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Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Ten Ideas to Spookily Spruce Up Your Curb Appeal By Melanie Hargrave

With trick-or-treaters coming to your doorstep in a matter of weeks, you need to get your front porch ready to tell the terrific tale of Halloween. Here are ten ideas to getting your home ready to receive ghouls, ghosts, and goblins of all sorts.

1. Witch Parking
Nothing adds a little intrigue to your home than a resident witch! Make some room for her broom on your porch with a designated “Witch Parking” area. Gather up some joy-ride worthy broomsticks to display on your front porch, along with any witchy travel essentials. These might include an old compass, potion ingredients in woven bags or glass jars, a pet toad, shoes, and witch’s hat and cloak. Add a little sign by the brooms advertising any consequences for those who intrude on the witches’ private parking space. Tip: If you want the brooms to look really authentic, consider making your own: use a long, knobby branch or wooden dowel for the broom handle, then gather thinner twigs or straw-like material for the brush. Wrap smaller bundles of the twigs/straw with twine or wire, then wrap the bundles around the broom handle. 

2. Garlands
Nothing brings holiday cheer (or fear) to your door and porch like a garland. Garlands allow a lot of flexibility in regards to d├ęcor and aesthetics; you can customize them to fit your style. If you are doing a sophisticated, autumnal vibe, consider making a garland of twine and gourds. With small enough gourds, you can easily string them together to make a festive hanging for your porch. For a spooky, old house feel, make a pennant garland with flags of old book pages, some with letters spelling out “Happy Halloween” or another spooky saying. If you are looking to instill fear in your visitors, make a garland of spooky plastic snakes, spiders, and bats. Connect the snakes together with glue to create the length of the garland, then spray paint them a glossy black for a creepy-crawler look. Then, add in spider webs, spiders, and bats made of felt or plastic to add dimension and danger.

3. Luminaries 
As an alternative to jack-o-lantern lighting, consider lighting your pathway and porch with paper bag luminaries. This is a fun project to do with kids, as long as you help them with the cutting. Take a large brown paper lunch bag and draw a design to cut out. This will be the design that the light shines through. Use scissors or an Exacto-knife to cut out the design from the bag. Now, simply slip another paper bag (uncut) into the cut bag, and roll the tops of the bags together, rolling outward. Now you can put a little sand or gravel in the bottom of the bag to secure the candle, and display your luminaries.

4. Autumn Window Boxes
Just because it isn’t springtime doesn’t mean you can’t use your window boxes. If you aren’t interested in planting flowers, add leaves, moss, and gourds to your box to create a chic, autumnal display. For a spookier look, look for dried plants and flowers to place in the box, then selectively drape some fake spider webbing. Place spiders in the webbing to make it look more realistic. 

5. Skeletons
Add some friendly skeletons to your porch to welcome your visitors! Halloween stores sell full skeletons that you can purchase, or you can make your own. My friends, who are plumbers in Calgary, advertise their business by making their own skeletons using plumbing supplies and a milk jug! You don’t have to be plumber to make it though, just head down to your local home improvement store. Use some white PVC piping to create the bones of your skeleton. Make sure you buy the correct connector pieces for the joints! You’ll need pieces for the legs, hip bone, back bone, a few ribs sticking out, shoulders, arms, and neck. For the head, use an upside-down, empty milk jug with a painted face. Just attach by sticking the “neck” pipe into the jug opening. Place your skeleton casually by your front door, sticking out around the side of your house, or, if you are really ambitious, have a few hanging out on a low roof (attach with fishing line).

6. Spiders, Spiders, Everywhere
Creepy crawlers shouldn’t be anywhere near your front porch, except for around Halloween! (But only the fake ones, please.) Create a home for your eight-legged friends by spreading webbing across the top corner of your front door, along the eaves of the roof, or between porch posts. Another options is using craft tape to create webs on your windows, then sticking on the spiders with suction cups. To add a little sparkle, make your own spider web hangings with hot glue and glitter. Spread out some wax paper, and squeeze out the glue in the shape of a spider’s web, however big or small you desire. Sprinkle glitter on the wet glue and allow to dry completely. When they are dry, peel off the sparkly webs. You can hang them on fishing line or stick them to windows. 

7. Alternative Pumpkins
If carving jack-o-lanterns by hand isn’t your cup of tea, try this alternate approach. Once the pumpkin is cleaned out, take out your power drill to drill holes and make an original design. Vary the drill bits to create holes of different sizes. As an alternative to cutting pumpkins in any way (and to avoid the mess of cleaning out the pumpkin guts), try painting your pumpkins with spooky designs. Paint them with numbers, and display them to mark your house address. Paint them green to make a Frankenstein face or white for a mummy. Add in glitter to make a sparkly, spooky statement when the light hits your porch.

8. Ghosts
Make some stand up ghosts by using cheesecloth and liquid starch. Drape cheesecloth over a form to create your desired ghost shape. Some ideas are soda bottles with bowls over the top, inflated balloons, and adding heavy-gauge wire to create arms and appendages. Once you have draped the cheesecloth over your form, saturate the cheesecloth with your liquid starch—this is not the time to be stingy. Allow the starched cheesecloth to dry (to speed up the process, set it in front of a gentle fan). You can now hang your stiff ghosts from the ceiling of your porch, a light fixture, or, if you created puddled cheesecloth bases, around your front door.

9. Spooky Silhouettes
To impress your guests from down the street, fill your home’s windows with spooky silhouettes. Cut out silhouettes of monsters, black cats, witches, and ghosts from back poster board to fit in your windows. At night, back-light the silhouettes with soft lighting. To make it even more festive, use colored lights or colored cellophane on the windows to cast an eerie glow.
10. Deathly Doormats
Ditch the welcome mat this season and create a mysterious mat to warn your guests of the horrors within… or just to announce Happy Halloween! Buy a cheap welcome mat on clearance or buy a canvas drop cloth and some paint to create your deathly doormat. Paint on a spider and web, a ghoulish face, or a scary sentiment. Some ideas are “Enter if you dare”, “Witches only beyond this point”, or the classic “Happy Halloween”.

Hopefully these tips will help you create the holiday feeling you are aiming for. Be creative, and don’t be afraid to think outside the coffin box. Good luck, my fellow ghouls!  

 Author Byline:
is a wife and homemaker whose pride and joy is her family. In addition to spending time with her husband and daughters, she loves being outdoors, playing sports, and sharing her experiences with others.

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