Halloween Pet Safety Tips

halloween-dog-collarHalloween is a night everyone gets dressed up and hits the streets for candy! We love to take our pets with us, but there are some Halloween pet safety tips to think about before we start putting up Halloween decorations or bring out the candy for trick-or-treaters.

halloween-dog-costumeCute Costumes We can’t resist dogs and cats in costumes! But our pets might not be as keen on costumes as we are. When you have the costume picked out and ready to go, let your pet do a test run. Make sure there are no little pieces they want to chew off to become a choking hazard. Check that  they can see, hear, move comfortably, and they’re not irritated by the costume. It can cause a lot of stress for our furry friends and we want them to be as happy as possible. If they don’t like the full costume, a bow or fancy collar may please both pet and owner.

Ghoulish Goodies

Get special dog treats for Halloween to steer them away from Halloween candy! Children’s candy can be a toxic temptation for pets. Dogs love chocolate, but chocolate does not love them. It contains theobromine which is toxic to pets. The darker the chocolate, the more theobromine it contains. A few bites of milk chocolate which contains the least amount can cause vomiting and diarrhea. Baking chocolate contains the most — even the smallest amount can kill a dog.

Sugar-free candy can also be hazardous for your pets. The artificial sweetener xylitol is toxic for dogs. It can cause a dramatic drop in blood sugar leading to tremors, seizures and sometimes death. It’s found in human treats like gum and mints. halloween-dog-treats

Trick-or-treating

On Halloween night, only take dogs with you if they are crowd-friendly. While they might be OK going out on their morning walks, Halloween brings out a lot more people — who don’t necessarily look like people. You don’t want them to get stressed out; they may not react the way they normally do even in a familiar neighborhood.

For those pets staying at home, all the people coming to the door and all of the opening and closing may cause alarm to your pets. To be kind to your dog and the kids in costumes, block off the entryway so they don’t get too excited or get out.

If your pet is an indoor-outdoor pet, keep them indoors on Halloween for the same reason you shouldn’t take them trick-or-treating; the unfamiliar costumes and number of people out and about may stress them out. Additionally, though there are myths surrounding black cats being the victims of pranksters around Halloween, the bigger concern is that they can’t be seen in the dark and get hit by cars. As an extra precaution on Halloween, make sure all pets have an ID tag in case they do get loose in the chaos of the holiday.

pumpkin-headDevilish Decorations

You know your pets and you know what they like to chew on, rub up against or bat. When you’re putting up Halloween decor, look out for little things that can be easily chewed off and swallowed. If you have a cat, think about what they like to climb and if your Halloween decor might be a temptation.

Be careful with jack-o-lanterns. Pumpkin in small amounts can be good for dogs’ digestion, if they eat too much, it will upset their stomachs. It’s also high in vitamin A which can be toxic if a dog consumes too much.

Use LED lights instead of candles. Cats and dogs don’t know the power of their tails and they can knock over candles or jack-o-lanterns lit by tea lights causing a fire. LED lights also eliminates the risk of a curious kitten getting burned.

We ramp up safety precautions for our kids on Halloween, but pets are part of the family, too; it only makes sense for us to take care of their Halloween needs as well.

Fun Facts About Candy Corn

Candy CornLove it or hate it, Halloween would not be quite the same without candy corn. It’s been around as long as we can remember — but the confection we’re so used to seeing this time of year just becomes part of the Halloween decorations. But it has a few interesting details you may not be familiar with. Here are some fun facts about candy corn — the fall candy Americans fell in love with more than a century ago.

Chicken Feed Little has changed about candy corn since it was first manufactured in the 1880s except for the name. Candy corn was originally called “Chicken Feed” and the packaging featured a rooster as part of the logo. It originally had a very strong following among farmers.

Wedding Cake One of the ingredients that gives candy corn it’s unusual hard-yet-soft texture is fondant. Fondant is sugar and water heated together just long enough for it to be moldable. Fondant is used as icing on elaborate wedding cakes because you can sculpt it and make beautiful, ornamental cakes you can’t make with regular icing.

