Halloween Tricks for Parents & Ideas for Fall Decorating

Fall is here and Halloween is on the horizon. It’s time to start shopping for Halloween decor. And for parents with kids and trick-or-treaters, it’s time to figure out your Halloween game plan. Learn some Halloween tricks to help get you through the holiday and a few ideas for fall decorating with this Lakeside article showcase.

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Tips on Explaining Halloween Traditions to Toddlers
Frightening images are everywhere leading up to the end of October. It’s impossible to completely shield kids from the haunting imagery associated with the spooky holiday. As we get closer to Halloween, kids, especially younger kids, will inevitably begin to ask question about the holiday and all the scary stuff they see. Here’s a few tips on explaining monsters, ghosts and all those creepy creatures to your little toddlers.

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Electronics and Other Ideas to Keep Tabs on Trick-or-Treaters
Halloween can be a stressful time for parents who aren’t used to the idea of their child going house to house without a chaperone for the first time. However, with some organization, a few rules and modern technology, it’s perfectly possible to keep tabs on your little trick-or-treaters to guarantee they’re perfectly safe till curfew. Read on to review a few important trick-or-treat guidelines to make sure your kids are safer on Halloween.

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Clever Ways to Feature Autumn Leaves in Your Home
Nothing says fall like beautiful autumn leaves. They arrive just as quickly as they depart. Soon, we will look up and be surprised by bare branches. Some of us enjoy the fall season so much we try to feature it in our homes, and there’s no better way to give our homes seasonal style than by bringing in a bit of the outdoors. Learn how to preserve beautiful leaves and how to display them with these clever tips on autumn leaves.

Halloween: A Brief History

Halloween-trick-or-treatWhile some Halloween traditions are new, the holiday itself has a long and fascinating history. Its roots go deep, and people may have been celebrating this autumn festival in Celtic times.

Halloween is linked to All Saints’ Day, but some historians believe the holiday has older origins that the Church incorporated as part of its calendar. The Celtic harvest festival of Samhain divided summer from winter; it marked the time to bring livestock from summer pastures and prepare enough food for the long, cold season ahead. It was a time for feasting and bonfires, and the Celts believed it was a time in which the veil between the world they knew and that of fairies or other spirits was thinnest.

The present-day Halloween’s connection with treats could have its origins in a Celtic festival day.The name Halloween comes from a contraction of All Hallow’s Eve, a name you’ll still hear sometimes. It’s the name Christian theologians gave the night before All Saints’ Day, which was established as a holy day in the seventh century. Historically, Hallow’s Eve was the day to acknowledge all the souls that hadn’t yet found their way to heaven. The idea of ghosts and spirits being active on Halloween came from this traditional meaning of the holiday, so when you see images of ghost decorations on Halloween, you’re seeing a reference to a centuries-old belief.

Another early Hallow’s Eve tradition called souling explains why people go door to door for treats. Medieval Europeans baked soul cakes to honor the recently departed and commemorate them as their souls made their way to heaven. They prepared enough to share with neighbors and friends, and villagers would travel from home to home exchanging these small round cakes called souls. Souling was a little somber because it called to mind the souls of the departed, but it was also a happy occasion to share memories and a tasty treat with others. Soul cakes traditionally contained many ingredients that are familiar to anyone baking Halloween treats today: cinnamon, nutmeg and other warm spices graced these cakes just as they do your favorite pumpkin cookies or fudge.

Why is Halloween a costume holiday? Researchers aren’t sure. Some ascribe costumes to the Celts, and others suggest the tradition came from the fancy clothes people would wear when going souling. In early lore, costumes were seen as a disguise, a way to conceal yourself from spirits that might otherwise intend some kind of mischief. It’s possible that the ancient Celtic people dressed for the occasion on Samhain to confound stray spirits, but costumes could also have been something fun for souling villagers to wear, especially if they intended a little light mischief of their own.

The tradition of jack-o’-lanterns comes from Scotland, but it didn’t start with pumpkins. The pumpkin is a New World crop; no one in the Middle Ages in Scotland would have known what to make of the large orange gourd. They used hefty turnips instead and carved them into strange or spooky faces, hollowing them out to use as lanterns as they went from house to house on souling night. When Halloween traveled with Scottish settlers who came to America, they embraced the use of them to make pumpkin lanterns since they easier to carve and already conveniently hollowed out for a candle.

