Front Yard Halloween Decorations can be Fun for Kids Too

While many think of Halloween as a time for scares, parents of small children might want to consider a different approach. But the decorations don't have to be frightening. In fact, the holiday can be a very charming one by focusing on pumpkins, candy and the fun of costumes. There are even movies geared for younger audiences. After all, consider Casper the friendly ghost.

Below is a list of ideas for decorating your front yard this Halloween that will be fun for the little ones too. While your children might hurry past those homes that have skeletons coming out of the ground, or spiders crawling over the door, you can rest assured knowing they will be thrilled about their Halloween-themed home. It will also make the most of the season.

A Fresh Take on the Familiar
When trying to find ways to implement the staples that have become common tropes of the holiday, such as pumpkin carving or scarecrows, consider putting a spin on it.

  • Pumpkins: Carved pumpkins don't have to have scary faces. And really, it is the act of actually creating something that is hugely fun for the children. While you shouldn't let your child carve their own pumpkin, you can absolutely let them pick out a face they like, or maybe consider a favorite familiar character. It could even accompany a costume they are wearing. Maybe this year it's Iron Man. Why not his face on the pumpkin? Maybe it's a princess, or they just want a friendly ghost face. Maybe your child wants to incorporate color or different designs. Painting pumpkins has become quite a trend, as it allows the creator to do more, and it also lasts longer than one that has been hollowed out. And when it comes to painting pumpkins, your child can also help, rather than just watching the parents cut away. Providing your children with a more hands-on activity is always a winner.
  • Scarecrows: Again, creating a scarecrow can be a fun activity for the kids. Instead of calling it a scarecrow, consider the term "mascot." Or you can even give your creation a name that the family comes up with. Let the kids take some of the parents' old clothes and dress up the mascot as they want. Give it life with buttons for eyes. Keep it warm with a raggedy scarf. This is also a great way to get rid of those leaves that have begun to fall and populate your front yard. How often do children get to stuff leaves into a sweatshirt?
  • Ghosts: Ghosts can smile! Take advantage of those bare branches and hang some ghosts with smiling faces. They can be purchased from your nearest Halloween outlet store or you can use old sheets and make them yourself. If you do create your own, think about attaching little buckets so they appear to be trick-or-treating.

Making the Most of the Season
There is more to Halloween than just the novelty of decorating. There are fall colors you can incorporate into your landscaping as well.

  • Flowers: Setting flower arrangements inside pumpkins is a great way to use elements of the season. Flower arrangements with orange gerberas paired with maroon miniature carnations, or orange roses paired with orange asiatic lilies and red cushion mums will show that the season is alive and well in your home. Black dahlias are a seasonal favorite as well.
  • Gourds: Like pumpkins, you can apply some color or even wording to decorate your gourds. They don't have to accompany other arrangements, as they can be decorated to stand on their own and be just as prominent. Maybe you want to write on them, perhaps a letter on each. You can write Happy Halloween, or maybe even your family name.

4 Creative Ways to Avoid Lawn Damage on Halloween

Halloween requires preparations before the little vampires and ghosts show up looking for candy. And while you have concerns about safety and keeping your lawn from being damaged, they are going to have an entirely different set of their own concerns. Trick-or-treaters see a door, probably decorated, and a bowl of sweets that they know they are allowed to choose from, if only this one night. Their goal is to get to that front door, to that bowl, and if the walkway isn't the most desirable route, there is a definite possibility they are going to trudge right through the lawn.

But it doesn't have to be so. Below are 4 creative ways to keep your lawn from being damaged this Halloween:

Clear A Path
Providing a path is definitely beneficial. Not only does it allow you to orchestrate your foot traffic, but also can be fun for the little ones. An open walkway leading to the Halloween candy provides a moment of anticipation. The children know they are in for something good when they see a decorated path on which to walk. Use any sort of decorations you'd like, but don't make it cluttered. Keep your path clean and open. This will make it easier for kids to come and go at the same time, without having the path getting bogged down, which could cause some of them to resort to the grass.

