Skip to main content

North Hills Monthly

Halloween Ideas for the Home and Garden

Sep 30, 2015 02:37PM ● By Denise Schreiber
“Halloween. We haven’t taken it away from kids. We’ve just expanded it so that the kid in adults can enjoy it, too.”
— Cassandra Peterson

I have to admit that I am a Halloween junkie. I decorate my yard to entice the trick-or-treaters to enter my lair, so to speak. This is the time of year when we can play with our landscapes and our homes. It doesn’t have to be expensive, just fun. Some of these ideas can be done with children; others are best left to the adults.

Go to the craft or dollar store and pick up some glow sticks. Then get some white balloons and fill them partially with water. Crack the glow sticks and place them inside the balloons. Tie the balloons off tightly with some string and hang them from shrubs and trees. It gives your house a bit of spookiness.

To keep trick-or-treaters off your lawn or to direct them to a desired direction, use step-in fence posts. You can cover them with cloth if desired and add some poly twine, and drape cheesecloth or fake webbing from post to post to create a walkway for them to follow. You can also add some mini Halloween lights to help guide them, or caution tape.

Lighting is always important so that no one trips and falls on your property. Your outdoor lighting should be on, and you can add some solar lights for added security. There are LED lights that you can use in your carved pumpkins to give them an eerie effect. I also use tiki lights for added lighting, but I make sure that they are in garden beds where no one can walk into them.

Fog machines are great for a spooky effect, but keep them in an area that won’t affect walking as well.

For little ones who want to get into the fun, you can purchase small pumpkins and gourds at garden centers, and let the kids paint them with tempura paints or magic markers. There’s no danger of them cutting themselves by carving anything.

For bigger kids and adults, the pumpkin carving sets you see in the stores do a great job cutting into pumpkins, but be careful because they are incredibly sharp. Remove the innards of pumpkins with an ice cream scoop to make carving easy. I make funny faces as well as scary faces so that I don’t terrorize the little ones, and have a garden bench where a smiling scarecrow sits with a few gourds, inviting them to sit down with him.

Food this time of year is comforting, especially anything made with apples. Warm apple cider with cinnamon really hits the spot on a cold evening. Just put a half gallon of cider in a crockpot along with some cinnamon sticks and ground cloves, and let it mellow on low for about an hour. Not only does it taste great, but it makes the whole house smell wonderful!

If you’re having a party, cut the top off of a solid loaf of sandwich bread, and scoop out a rectangle to make it resemble a coffin. Place your favorite dip in it and have a little plastic vampire or skeleton sitting on the edge to give it a macabre touch. You can use the extra bread for dipping. Having punch? Cut the top off of a pumpkin and scoop out the insides. Then place a bowl inside to hold your punch, or you can fill it with ice and use it to keep drinks cold.

There’s nothing quite like Zombie Brains Mac and Cheese for kids and adults! Just make your mac and cheese normally, from scratch or from a box. Drain the macaroni, place it in a bowl and set it aside. Add your milk, cheese, butter and just a couple of drops of green food coloring to the hot pot and stir it all together. It should melt together nicely. Then add the hot macaroni, stir well and serve to your little monsters.

You can also make Spider Web Deviled Eggs. Take a dozen eggs and place them in a Dutch oven. Cover them with water, mixed with two teaspoons of gel food dye—red is quite lovely. Use plastic gloves to protect your hands from the dye. Cook the eggs until done, then plunge them into ice water to chill them. Keep the eggs cool and refrigerate the cooking water. While the water is cooling, gently tap the eggs all over with the bottom of a wooden spoon. Place the eggs in the cooled water and put it in the refrigerator for at least two hours. Remove the eggs from the water and gently peel them—they should reveal a lovely spider pattern on the white of the egg.

However you celebrate—have a happy Halloween!