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.

How to Store Flower Bulbs Over Winter

As winter quickly approaches, you may be wondering how to store flower bulbs so that you can protect them from a harsh frost and freezing temperatures.

In order to keep the plants growing year after year without needing to go buy more, you can store them over winter to ensure that they don't die.

Tips For Storing Flower Bulbs

You'll know it's time to pull the bulbs when the temperatures dip to 28 degrees Fahrenheit. When this occurs, the ends and leaves of your plants will start to turn brown.

Step 1
When you want to pull the bulbs, you'll need to dig around the plant. It's essential that you're careful you don't cut the bulbs as you're digging. Be sure to lift the clump of roots out of the ground and remove as much excess soil as possible. You should then move the root clumps to a dry, cool spot for about a week.

If you just bought new bulbs and they haven't been planted in the ground yet, be sure to remove any plastic bags or containers they may be in. Your bulbs need to be able to breathe while they're in storage and a material like plastic will cause them to rot over the course of winter.

Step 2
After you've given the clumps time to dry, you'll be able to remove any remaining dirt. You should then have vermiculite or dry peat moss in a cardboard box in which you'll place the roots. The peat moss helps to slow down the loss of moisture from the roots and will prevent them from shriveling throughout winter. Remember to never store the boxes of bulbs in a room where the temperature will drop below 45 degrees Fahrenheit. Make sure that it isn't too warm, however, because this can cause the roots to sprout in the middle of winter. 

Step 3
When you have bulbs that bloom in the spring, you should keep in mind that they'll need at least six to eight weeks of cold in order to bloom. If you can, place the bulbs in a refrigerator - whether in your home or in an extra fridge in the garage or basement. Then, as soon as the ground thaws in the spring, you'll be able to plant them and see them blossom in no time. 

Step 4
Don't forget to occasionally check on your bulbs to ensure that they're still OK. When you're storing garden bulbs over the winter, try to check them once a month. You can gently squeeze each one and throw away any that are mushy. 

6 Romantic Date Ideas that Aren’t Creepy

Of all the dates-gone-bad you've seen on the Internet, it can be nerve-wracking to find romantic date ideas that aren't creepy. There are plenty of things out there that are great for two people going out on a first, second or third date.

6 Romantic Date Ideas

Whether you want to get to know your partner better or simply want to forget about the details and have fun together, try one of these romantic gestures:

Picnic: If you're going out for a midday date or are grabbing lunch on the weekend, you may want to consider packing a picnic and heading to a local park. Don't forget to bring the food, a blanket, beverages and flowers. If you know your partner's favorite bloom, pick up a dozen of them at a nearby flower shop and give them to her when she answers the door. She'll not only be glad that you remembered her favorite flower but that you were thoughtful enough to get her a bouquet. 

Music Festival: Couples that have already gotten to know each other a little may want to try going to a music festival together. Everyone loves music and seeing your date get caught up in the moment of listening to her favorite band will help you see her in a whole new light. Plus, you'll probably get to dance with her a little bit as well. After the music festival, be sure to send her a bouquet of her favorite flowers to thank her for going to the festival with you.

Take a Dance Class: You can go all Silver Linings Playbook on her and take a dance class. It's a great way to relieve stress and you'll get to learn something new together. As a guy you may not be the most forthcoming when it comes to learning how to dance, but if it's new to the both of you then you won't have to worry too much about being perfect, and you can have a few laughs along the way.

Karaoke: Depending on your level of bravery, you may need a few drinks before you can go onstage and sing a tune. Karaoke night is the perfect time to break down barriers and really let your date see the real you. If you really aren't the singing type you can still head to a nearby bar and listen to others who are brave enough to get up there. 

Go Bar Hopping: If there are a lot of bars in your neighborhood or community, take your date bar hopping. It's a great way to get to know your date on a more personal level without feeling like you're being forced to talk about the same date-night topics over and over. You can find sample sizes at most bars, so if there are multiple spots in town that you want to visit then you'll be able to make it to the next destination without stumbling your way there and possibly embarrassing yourself.

Be Tourists Together: Those who live in or near a big city may want to consider taking their date out to be tourists for the day. It's highly unlikely that you've been everywhere there is to go in a big city, so why not check out historic landmarks or go to a museum you've never visited? If you and your date are really into history, consider looking up some of the historic spots in the city and visiting each of them. You may also want to look for off-the-beaten-path spots like eateries and bars when you want to grab a bite to eat.