Candy CornSpecial Recipe Though Brach’s wasn’t the company to introduce candy corn to America, they’ve been making it for a long time with their own recipe – and that recipe includes honey. Most other candy corn is made with plain corn syrup.

Not for Vegans Even if you opt for the makers who don’t use honey (honey is not a vegan product), it still wouldn’t be a vegan treat because one of the ingredients in candy corn is marshmallow which contains gelatin. Gelatin is made from animal protein. More specifically, gelatin is made from collagen which comes from bones and joints of animals. It’s an ingredient in many of the things we eat but it’s a no-no for a vegan diet.

Shellac Shine Candy corn allegedly contains shellac – it’s what makes fingernail polish shiny. Shellac is a resin secreted from a lac bug found in India and Thailand. It’s used in all sorts of products and candies to give them a sheen – but it’s another reason candy corn isn’t considered vegan.

candy pumpkinPurple Corn You’re probably familiar with the slight variations in shapes and colors — pumpkins for Halloween or bunnies for Easter — but in eastern Canada, they produce a purple candy corn. The flavor is blackberry cobbler.

Of course, if you really love candy corn, you don’t have to wait until October every year to have it – you can eat it year-round if you make it. The Food Network’s Alton Brown has his own recipe for the fall favorite. Otherwise, there is plenty of candy corn coming at you in the next few weeks!

 

Pinteresting Picks for September

Fall is a great time for home-improvement projects and crafts. Our Pinterest followers are in a mood for decorating and DIY. Many already are casting their eyes toward Halloween. The Lakeside Collection has a huge selection of eerie decor for the indoors and outside to make your home boo-tiful for trick-or-treaters. Here are our Pinteresting Picks for September.

Trade your real candles for this Set of 6 LED Candles for the safety of your children or pets.

Trade your real candles for this Set of 6 LED Candles for the safety of your children or pets.

Sculpted Pumpkin Planters are handpainted to look like real pumpkins!

Sculpted Pumpkin Planters are handpainted to look like real pumpkins!

 

Make yours the scariest house on the block for Halloween night with these Lighted Ghosts Yard Stakes.

Make yours the scariest house on the block for Halloween night with these Lighted Ghosts Yard Stakes.

Handprint Ornament Kit gives your Christmas tree a personalized touch from your kids.

Handprint Ornament Kit gives your Christmas tree a personalized touch from your kids.

 

Lakeside Selection: Our Choice of Favorite Items of the Week

As the weather gracefully transforms the world to autumn, it is time to start making the indoors cozy for the coming winter. Pile your bed high with new, soft bedding, and don’t forget to decorate for Halloween and the harvest season. Add a sparkling layer to your favorite outfit for extra style. Here is The Lakeside Selection: Our Choice of Favorite Items of the Week.

Dress your dining room for your Halloween celebration with this spooky 5-Pc. Spiderweb Lace Table Set.

Dress your dining room for your Halloween celebration with this spooky 5-Pc. Spiderweb Lace Table Set.

Camo Fleece Sheet Sets make it a lot easier to hide in bed all day.

Camo Fleece Sheet Sets make it a lot easier to hide in bed all day.

Add a little bling to your wardrobe with a Plus-Size Sparkle Cardigan.

Add a little bling to your wardrobe with a Plus-Size Sparkle Cardigan.

You'll want to stay in bed forever, once you experience the astonishing softness of this Plush Microfleece Sheet Set!

You’ll want to stay in bed forever, once you experience the astonishing softness of this Plush Microfleece Sheet Set!

The High Back Sherpa Comfort Pillow lets you relax in softness and comfort while reading a book, watching TV and more.

The High Back Sherpa Comfort Pillow lets you relax in softness and comfort while reading a book, watching TV and more.

 

5 Halloween Treat Recipes

Meringue-GhostsHalloween treats and candy are practically synonymous, but not all treats have to come from the store. With these fun, simple Halloween recipes, you can create homemade treats for your friends, family and co-workers.

Factory-wrapped candy is fine for trick-or-treaters, but for your Halloween party, make something memorable with something special from your kitchen.