Halloween wasn’t associated with witches or fiends originally, but the Puritans frowned on it because they considered the history behind it too Catholic for their tastes. The Catholic church considered All Hallow’s Eve the time when souls left purgatory to find heaven, but the Puritans didn’t believe in the concept of purgatory and reasoned that any spirits lingering must therefore be wicked ones. While they might not have enjoyed Halloween as a festival day, they did give later generations of trick-or-treaters great ideas for witch and goblin costumes. This history guides our Halloween inspiration today.

Halloween history is almost as much of a treat as candy corn and caramel apples. This year, take a few minutes to reflect on the history of one of our most beloved holidays.

Image Credit: http://auburnmassdaily.com

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

8 Trick-or-Treat Halloween Tips

Trick-or-TreatLike the first day of summer vacation and Christmas morning, Halloween is one of the biggest days of a child’s calendar. Dressing up in costumes and getting free candy are both exciting, but together, they’re a recipe for memorable Halloweens. If you’re on the giving end of the trick-or-treat equation, it’s still plenty of fun, especially if you wear a costume for the occasion.

These Halloween tips will make the day a treat and help avoid any potential tricks that could spoil your spooky holiday.

1. Give trick-or-treaters their own flashlights
Some Halloween festivities get started around dusk, and for little ones, navigating sidewalks and porch steps without sufficient light can lead to falls. A lightweight flashlight that clips to a costume sleeve or wristband is ideal for trick-or-treating. The new LED flashlights are an improvement over traditional bulbs that get hot or can break when dropped.

2. Supply ample lighting (Especially If you’re handing out candy instead of collecting it)
You can get creative with your Halloween lighting by supplementing it with strands of orange or purple fairy lights, jack-o’-lanterns and colorful flood lights, but make sure the path to your door is well-lit. Proper lighting also puts trick-or-treaters at ease for a Halloween outing that could feel a bit scary for little ones.

3. Emphasize practicality over looks for masks and costumes
While you want your little ghoul or goblin to look great for Halloween, remember that trick-or-treating is an active event. Masks that impede vision and costumes that limit movement are not for going door to door. A young fairy or pirate might want to wear fancy shoes, but insist on practical sneakers, not the costume shoes that come with a pre-made costume.

4. Consider skipping the mask and going with cosmetics
With zombie or witch face paint, you can create your own unique look for your child’s costume without a cumbersome mask that could hinder peripheral vision. Shops right now are full of Halloween makeup kits that include ghostly white, witch green and blood red paints. Other costumes look great with cosmetic accessories such as hair gems for a fairy princess or temporary tattoos for pirates and sailors.

5. Use candy bags your child can carry when full
Heavy candy buckets and bags become cumbersome for kids, especially if candy-givers are generous, and could cut the festivities short. Look for lightweight but sturdy plastic or cloth candy-catchers that won’t weigh too much when loaded or drag on the ground and burst.

6. Let your Halloween flag fly
Kids won’t come to your door if they aren’t sure your home is part of the trick-or-treat circuit, so decorate for the holiday and let them know they’re welcome. Hanging a Halloween bunting and decorating your porch tells kids that your house is open for trick-or-treating, and is one of the most overlooked Halloween tips.

7. Always check candy before allowing a child to eat it
Well-intended as they may be, homemade treats don’t have the quality control of factory-wrapped candies. If you aren’t sure what’s in it, how it was made and who gave it to your child, be safe and remove it from the haul.

8. Feed kids well before the main event
A hungry child will be sorely tempted to dip into the treat bag before you’ve checked the candy and could overindulge before you know it. Don’t let a stomach ache spoil Halloween fun; serve a hearty, healthy dinner before going out trick-or-treating.

Halloween festivities should be memorable. With these safe Halloween tips, you can make sure your children remembers the holiday for all the right reasons.

Image Credit: blogs.villagegreen.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

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!

Let Halloween Go to the Dogs

Halloween has historically been a tough day for dogs. The doorbell does not stop ringing, yet no humans stay long enough to play. The dog’s young masters disappear into the night only to return with a pillowcase full of delicious smelling poison. What’s worse is the canines of yesteryear have had to deal with some notoriously terrible costumes that restrict their vision, pinch them or make them look downright ridiculous.

This year, dogs can enjoy this holiday in style. These adjustable Halloween Accessories will allow your dog to comfortably feel part of the fun. These accessories are great whether your dog is a spooky trick-or-treat companion to your little ones or a festive door greeter to the neighborhood children. Select from the Grim Reaper, Pumpkin or Ghost each for $4.95.