Lighting Can Be Helpful and Fun
Lighting is important for safety, but can also be used as decoration. If your path is illuminated with jack-o'-lanterns or maybe orange string lights, it is clear to the costumed children which way to go. And similar to the decorated pathway, children might feel as if they are missing out if they don't walk through the festive lighting. If your lighting decorations are fun, then kids will take to it.

This lighting should apply to the front door too, or wherever your candy station is going to be. A lit pathway must have a well-illuminated destination. Lanterns are great for this. Maybe litter them with some spider webs so kids won't get too close.

Use The Driveway
It is common to use the front door as a station for Halloween visitors, but that doesn't have to be the case. Kids will follow the decorated, illuminated pathway to the candy wherever it may be. Consider setting up a station in the driveway to wait for those walking in costumes. A small fire pit would be a nice addition, as it will allow you to sit outside all night and you won't have to worry about anyone being confused about where to go. You could light the outdoor grill or use your screen covered portable basin. No one will be on the grass heading for the front door, as it will be clear that there is a spooky fire going on in the driveway.

Decorations Can Be Deterrents
When choosing Halloween decorations, many people often go for those items that will turn the lawn into a graveyard. While this is fun, objects on the lawn or garden can potentially cause damage to the grass and flowers. Also, those excellent and creative decorations invite kids to pay games around them and even provide opportunities for Halloween photos. After all, most kids won't be visiting actual graveyards on Halloween night, but if you have one in your yard they might just take to it.

Instead, think of one good decoration, like a zombie hand reaching out of the ground, or even a series of them surrounding your garden. Use the rest of your decorations as a sort of border. Maybe you have a fence, in which case your solution is there. But if not, maybe make one with skeleton bone stakes or witches' brooms. These decorations aren't too scary, but make the point.

Scary Halloween Themes for Front Yards this Fall

If you love all things ghost and ghoul-related, Halloween is absolutely the best time to exhibit your affection for the eerie with a frightening front yard display. This holiday is certainly an opportunity to go all out as bigger is always better during Halloween.

Incorporating scary Halloween themes into your outdoor presentation is sure to make your home a favorite haunt this season. Children will fearfully brave your walkway during trick-or-treating and families will enjoy walking past your yard of horrors.

Now is the time to starting planning, so here are some great tips and ideas for creating scary Halloween-themed front yard displays:

Create A Graveyard 
A great staple to any scary front yard is, of course, a spooky graveyard. Strategically placed headstones around your lawn create an excellent base for the rest of your decor and certainly up the creepy factor. Feel free to make them different sizes and textures for a more interesting look and to make it more resemble a real cemetery.

You can opt for pre-made foam tombstones that appear aged and weathered or you can make your own. Choose a firm Styrofoam and trace different tombstone shapes in piece to be cut out. Paint the foam with a latex gray paint, then give it an aged look by highlighting the edges in black - be sure to blend to avoid lines that are too severe. You can also go over parts lightly with sandpaper. Once the tombstones are done, you can write an epitaph on each and place them around your yard. You can even glue moss to the tops and place stones around the bottom for even more of an effect.

To make it even scarier, you might consider adding a zombie or two crawling out of a grave. To achieve this, you can bury hands part way in the ground that appear to be crawling up from the ground. Be sure to set out some bouquets of flowers as well to give the impression that loved ones have visited the deceased.

Headless Horseman Greeter
If you want to give trick-or-treaters a fright, have the headless horseman greet them at your door. HGTV suggest having him hold a "candy" sign in one hand and his jack-o'-lantern head in the other. To create your character, you can fill trash bags with paper and roll them to create a log and stick them in the pant and arm legs of pants and a jacket, then tie a cape around his neck.

Flying Ghosts
No yard would be complete without a spirit or two flying about. Ghosts are great and easy for Halloween decor. To create a flying ghost, attach two yard sticks to a paint roller so they look like a Y with a line down the center, then secure the bottom of the paint roller into your front yard. Place a large foam ball on the top of the paint roller and smaller foam balls to the ends of each yard stick. Drape sheets of cheesecloth over the structure until you get the desired ghost look, and you can use a spray bottle filled with liquid starch to ensure that the cheesecloth sticks to the foam and the rest can float in the breeze. Once that's dry, cut out two eyes and a mouth from black felt and paste them to the ghost's head, and then your specter will be ready to haunt passers by.