Sweet and Salty Popcorn Treats
Skip the candy corn and go straight for the real corn with this Halloween treat rich with candy bits, nuts, marshmallows and popcorn.

You will need:
  • Non-stick cooking spray
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 cups popped popcorn
  • 6 cups mini marshmallows
  • 3 cookies, crumbled
  • ½ cup chocolate chips or candy-coated chocolates
  • ½ cup crushed pretzels
  • chopped nuts (optional)

Melt the marshmallows with the butter until the mixture is creamy and mix it with the popcorn in a sprayed mixing bowl until the popcorn is completely coated. Add the cookie bits, chocolate chips or candies, crushed pretzels, nuts or other chopped or bite-sized treats you like. Spray a cookie sheet with non-stick spray and form the popcorn and candy mixture into balls about two and a half to three inches wide. Let the mixture cool and serve as a snack or party treat.

pumpkin-dishesPumpkin Fudge
Pumpkin treats are always right for Halloween, and this pumpkin fudge combines two sensational flavors in one sweet dish.

  • Non-stick cooking spray
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 ½ cups granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup evaporated milk
  • 7 ounces jarred marshmallow creme
  • 1 cup white chocolate chips
  • ¾ cup canned pumpkin
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Bring the evaporated milk and sugar to a boil over medium heat, then mix in the pumpkin puree and return the mixture to a boil. Add the marshmallow fluff and butter. Let the mixture cook for 18 minutes, stirring frequently to keep it from sticking. Remove it from the heat and add the spices, chips and vanilla. Stir until the mixture’s smooth and creamy, then pour it into a sprayed or lined baking pan to harden. Refrigerate and cut into squares or use Halloween cookie cutters to make seasonal shapes.

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
After carving your jack-o’-lantern, don’t just toss those seeds; save them for one of the tastiest Halloween treats!

Clean seeds thoroughly and boil them for 10 minutes in salted water. This step makes the outer layer crispy during roasting. Drain and dry the seeds, then spread them on a baking sheet and toss them with just enough vegetable oil to coat them lightly. Sprinkle them with salt and any seasoning mixture you like. Roast them in the oven at 325 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes, checking frequently to make sure they don’t get too toasty. The soft inner part cooks more quickly than the crisp outer layer, so break open a few and check during the last minutes of roasting.

Meringue Ghosts
Not every Halloween treat has to be heavy. Light, fluffy meringue cookies are low in calories and contain no fat.

  • 6 egg whites
  • ½ teaspoon cream of tartar
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract

ghostBeat the egg whites with the cream of tartar until they’re foamy. Blend in the sugar gradually as you continue to beat the egg white mixture until it forms stiff peaks. Add the vanilla and scoop the mixture into a pastry bag or a plastic bag with one corner snipped off. Pipe ghostly meringue shapes onto a cookie sheet and bake at 200 degrees for two hours. Meringue is delicate, so turn the oven off and let them sit in the cooling oven for another four hours to dry and set. You can also add detail to the ghosts’ faces with food coloring or mini chocolate chips.

Microwave Pralines
Pumpkins aren’t the only seasonal delight that belongs on your Halloween table. Fall is prime pecan season, and these classic New Orleans style pralines make the most of them.

  • 16 ounces light brown sugar
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons corn syrup
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 cups toasted pecans

Mix the brown sugar, cream and corn syrup in a microwave-safe mixing bowl and microwave it on high for 12 to 13 minutes, checking toward the end of cooking time to see that the sugar has dissolved. Add the butter and stir the mixture constantly until it starts to turn thick and creamy, then incorporate the pecans as you continue to stir. Drop the pralines onto a parchment-covered cookie sheet or baking pan and allow to cool.

These Halloween treats are sure to please a crowd at your party or event! Have some favorites of your own? We’d love to hear about them!

 Image Credit: butterfloureggs.com

Fun Facts: Gear up for October Holidays

hello-octoberOctober’s just around the corner, and while you know about its most famous holiday already, you might not know some other fun facts about the month. If you’ve ever wondered why the tenth month has a name that means “eighth month,” chalk it up to the Romans. They used to mark October as their eighth month, but eventually, the Gregorian calendar added another two months to summer. Named after Julius Caesar and Augustus Caesar, July and August pushed the fall months forward, making “eighth month” our current tenth month.

