The Web can be downright spooky at times. But there are times when that's a good thing. If you and your family are preparing for Halloween, you'll find almost everything you need on the Web.
Let's start with the obvious: costumes. While you can buy almost any costume you can imagine, it's more fun (and costs less) to make your own.
That's why a good starting point for our ghostly tour is a Web page called Mary's Halloween Costumes at cgi.cadvision.com/~burke/halloween/costumes.htm. Unlike many of the Halloween costume pages you'll find, the costumes described here aren't for sale. Instead, you'll get hints for doing it yourself.
Some are as traditional as the easy-to-make ghost costume -- all you need is an old white sheet -- or, for avant garde ghosts, try something more colorful. Others are as wild as dressing a child as a bunch of grapes (think of a grape cluster made from balloons).
Another site that offers help with homemade costumes is sponsored by Crayola and is located at www.familyplay.com/advice/mccracken/d1012.adv.html. This site offers general advice on selecting a character and safety considerations. (If you plan to have a vampire in your household, make sure you use plenty of reflective tape and other bright accessories so that automobile traffic can spot the vampire easily.)
That same page also offers links to information on planning Halloween parties and for cooking Halloween treats.
Let's look at one last Halloween costume site before we move on --it's at www.funfolly.com/h/ca01a.htm. This is a commercial site, offering to sell costumes. The point of using this site isn't necessarily to buy the costumes. Instead, you can use the photographs as idea starters for the kind of costume you make at home.
For many kids and grown-ups, Halloween also is a time for parties. As you would expect, there's help in party planning from the Web, too. Halloween Games for Kids at www.geocities.com/NapaValley/7458/hgames.htm may give you some ideas for the sort of entertainment to offer. Truth is, some grown-ups might get a kick out of these games, too. One game, for instance, involves dividing partygoers into teams, giving them a roll of toilet paper and assigning each team to make a mummy. The best mummy wins.
Another page offering Halloween game advice is at www.gamekids.com/hallow3.html. You'll find dozens of games (and several recipes for party food) on the various links from this page.
Since this is the age of computer-generated party invitations, you may need a few graphics to make your invitations look right. Or you may have a personal Web page and be in desperate need of a photo or drawing of a black cat, ghost or pumpkin.
There are hundreds of Web pages that offer graphics free for the downloading. One of these pages is CSP Halloween Graphics at www.cyberspaceplace.com/halloweenbacks.html. The only catch is that, if you use an image on a Web page, you are asked to give credit to this site in the form of a link.
That's our tour of the haunted Web. Just save some time to get out in the world and get some Halloween candy, which can be much more satisfying than the eye candy you'll find on the Web.