Giant Spider​ Webs
Add another layer of spooky by putting up cotton spider​ webs. You can string them from your stoop and around bushes and trees in your front lawn. You can also drape spider​ webs over the tombstones. To make even more of an effect, you can put plastic spiders and/or bats in the webs.

Easy Homemade Halloween Decorations for Your Porch

Halloween is certainly one of the most fun holidays to decorate for, but it doesn't mean you have to create the scariest front porch on the block. Instead, you might be wondering how to make Halloween decorations and if there are easy projects you and your kids can complete.

The good news is that there are plenty of homemade Halloween decoration options you can try that range from classic and fall-inspired that incorporate leaves, flowers and rich autumn tones to holiday classics like jack -o' -lanterns and ghosts. Whichever direction you choose, you and your children are sure to have a blast putting together stunning decorations to make your porch plenty festive.

Homemade Halloween Porch Decoration Ideas 
Flower-Filled Lanterns: For a simple and elegant porch decoration, you can put pinecones, tiny pumpkins and other gourds in various fall colors in an old fashioned lantern to set out on your porch. This easy project is sure to create a lovely finished product that will bring a touch of the season to you front porch.

Flower-Filled Pumpkins: Instead of carving all of your pumpkins into jack- o' -lanterns, you can turn them into festive and unique flower pots. You'll want to remove the top and clean out the inside (be sure to save the seeds for a snack!), then you'll be ready for planting. Mums are an excellent fall flower to use in your pumpkin pots, and Better Homes and Gardens suggest mixing lovely orange, yellow and white mums, but you can also opt for more vibrant shades of pinks, purples and reds to make the porch pop. What's more, garden mums are great container flowers so they'll stay nicely in your pumpkin planters while adding joy and whimsy to your front door decor.

Halloween Wreath: If your front door is always decked in a wreath come the winter holidays, you might be interested in a Halloween-inspired option. Good Housekeeping suggests spray painting a 16-inch craft store wreath black. While you wait for it to dry, you and the kids can go on a scavenger hunt for small twigs from your backyard. Use a glue gun to stick the twigs to the wreath. Then feel free to add other holiday-related items, and don't be afraid to get creative. You can glue on a small pumpkin, plastic spiders or leaves and be sure to string a cotton spider web across the finished product.

Luminaries: If you're looking for an alternative to pumpkin carving this year, consider making jack- o' -luminaries, as suggested by Good Housekeeping. You can purchase small white gift bags, and then you and the little ones can draw or trace stencils of pumpkins, leaves, an old house, trick-or-treaters or bats. Start the drawing in pencil to correct any mistakes then color the whole thing in with a black marker. Once the bags are completed, you can set them on the porch with a candle in a small votive holder or an electronic candle (safety first!) inside to light the path.

Seasonal Doormat: Let guests know that you're excited about the Halloween season as they step onto your spruced up DIY doormat. You can take an old doormat or purchase a new blank one for this project, then you and the kids can decide what it should say. You might consider include Boo!, Happy Halloween or Trick or Treat. Once you know what you want to write, use letter stencils and fill them in with outdoor fabric paint. Once it's ready, you can surround your new doormat with the other projects you've finished for a total homemade Halloween-inspired front porch.

5 Ideas For Boss’s Day Gifts (And How To Present Them!)

Boss's Day is soon approaching and this year the happy occasion falls on Oct. 16, 2014. This holiday gives you the chance to show your boss how much you appreciate the hard work they put in to making your job wonderful.