Halloween isn’t the only reason to celebrate October holidays. It’s also the national Adopt a Shelter Dog Month, so it’s a great time to consider a fluffy new addition to your family. Thousands of adorable puppies and dogs need new homes just before the holidays, and your local shelter will make it easier during October. When you bring your new pet home, give the pup a tent of his own with the pet cave, a cozy bed that lets pets snuggle up in comfort. The bed’s great for cats too, so if you have a favorite feline after Adopt a Shelter Cat Month in June, get a bed for each of your furry friends.

In the U.S., November is the month for Thanksgiving, but Canadians celebrate it a month earlier in October. The holiday is a celebration of the harvest, and as harvest time is earlier in northern climates, it makes sense to hold the feast when the food is at its best. Some people trace Canada’s October Thanksgiving celebrations to explorer Martin Frobisher and his search for a northern passage to the Pacific Ocean, but others suggest it’s related to French settlers and their harvest feasts. Either way, October’s a great time for people on both sides of the border to enjoy harvest-fresh apples, pumpkins and more.

October babies are lucky when it comes to birthstones because they have their choice of three: opal, tourmaline and rose zircon. With their dazzling play of color, opals are one of the most beautiful semi-precious stones and symbolize October’s rapidly shifting weather. Delicate shades of rose in tourmaline and zircon gems are equally lovely for anyone who loves pink, but according to birthstone lore, the stones are especially lucky for those with October birthdays. Birthstone jewelry, including these guardian angel necklaces, usually feature sturdy zircons instead of fragile opals, but either is equally appropriate for October’s children.

Speaking of October holidays, you might be surprised at the number of famous October babies. Former presidents Dwight Eisenhower and Jimmy Carter were both born in the Halloween month. Musicians Sting, Tom Petty and Gwen Stefani also celebrate their birthdays in October. Julie Andrews and Julia Roberts have more than big-screen fame in common; they’re both October kids too. Whether you mark a family birthday,Thanksgiving, Halloween or another major occasion in October, it’s a great month to celebrate.

As the weather turns cooler and harvest fruits and vegetables appear in stores, why not make your own October holidays and host an indoor event with dinner party essentials? These Thanksgiving leftover containers are perfect for big  parties. It’s also National Chili Month, so make a Sunday afternoon football party in October delicious with chili dogs or bowls of the spicy stuff.

Image Credit: theposhcoincidence.blogspot.com 

Decorate Your Home for Halloween with These 10 Tips

Halloween-DecorationsHalloween costumes are for more than you and your kids; your home also gets a scary new look when you decorate for the holiday. This year, make Halloween extra special with these spectacularly spooky decorating tips that are ideal for impressing party guests, trick-or-treaters and anyone who visits.

1. Create a focal point for every Halloween scene

Decorating experts recommend making a favorite piece of furniture or art the focal piece for a room, and the same design concept holds true for temporary decorations at Halloween. If you have a favorite decoration or hand-created centerpiece, use it as the inspiration for the decor around it.

2. Give guests a dramatic entrance

Your front porch, door and foyer set the tone for the rest of your house’s Halloween finery, so make an impact where it counts with decorations up front.

3. Lighting sets a mood

Things that go bump in the night seem spookier in eerie, subdued lighting. At the same time, keeping lighting levels too low affects safety for trick-or-treaters and party guests, so look for ways to light it up while sticking to your Halloween theme. Lighted decorations, such as this ghostly ground-breaker, are perfect for lighting your Halloween event.

4. Make your own decorations

Nothing puts a fun new spin on Halloween decorating like coming up with your own wreaths, tabletop displays and centerpieces. Old clothes, some straw and newspapers can become your very own scarecrow. Cut your own bat shapes out of construction paper. Whatever you decide to craft, start early, so your decorations will be ready for Halloween.

