for trick-or-treating during Halloween this Sunday.

Priddle said he had originally set the city’s trick or treat time from 5 p.m. until 7 p.m. on Sunday.

“However, I’m going to modify it from 6 to 9 p.m.,” Priddle said. The night set for trick or treating will continue to be Sunday, which is Halloween.

The mayor said he decided on the expanding trick or treat hours of from 6 p.m. until 9 p.m. on Sunday for several reasons.

 “This allows for both a longer time, a time when it will be dark and an opportunity for individuals to be attend Sunday services and still go trick or treating if they wish,” Priddle said.

Meanwhile, Halloween preparations are under way.

Halloween decorations can be costly and high tech, but you don’t need to spend a scary amount of money on decorations for your yard to be able to get your neighbors to say “Boo!”

The most essential part of any Halloween yard decoration comes courtesy of the humble pumpkin, which can be had at any grocery store for less than $10 (for a heftier larger pumpkin, cheaper for smaller pumpkins).

A pumpkin carving party will produce a few worthy jack-o-lanterns to adorn your doorway, (and you can keep the leftover seeds and pulp for snacks and future pie.)

Tea lights placed carefully in paper bags are an easy to way to light up the area near your fence or the footpath to your doorstep.

But, this impromptu lighting method is just a mood setter and will not make your yard creepy enough.

For that you’ll need a packet or two of cotton balls, stretched thinly across your trees, with a handful of plastic spiders dotting the makeshift cobwebs to complete the look, both of which will likely be available at your local market.

In addition to spider webs, no Halloween yard is complete without a ghost or two, something that can be scared up with a trusty old sheet, a pair of scissors (or a Sharpie, depending on your preference to make the scary face) and a stick in the ground to hold up the makeshift ghost (or ghosts).

Depending on how hair-raising you want to get, you can get some planting dirt and craft a makeshift headstone out of grey cardboard to make a fake grave.

Extra spooky points for the stuffed sleeves sticking out of the ground.

For the big night, if you want add extra oomph to your haunted yard, bring out your old boom box and play a tape of ghost sounds and screams on a loop (if you’re really feeling adventurous, record them yourself).

Cheap costume ideas for kids:

 You don’t need to spend big bucks to get a costume for your kids that will win the school's Halloween costume contest. You should be able to look inside your own closets to find easily recognizable and classic looks.

The Cowboy:

For the gunslinger, grab a pair of jeans (for girls, a jean skirt instead of jeans), cowboy boots (or brown tennis shoes), a plaid button-up shirt, a red bandanna tied around the neck, and cowboy hat (procured from any grocery store from the holiday aisle will do).

If you have a toy holster on hand, even better.

A little rope to make a fake lasso, and he's really authentic.

The Little Indian Girl:

For the Native American Indian girl, find an a-line tan or brown dress, and a pair of moccasins. Add a feather to her hair and a little stripe of red lipstick to create some facepaint. (If you are extra handy, make your own dress out of a dark brown sheet, cutting out the neck and arms and creating faux fringe at the bottom.)

The Littlest Ghost:

One of the fastest and cheapest of Halloween costumes is the always reliable ghost costume.

Take a white sheet, and cut out holes where the mouth and eyes go. Outline the area with a Sharpies to give it extra oomph.

Make sure your child knows how to say “Boo” on cue.

The Detective:

If you have a trench coat handy and a low-slung fedora hat borrowed from dad, anyone can become a private eye.

Stuff the pockets with a notepad, a pair of toy cufflinks, and hang some binoculars around the detective's neck. The neighbors will think that they are in the midst of the next Sherlock Holmes.

The Pirate:

Turn the tiny members of your household into swashbuckling pirates with a pair of dark jeans or sweatpants (black, preferred), a striped shirt, an eyepatch, and a little stubble created with some brown or grey eyeshadow.

Top it off a bandana on his or her head, and a toy sword.

Just make sure you teach them how to say, “Argh.”

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