Remember, this isn't a way to kiss up to your superior, but it's a simple way to say thank you and let them know you enjoy working for them. When considering ideas for boss's day gifts, think about his or her personality, interests and hobbies. These should give you a good starting point to find just the right gift for your boss. Here are some great suggestions to get you started:

1. For The Nature Loving Boss: If your boss loves spending time in nature and enjoys bringing the outdoors in through potted gardens and plants, a great option for a gift might be a plant or bonsai tree. The greenery will help liven up his or her office as well as improve the air quality, which is always a nice bonus. If you opt for the bonsai tree, it can double as a stress reliever - your boss can take a break during a particularly hectic day to tend to the bonsai tree, but you can let him or her know that this plant is pretty low maintenance. Deliver this to your boss with a thoughtful thank you card for all he or she does.

2. For The Coffee (Or Tea) Loving Boss: In many offices, employees share community mugs that are stored in the kitchen. If your boss grabs a random glass each morning for his or her cup of joe, consider purchasing a special mug your boss can keep on his or her desk. You can find one with a witty saying that speaks to your boss's personality or something that involves a hobby they enjoy like golfing, knitting or fitness. To take it a step further, you might want to include a gift card to their favorite local coffee shop and/or a cute coaster to keep their desk clean. Present this to your boss first thing in the morning, so his or her first cup of coffee will be extra special.

3. For The Colorful Boss: For a superior who is not afraid to incorporate pops of color into her life, be it in her office decor or her wardrobe, a stunning floral arrangement will suit her personality nicely. You can opt for an arrangement of flowers in shades of her favorite color or you can mix and match. A single orchid always stands out, or, since it's autumn, you can create a blend of fall colors in rich yellows, red and oranges. Have this delivered to the office to surprise your boss!

4. For The Chocolate Loving Boss: Bosses with a sweet tooth will certainly delight in receiving chocolate covered strawberries, apples and/or oranges. He or she gets to enjoy the perks of eating fruit (it's healthy!) while indulging in white, dark or milk chocolate - be sure to find out which one your boss prefers. Whether you make them yourself or order them from a local chocolate store, your boss is sure to appreciate the effort and the snack. If it's homemade, feel free to give this gift to your boss as a post-lunch dessert or you can have a package delivered because everyone likes getting something in the mail.

5. For the inspirational boss: If your boss is the type of leader who is constantly working to boost moral, keep employees motivated and spark inspiration, take this opportunity to return the favor. Recruit your team or few co-workers and get your boss a signature frame. In the middle can be an inspirational quote below a beautiful photo and around the border each of you can write a note to your boss, letting him or her know that you're thankful to be able to work for him or her. Present this to your boss at the end of the day with everyone who signed it.

3 Reasons Fertilizing Your Garden in Fall is Smart

Doing all of your garden preparation now will help you be ready for blooming season when it arrives in the spring. One of the things you'll do is fertilize your garden so you can ensure that you won't have to deal with pesky weeds and other unwanted growths when the weather warms up again. 

If you're unsure of when you should be fertilizing your garden in preparation for winter, here's the answer: Start your work approximately six weeks before the first hard freeze of the season. Although you can never predict the exact date of when the first freeze will arrive, you can find out the average time frame according to the region in which you live. 

3 Reasons Why You Should Fertilize Your Garden in the Winter

Plant fertilization in the winter is a good idea because most flowers that bloom in the spring will benefit from a single fertilizer application just before they push up. It can help to enrich the plants in your garden before they get ready to make their spring debut. Be sure to select a slow-release fertilizer so that you can see steady and uniform growth when it's time for your plants to blossom in a few months. You should also choose slow-release options that are organic, have synthetic coatings and are made of a water-insoluble nitrogen. 

When you fertilize your garden in the winter, you can also make changes to the landscape. You'll be able to remove any foliage that may be taking away from the overall appearance of your garden or yard and pull out dried stems from dead plants. Fertilizing in the winter allows you to fill out the landscape with new plants including various perennials. Be sure you're choosing bulbs that can last through the winter and take any necessary steps to protect them when the freezing weather does arrive. 

Fertilizing your garden in the winter will give you the opportunity to remove any bulbs from the ground that won't make it through the winter. You can plant them in pots or prepare them for storage. If you want to get your bulbs ready for storage then you'll want to make sure that you remove the entire root from the ground, remove excess soil, put them in a cardboard box with vermiculite and keep them in a room where the temperature hovers around 45 degrees Fahrenheit.