5. Incorporate nature in your decorating scheme for Halloween

Naturally warty or oddly shaped pumpkins and gourds have character, especially when you group them together. Find bare branches from your backyard to serve as a spooky take on floral arrangements.

6. Add surprises throughout your home

Party-goers don’t stay in one room, so add a few Halloween touches to the kitchen, restroom, and back porch or patio. Anywhere that guests might see should get a few fearsome touches.

7. Use age-appropriate decorations

For households with small children, some Halloween decor is a little too gruesome for comfort. While the kids are little, stick to friendly ghosts and smiling jack-o’-lanterns like these cheery porch Halloween light covers.

8. Appeal to all the senses

Your decorations may offer spooky sights, but don’t forget to add an equally eerie soundtrack to your Halloween display. Halloween scents such as pumpkin and candy corn evoke memories of the holiday for guests. If you’re really ambitious, add a fog generator for atmosphere.

9. More can be better

If one pumpkin on your porch looks good, then a row of them will look great. When you multiply decorating elements, you increase their impact. Some items work best as stand-alone displays, especially if they’re large and dramatic, but for smaller items, grouping creates an interesting tableau.

10. Go with your tastes

Picking decorations that suit your style will give your Halloween decorations a unified feel. This Medusa Halloween decoration would look right at home on an elegant mantel. If you’re fond of country style, decorate with scarecrows and straw bales.

However you choose to decorate this year, shop Lakeside’s selection of Halloween goodies for your home and make it your best spooky season ever!

Image Credit: apartmenttherapy.com

7 Children’s Halloween Costume Ideas

Whether your little ones are still toddlers or experienced trick-or-treaters, they love dressing up in costumes. Kids get a kick out of pretending to be someone or something else, and Halloween is the perfect season to play a fun, new role. Younger children are usually willing to go with whatever Mom or Dad chooses, but older kids like to have a say in their costume designs. Whether you and your child pick something fanciful or fearsome, here are some costume ideas to get you started.

kids-halloween-costumes

The Classics

Vampire – Kids often gravitate to vampire costumes, but parents like them just as much because they’re easy to assemble. A black suit or dress, a cape, a set of fangs, a drawn-on widow’s peak at the forehead and a little makeup are all a child needs to transform into Count or Countess Dracula. Another advantage of a vampire costume is that it doesn’t require a mask that could obstruct a child’s vision. Make the costume special with some white or gray makeup to give your little vampire’s skin the right unhealthy glow.Skeleton – Everyone has one inside them, but skeletons always look wonderfully creepy for Halloween. For the body, a black outfit with white or glow-in-the-dark bones glued or stitched to it does the trick, but the face is a little more challenging. Don’t wait until the last day of October to practice drawing sunken eyes and hollowed cheeks; go through a trial run soon and find out the best way to paint on a skull’s wide grin.Mad Scientist – If you can find an old lab coat, you have the centerpiece for a fantastic mad scientist costume. Tease your child’s hair into a wild mane, add a pair of lab goggles and apply some biohazard labels to the candy bag, and you have everything you need for a mad doctor in the same vein as Frankenstein and Jekyll.

Cat – Transform your child’s old black leotard and tights into a kitty costume with a pair of ears mounted on a headband and a strip of fabric for the tail. Add a few whiskers and a sweet pink nose with cosmetics, and you have an easy and adorable cat costume. Some modifications to the costume can change it into another creature too. With round ears and slightly different face paint, a cat becomes a mouse. Swap round ears for floppy ones, draw on an eye-patch and turn your mouse into a puppy.

Movies and TV

The Wicked Witch – A pointy hat, green skin and striped tights create the perfect witchy look. Your child will love having her hair teased into a tangle and her face painted a fetching shade of green for the big night. If you can’t find the right striped socks that echo the ones the Wicked Witch of the East wore in “The Wizard of Oz,” try a set of striped legwarmers instead.

Disney Characters – Between them, Walt Disney and Pixar have made some of the most beloved kids’ movies of all time. If your little one dreams of being a Disney Princess or a character from “Monsters, Inc.” for Halloween, look for inspiration from officially licensed book sets that have the exact character design in them. Books are easier to use as costume references than moving images.

