The lights dim. Mist rolls through a graveyard full of tilted tombstones. Screams fill the air as the most horrific sight ever seen rises from the grave little Billy, complete with plastic fangs and a crepe cape.

Putting on a Halloween play can be one of the most enjoyable and fun things that you and your kids can do together, but how can you create the appropriately spooky atmosphere?

Do-It-Yourself Props
You could visit the local Halloween stores that seem to rise from the grave like the undead every year; they are always well stocked with suitably gory props. But what if you don't want to spend a bundle on something that will only get a few hours' worth of use each year?

The answer is build your own. It's easy and less of a pain in the neck than any aspiring Vampire could ever hope to be.

The easiest and probably cheapest route is the good-old Jack-o-Lantern. Grab a few suitable pumpkins and get the kids to help you to hollow them out with a spoon, you can use this hollow to pBewitching Pumpkinut in a small votive candle later to add to the effect. Draw a suitably scary face on the front and then carefully cut it out. And there you have it: the classic Halloween icon.

If your kids are too young to handle a knife then why not have them paint some ghoulish faces onto the pumpkin instead. Just be sure you use non-toxic paint and cover anything that you don't want to get a new coat of paint.

DIY Tombstones
No Halloween play is ever going to be complete without gravestones. They set the mood every time and have instant recognition you see a gravestone and you know you're in for a fright. To make your own just grab yourself some empty boxes, large cereal boxes should do the trick, and a few sheets of gray heavy-duty art paper from the store. Mold the paper around the boxes and fix it with glue until you have a passable headstone.

No headstone is ever complete without a suitable epitaph. Grab a pen and paper and write down a few funny lines before you write your final choices onto the gravestones with a black marker pen. Here's one to get you going: "Here lies poor Paul who fell into a grinder may he rest in pieces." Don't be put off being silly, the cornier the better is the rule of the day.

Creepy Crawlies
What would any horror movie be if it did not have some suitably eerie animals hanging around? Everybody goes bats for bats. Grab some more of that heavy-duty black art paper and draw some bat shaped outlines with a marker pen. Carefully cut them out and you can hang your new found pets from ceilings or stick them to walls with a little putty (if your kids are helping and they are young, make sure you use suitable kid-safe scissors).

And don't forget to add the finishing touch with some spider webs. You can make them by just taking a length of utility string and fashioning them into the shape of a web. You can hang them from corners or between the tombstones you made earlier.

Halloween is all about fun, and with a little bit of imagination you can save a lot of your money just by utilizing items you have around the house. Google Halloween props for more ideas that can add to both you and your kids Halloween.