With the Halloween weekend set to be a wet one, Samantha Darville shares a few tips of cheap and easy ways to keep the family entertained.
Your very own Great British Bake Off
Following the finale of this year's Great British Bake Off, I'm sure the whole family has a favourite recipe they'd like to try. Get together, switch the oven on and get baking. It only costs 9p in energy to make four large baguettes, so get some of your favourite cold fillings and that's lunch sorted for the whole family. You could even turn them into scary witch's fingers.
Primp my Pumpkin
It's Halloween and the perfect time for a pumpkin carving competition. You can carve and decorate the pumpkin with the whole family, and even make great soup with the leftover insides.
Arts and crafts to stop that draft
As it gets colder you might notice a draft coming under the doors. You can take care of this whilst getting creative as a family. Get your old socks, fill them up with rice and tie a knot in the end. Then get an old pair of clean tights and cut one of the legs off, before stuffing it with the rice-filled socks and you have an energy-efficient homemade draft excluder. You could even add eyes and other details to make it look like a scary snake or ghastly ghost!
Scary family film time
If your family's anything like mine, then you've probably got a couple of TVs in different rooms, plus a laptop and tablet to boot! Instead of all watching different programmes in different rooms, agree on a film the whole family will enjoy and watch it all together. Take inspiration from the latest James Bond film and re-run some of your old Bond favourites or if you're brave enough, select a scary one and hide behind the cushions together.
Swap the computer game for a board game
Games consoles can be great if the kids don't have anyone else to play with, but if the
whole family is together switch the computer off and set up a family board game instead.
Raid the wardrobe
Half term is a perfect time to spend an hour rooting through all the wardrobes for some fancy dress costumers. Challenge the family to try and make a fancy dress outfit each from whatever they can find. It also gives you the chance to fill a bag up with any unwanted clothes and drop it off at the charity shop.
Steer away from those energy-guzzling appliances like shavers, hair dryers and straighteners and opt for a family duvet day. Chill out, and enjoy the time with the kids away from your otherwise busy lives and routines. Read books, play cards and even get involved with the latest craze - adult colouring books.
Spooky story time
As the nights draw in, it's the perfect time of year for a spooky story. Build a den in the living room and switch off all the lights. Using only a torch, read some scary stories or try to create some new ones together.
Learn a new skill
Challenge the family to learn a new skill using something from around the house. Whether it's an old guitar or a "teach yourself French book", set aside a couple of hours over the weekend and by Sunday evening you will have learned something new together. Et Voila!
At the end of a busy day when you're relaxing together, take stock of all the gadgets you have in your home and which can be turned off to save power. Ensure all electrical appliances are turned off at the plug as some items can still use energy when plugged in, even if they are turned off. If you have smart meters, then you can use your in-home display to see how much energy is being used in near real time, in pounds and pence, so it's easy to see where you can make simple changes to help manage your energy consumption.
More energy-saving tips from British Gas can be found here: http://www.britishgas.co.uk/help-and-advice/save-energy-save-money/Energy-saving-tips/top-10-energy-saving-tips.html