Superheroes – A superhero costume always looks great, but you don’t have to stick to the official roster of good guys and villains for Halloween costumes. Your child can create his or her own superhero look and back-story. Superman, Batman and Spider-Man started within their artists’ imaginations, so encourage your child to get creative with unique superhero art.

 

 Image Credit: Hellogiggles.com

Lakeside Selection: Our Choice of Favorite Items for the Week

It’s never too early to start thinking about the holidays, and one of our favorite ones, Halloween, is coming up soon! Get everything you need to make your home and yard look gorgeously gruesome for Halloween today, and you’ll have plenty of time in October for planning parties, creating costumes, and adding cute or creepy finishing touches to your decor. If Halloween’s ghosts and ghouls aren’t your style, you’ll also find beautiful seasonal decorations to celebrate autumn. No matter how you decorate for October, you’ll find what you need.

Every Halloween display needs a focal point, and we love this skeleton decoration for its weird and whimsical charm. Just because he’s passed on doesn’t mean he forgot how to take life easy, so he’s found a comfortable spot to relax for a spell. This sleepy skeleton’s chest rises and falls as he snores in his hammock, perhaps resting up for a big Halloween night. His hammock is 8 feet long, so it’s a large enough piece to be the center of your yard’s display. Add a spotlight or two to show him off, and you’ll have one of the most unusual decorations on your block.Interactive-skeleton-hammock

Halloween is about more than spooky skeletons, though. With this cheerful Halloween bunting, you’ll get in the spirit of the season while still keeping your decor friendly enough for the littlest kids. Made of durable polyester fabric, the bunting is perfect for a porch rail, a deck or a fence. At almost 60 inches across, this adorable hanging makes an emphatic statement. Choose from jack-o’-lanterns in festive fall hues of orange and black with green accents or a trio of cheerful, bow-tied ghosts. If you have plenty of space to cover, choose both – they look great together or separately.

Halloween-Buntings

If your kids’ trick-or-treating days are behind them, or if you prefer a more sophisticated take on Halloween, try these oddly elegant lighted Halloween urns to flank your door or adorn your porch. Welcome guests to your Halloween party in style with these black, molded plastic urns filled with bare branches and twinkling lights. Choose from traditional Halloween black with miniature orange lights or an elegantly eerie purple with blue lights. If you prefer, you can mix and match them to create a dramatic setting for your next Halloween party. Each pair of urns is over 22 inches tall, so you can also use them as a towering tabletop arrangement or near your fireplace.

Lighted-Halloween-Urns

Halloween is also harvest time, which is why we’re showing off these sweet garden decorations for your yard. These painted metal pumpkins stake into the ground and give your front or back yard a festive touch that works for Halloween, Thanksgiving and beyond. Pair them with hay bales to impart a country harvest look to your yard.

Garden-decor-fall

Whether your Halloween style is cute, creepy or comforting, we have your look! Get started today, and you’ll have the best-looking display in your neighborhood. We’re always getting new stock in, so check back often to see what else we have in store for the holidays.

Halloween In Overdrive

Are your kids ready to pound the pavement in search of some candy? Halloween can be tons of fun but remember when you hop behind the wheel tonight, it’s crazy out there. To help ensure you have the most fun holiday possible, we pulled together some great driving tips to be mindful of tonight.  These tips are courtesy of halloween-safety.com

(1) Don’t use a cell phone when driving. This is a good tip no matter the day, but especially tonight. If you need to get a location on your kids, pull over, put on your emergency blinkers, and only then make your call.

(2) Drive below the speed limit. You never know when a kid in all black will run into the middle of the road.

(3) Don’t pass vehicles that have stopped in the roadway. They could be dropping off kids (who could swing open doors or run across the street).

(4) Give your kids some glow. Don’t make your child the hard-to-see pedestrian. Give them flashlights, reflectors, glow sticks etc. Also, remind them to never shine their flashlights in driver’s eyes.

(5) Remind your kids of basic safety tips (look both ways, don’t get into cars with strangers etc).

Have a safe an wonderful Halloween!