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Decorating for Halloween is becoming more and more popular every year.  Why? While there’s always been an element of decoration associated with Halloween, in the past decade or so outdoor and indoor decorating has taken giant leaps forward. Great decorations really can make or break that Halloween feel that we’ve all come to love.   I remember while growing up we always decorated the house for Halloween and not just with pumpkins and bales of hay, it was and still is something fun and something I enjoy doing.

When thinking about décor for the home at Halloween, don’t forget the traditional trappings of the season, that being pumpkins, scarecrows and cornstalks.     Also the traditional colors of orange and black are still quite popular. Because these decorations have been around for a while, doesn’t mean that they’ve lost their charm. In fact, pumpkins, scarecrows and cornstalks can make your Halloween decoration ideas pop, especially when they are used creatively. When it comes to pumpkins and Halloween decoration ideas, the bigger the better. Not only are bigger pumpkins easier to clean, they also provide more surface area to carve, meaning you’ll have more room to let creativity run wild when carving that ultimate jack o’lantern. Remember to exercise caution when carving. Better yet, use the tools provided in a pumpkin carving kit. They are safer than a knife and you’ll end up with a better end product.

Halloween can be a day of fun for both young and old. It is also one holiday that is designed for parties. Spooky themes, fun costumes, and plenty of treats make it a good time for all ages.   One of the things I remember from Halloween’s past, that when growing up my mother loved to sew and one of the things she enjoyed making was costumes for both my brother and I to wear (even though there were times we had matching costumes like clowns,   Casper the ghost and more.   I remember her making me a Charlie Brown costume as well as one year I went as Mary   Poppins).   It has been said that in the past Halloween was reserved mainly for children. There would be costume parties at school, and then an evening of trick-or-treating and other fun. However, more and more adults are starting to take part in the spirit of the holiday as well. After all, who doesn’t enjoy getting dressed up in a fabulous costume and going trick or treating?  It also makes Halloween a family holiday, since both parents and kids alike can dress up, decorate the house or yard, and participate in the holiday fun.

Halloween started out as a Celtic holiday known as “Samhain” which celebrated the end of summer. The Celts believed that on the night of Samhain, the souls of the dead would come back to visit the living. Along with them, dark spirits like goblins and witches would also come out. Fires would be lit to keep these dark spirits away, and the Celts would dress in masks and costumes as part of the festivities. Food and lanterns were often left out as gifts for the dead. Over time, these customs turned into the holiday festivities that we know today.

Themes for kids Halloween parties can generally be kept pretty simple. Most kids get excited over dressing up and eating sweets, and there is plenty of room for creativity. Consider having games like bobbing for apples, decorating treat bags, and costume contests for all of the little ones. Of course, food is usually a required part of the fun, and you can get very creative that way. Caramel apples and popcorn balls are fun fall treats, and you can often use a little imagination and food coloring to turn everyday treats into something festive. While adult parties still involve costumes and food, you may have to up the ante a little bit when it comes to expectations. Costume contests can still be a great way to encourage guests to get creative and come dressed up. For more mature themes, you can create a Day of the Dead celebration, and celebrate the holiday Mexican-style with authentic foods and treats. Or, you can do a costume ball and play music all night long and serve fine desserts.

I would venture to suggest when it comes to planning for any Halloween event, don’t wait until nearly the last minute.   By getting an early jump on the planning not only will you be able to arrive at a spooktacular theme, you will also be stock up on items you will need, in addition to     ordering some special items that can’t be made.   If you enjoy cooking, you may be able to come up with fun recipes that will wow your friends.   Remember you will need a costume as well.

Halloween is the one day of the year that has the most parties thrown in its honor. Everyone loves to dress up and attend Halloween parties with their friends. Most people end up getting several invitations to different Halloween parties that are often on the same night. If you are planning to throw your own Halloween party, how can you get all your friends to head to your shindig and not someone else’s? You need to come up with some unique and fun ideas that will get everyone on your list so excited about your party they won’t even consider going anywhere else.   Unfortunately there are folks who don’t bother thinking of a theme for their Halloween party since it seems to be somewhat of a theme already. But rather than just putting up some Happy Halloween banners and fake cobwebs, why not come up with a great theme party idea? You can do anything from a haunted house or graveyard to a monster mash or horror movie bash. Once you’ve chosen your theme apply it to everything from your invitations to your party food. Guests will love some guidance on what to dress up as, especially if you do something a little different.

Your Halloween party invitations are one of the most important aspects of your party. Invitations are the best way to get your guests excited about your party. Many people don’t even send invitations anymore so even sending out simple ones will help your party stick in people’s minds. Be sure to apply your party theme to your invitations. If you can’t find any invitations at your local party store that go with your theme you can always use invitation templates that you can download for free from the Internet. That way you can totally customize the invitations     and even include colorful pictures. Guests will love to receive these fun invitations in the mail. You should send your invitations out approximately three to four weeks before your party to give everyone time to make plans to attend. If you’re running short of time sending electronic invitations is a great idea too. You can add animation and sound to e-invitations and even check guest’s responses online. Be sure to contact anyone who doesn’t respond via telephone since not everyone checks their email often.

