Whether you love it or hate it, Halloween is happening this week! If you are a lover then I have some great ideas for you below on how to add a bit of easy decor to your house, and if you hate it, then I have some ideas for you too!
Firstly, let’s remember everyone needs to be safe – we have been enduring the pandemic for our 2nd year now, and it is still very much out there. Do what is right for you and your family, and ensure you are not putting anyone else at risk.
Also, let’s remember that there are a lot of people out there who do not like Halloween for various reasons. It is important to respect people’s boundaries and accept that not everyone gets involved. The general rule is that if a house is not decorated for Halloween, then do not approach to Trick or Treat! If, however there is a house that has a spectacular display going on, then go for it!
Let’s talk pumpkins! The latest trend with pumpkins seems to be painting them instead of carving them. This does get over the issue of small children wielding carving equipment around, and can look very effective, however it does limit what you can then do with the pumpkins once the festivities are over! I saw some great pins on pinterest with lots of ideas for your carved pumpkins…. 1. Pop them in the composter if you have one, smash them up a bit first (great for stress relief, bonus!) and layer them in with your usual garden waste. Just remove any candle wax that may be in there first! 2. Remove any wax, and fill with bird seed, hang up or place on a bird table and you have your own bird feeder. The birds will eat the seed and the pumpkin. 3. Take them to a farm, or the woods. Chris Packham suggests leaving them out in the woods for the wildlife, just don’t leave them on the floor as they can apparently give hedgehogs the squits! Put them up on a ledge or in bushes, where squirrels, birds and larger animals can forage for them. Alternatively if you live near a farm, contact the farmer as they may wish to take them off your hands for feeding to their animals.
If you have gone for the painted version then the insides should be good to use! 1.Remove the top and discard the stalk (compost!). Then remove the ‘guts’ and separate the icky bit from the seeds – they can be roasted. The icky bit can go in your compost. Rinse and dry the seeds, lay on a baking tray in a single layer, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with a little salt (optional) and roast at 200C for approx 20mins, Allow to cool completely and store in an airtight jar. 2. Now chop up the flesh, and remove the skin. You can roast in large chunks drizzled with a little oil, until soft and just starting to colour on the edges. This can then be eaten as is (lovely on a roast dinner), mashed, pureed or used to make a soup. You can even use the puree to make a pie or a pumpkin spice latte. There are literally so many recipes online! 3. Plant your own for next year! Save some of the clean seeds and keep in an airtight container in a cool, dry dark place for next year. Pumpkins take about 3-4 months to grow so in May/June you can plant your seeds, then transfer out to the garden once big enough.
Easy decorating ideas……
- Obviously, jack o’lanterns. If you don’t want to use real candles in yours then get some of the cheap battery operated tealights which can be re-used instead.
- Fairy lights – not just for Christmas! You can get some great solar powered ones now, so you can just put them up and then leave them to it. As long as the solar panel is in a place that gets full light throughout the daytime you’ll get several hours of light out of them each evening. Just drape in bushes or around the front door.
- Window stickers – you can buy these for very little and then re-use them each year, or you can make your own window clings – look on pinterest for glue gun window clings. You basically draw your designs onto parchment paper with hot glue, peel them off when set and then stick them to your windows using a dab of hot glue (they peel off easily and any residue is easily removed, however you may want to test on a corner first as glue makes do vary!), or alternatively hang with nylon threads so they are dangling in the windows instead!
- Spooky web balls. Blow up a balloon and wrap in string that has been dipped in PVA glue. keep wrapping the string around the balloon until it is almost covered but with visible gaps – i,e a string basket effect. Allow to dry then pop and remove the balloon. Glue on some plastic spiders and hang in trees.
- Spider jars. Mix some white paint with water 50:50 and then add an equal quantity of PVA glue. Pour into a jar, pop the lid on and shake so the inside is covered. Remove the lid, pour out excess and use this to do the next jar. allow to dry completely with the lids off, ideally overnight. Then glue a plastic spider to a handful of cotton wool or screwed up kitchen roll. Pop a battery operated tealight candle (flickering ones are best!) into the bottom of the jar, add the spider on the cotton wool on top so that the spider is facing the side of the jar and seal with the lid. Voila, one scary spider jar! Put these on your window sill or on your porch.
- A cloud of bats! Find a bat template online or from a book and cut out several different sizes from black card. Stick these to your front door or windows, as many as the space allows, the more the better!
- Door wreath. Go on a woodland walk and collect as many fallen twigs as you can. Either use a wreath base from the shop, or make your own using cardboard, a pool noodle or an old wire coathanger. Start by covering the wreath in some hessian or ribbon, or even an old jumper cut into strips. Then start glueing on your twigs and add accents such as plastic spiders, bats, ping=pong ball eyeballs, mini skeleton figures etc – use your imagination, and see what is available in the shops. Once finished add to your front door with a wreath hanger (which can then be re-used for Christmas!) Depending on how you decorate your wreath, some of it may be salvageable to then use again for your Christmas door wreath, so don’t throw it away!
Let me know if you use any of these ideas!
And if Halloween is not for you?
Firstly, if your house is not decorated for Halloween then people should not come knocking, however if the idea of people chancing it and knocking on your door anyway bothers you, then put a polite note on your door. There are lots of options online that are already done for you that you can just print off. Display on your door/window/porch where people will be able to see it easily.
Plan an evening (or evenings as it falls on a weekend and people do spread it out!) that you know you will enjoy. Either plan a night out with friends, invite some round or if it’s a bit of you time you’re after then plan a pamper evening. Pampering means different things to different people, some like an at home spa, some might prefer being active and doing a workout, or going for a walk. Others may like an evening in with a movie or a good book. Whatever it is, make sure it’s something that will distract you from what’s potentially going on outside and you will enjoy! Maybe you are a lover of Christmas instead and could spend the weekend making Christmas decor ready for those festivities?!