Everyone will expect to see your house decorated to the nines on Halloween so be sure not to disappoint. Your decorations should match your theme, so give them plenty of thought. For instance, a haunted house theme should be complete with low lighting, smoke, a spooky soundtrack, and even live ghouls to jump out and scare the guests as they arrive. A horror movie bash might include retro horror B-movie posters stuck on the walls which you can find on the Internet and print off at home.   Decorations can be found just about anywhere in the months leading up to Halloween. Even grocery stores carry a wide selection. Start shopping early so you can get the best selection possible and take advantage of any sales. If you can’t find just what you’re looking for you can always rent or purchase decorations from a local party supply shop. Music is an important aspect of any party as well. While some spooky tunes are fun at first, you’ll want to switch over to some more upbeat music once the party gets going. People love to dance so have plenty of high energy songs ready to go. If you are inviting a variety of different people have several different types of music so no one gets bored.

Food is an important part of any party. While you don’t need to provide a full meal, some creative and tasty snacks and treats will help keep your guests fueled for the night’s festivities. Turning simple party food into ghoulish culinary delights will surprise and please your guests. Try making some bewitching cupcakes, and put out snacks such as gummy worms and other Halloween candy treats.   Don’t forget about the party favors! Depending on how many people you’re inviting and how much you’re willing to spend, the possibilities are endless when it comes to party favors. A simple idea is candy bags full of traditional treats such as candy corn. Something more substantial might be a pumpkin carving kit that comes with cutouts and tools. Your guests will love having a little something to take home with them.

Having games at your party isn’t a necessity, but can be a great deal of fun for your guests. Games act as an excellent icebreaker if everyone doesn’t know each other. Any games where you can break people off into teams will help to get everyone talking. Pumpkin carving contests are a good idea, as is bobbing for apples. Be sure to give a prize to the best costume as well.  Even as an adult, I still love to get transformed via a really cool costume. Even if I do not have a party to go to, it is still awesome fun to become someone else for a night

Your Halloween party is sure to be a success if you take the time to plan. Leave yourself plenty of time and don’t forget it’s all the little details that help to make a fabulous party. Enlist the help of family and friends if you’re feeling overwhelmed, and remember, planning is half the fun! Is   it the chance to get scared silly by weaving your way through the local boy scouts’ haunted house? Whether you scream or just laugh at such antics, the creative hauntings that folks can create to celebrate Halloween can be ridiculously fun and offer adults the chance to have a great time on what some folks mistakenly think of as a kid’s holiday.

When we were younger, my brother and I would help our mom take the candy we would be giving out and put a few pieces inside a little treat bag. Whether you are having a party or just answering the door, little bags make great Halloween party supplies because there is a little extra thrill when the treat inside is a secret until the bag is opened.

Lights, in one form or another, have always been a part of the Halloween tradition. Back in the day, the lights were mostly candles and bonfires. (Everyone remembers the glow of a candle in a carved pumpkin. The smell of wood smoke and the flicker of firelight might remind some of a long ago Halloween weenie roast.) Today, the choice in Halloween lights is better than ever. So go ahead and light some candles, but don’t forget to check out the other available forms of Halloween lighting.

One choice in lighting also utilizes strands of lights are lanterns. In this case, each light is enclosed in a plastic sconce which is illuminated when the lights are plugged in. The sconces come in a wide variety of shapes, from pumpkins to skulls to candy corn and more. The effect of these lanterns are really quite unique. They really set the mood for any Halloween party or gathering. Yet another choice of lighting is what is known as “special effect” lighting.  One idea of lighting is the strobe light. Strobe lights are used indoors or outdoors, often in conjunction with some kind of haunted house decorating theme. Because they are special effect lights, a strobe should be used sparingly and with caution. The rapidly blinking effects it produces can be very disorienting to visitors and guests.

Halloween Decorations have come a long way. Gone are the days when you’d stick a carved pumpkin outside and call it done. Today, the average Halloween ghost or ghoul has more outdoor decorating choices than you can shake a broomstick at. This is good news for all of us Halloween lovers, since nothing says All Hallow’s Eve more than a house decorated outside with lights, props, sounds, moving figures and more. In fact, when it comes to outdoor Halloween decorations, more is better and bigger is never enough.

Another choice for outdoor Halloween decorations are props. Want to make a graveyard on your front lawn? No problem. A coffin on your porch? Consider it done. How about a body hanging from that tree? Done. All these things and more are available online to the savvy Halloween decorator. No longer do you have to stuff newspaper into that old pair of jeans and shirt in order to make a convincing scarecrow or dead body.

The great thing about outdoor Halloween decorations is that not only are they scary and impressive, they are green to boot. These decorations are environmentally friendly. That means you can have a scary, fun-filled Halloween and do Mother Earth a favor at the same time. Now that’s a trick that’s also a treat.

Kathy Kiefer


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