Halloween Home Tour

via Nifty Thrifty & Thriving

With nearly 6.9 billion dollars spent on costumes, decorations, and candy, Halloween is the silly holiday we love to take seriously. Not only do we dress up the kids, ourselves, and the inside of our homes, but many of us are decorating the exterior of our homes as well. And the results are scary awesome! We’ll take you on a tour of some incredibly creative (and spooky) homes.

We love the cob webs and boarded up look of this otherwise adorable home from Between Naps on the Porch.

Talk about an infestation! We love this house crawling with oversized spiders found on The Daily Party Dish.

What looks like an impressive choir of jack-o-lanterns, is a fabulous display from Ash Tree Cottage that has a wow factor in day or night!

The Kenova Pumpkin House in West Virginia features over 3,000 carved pumpkins each year, thanks to volunteer carvers. What a scene!

Green lights and strong silhouettes make an eery display and a haunting glow.

A Los Angeles house-turned-haunted-house called The Forest of Mirrors has a fiery skull pile that is as creepy as it is cool.

Vancouver Science World Halloween Theme

The Vancouver Science World transforms into a fabulous jack-o-lantern, lighting up the BC skyline.

An over-the-top look doesn’t require an over-the-top budget! Big, bold monster shapes cut out from paper with some backlighting will make a huge impact.

This homemade UFO crash is a show-stopper and so creative. (We have to wonder where it gets stored in the off-season!)

Now we want to see your homes! Post your favorite Halloween decorations to the comments section, or on our Facebook page!

Easy DIY Fall Decorations

Mrs. Fields Secrets DIY Fall Decor

Ready to deck your halls with all things fall? We’ve rounded up some fabulous fall decor that is so simple, you can put them together in a jiffy. How long is a jiffy, you ask? Not long at all! From top left to bottom right:

  • Raking leaves and pruning trees? Save a substantial branch and use a drill to make room for tea lights. Brilliant!
  • Keep that drill out, because this hole-y pumpkin lets of a beautiful glow.
  • Wrap candles with burlap, ribbon, or even colorful leaves to give your everyday decorations a seasonal look.
  • Fill your antique pots and pitchers with tiny bunches of branches and berries. Rustic and ravishing.
  • Use glow in the dark foam to create eyes for your tree trunks. Fun, but not too spooky!
  • Fill a vase with candy corns in a vase and nestle a small candle inside for a darling decoration.
  • Tiny gourds on top of your regular candlesticks give height and presence to a little decoration.
  • Stark branches and small orange pumpkins fill a large vase and a large space.

Candy-Filled Yarn Easter Eggs

Mrs. Fields Secrets Candy-Filled Yarn Eggs
Get ready for Easter with some arts and crafts time! These yarn-covered eggs are filled with your favorite wrapped candies and ready to display for springtime, but the real question is: leave the candy inside? Or, try to get it out? We won’t judge either way.

Candy-Filled Yarn Eggs

small balloons
yarn
white glue
water
candy
wax paper

Directions
Blow up balloons into egg shapes in desired sizes. Mix two parts glue to one part water and stir. For each balloon, measure 6-10 feet of yarn per balloon, depending on how dense you want the grid pattern. Soak the yarn in the glue mixture, then string the yarn around the balloon. Set on wax paper to dry 12-24 hours. When yarn is hard and dry, pop the balloon and remove it, then sneak some of the candy inside.

DIY Bleach Designs

Mrs. Fields Secrets DIY Bleach Designs
There’s a hot new trend out there on the clothing racks that you can do yourself in your very own home, with supplies you already have on hand. These DIY bleach designs are a fun way to personalize your new fall jeans (and save money while you’re at it). And don’t stop at jeans. You can add your own designs to t-shirts, tablecloths and napkins too! Follow these tips for best results:

  • Practice your method on an old rag or t-shirt and allow it to completely set.
  • Try different tools for different designs, like pencil erasers, toothpicks, Q-tips, sponges, brushes or rags.
  • For jeans, place cardboard in the legs to keep bleach from seeping through the other side.
  • Prepare the surface below your fabric. Cookie sheets, garbage sacks or bathtubs are safe surfaces.
  • Bleach pens are great for freestyle writing and designs.
  • Allow bleach to set for at least an hour before washing and drying to set the design.

Try out these fun ideas featured in the photo with full DIY instructions:

DIY Polka Dot Jeans
Bleached Linen Napkins
Bleached Jeans

Creative Outdoor Ideas with Glow in the Dark Paint

Mrs. Fields Secrets Glow in the Dark Paint
I love the idea of simple details like glow in the dark paint transforming outdoor spaces at night. Whether you’re planning a party or just giving your yard a special touch, let these ideas inspire you:

1. Small, stenciled images on a garden path will reveal themselves in the dark and also help light the path.
2. These flower pots glowing bright at dusk make quite a statement.
3. Spray paint stencils on the lawn in glow in the dark paint to add a festive (and temporary) touch.
4. I love the idea of an illuminated path like this, leading guests to a party.
5. Using a paper doily as a stencil, transform simple cement stepping stones into lacy, glowing art.
6. These tree stumps are colorful by day, and glowing bright at night—fun for seating or tabletop decor.

{Images via Pinterest. Sources unknown.}

Edible Flowers + Recipe Ideas

Mrs. Fields Secrets Edible Flowers
Flowers dress up everything, so why not have them dress up your next dessert, salad, baked goods, ice cream, or punch? But wait, these edible flowers are not only beautiful as garnishes, they offer a unique flavors to enhance your food.

Need some inspiration? Here are some recipes to get you started:

Rose Petal Jam
Honey Lavender Ice Cream 
Bee Balm Syrup
Strawberries with Chamomile Cream
Chive Blossom Vinegar
Lilac Sorbet

HINT: Soak flowers in cool water to rinse them of any pesticides, then dry on paper towels before using.

Brilliant Uses for Water Balloons

The next time you see a package of water balloons, pick one up for the kids to play with and one for yourself to use in these genius ways:

1. Fill and freeze water balloons, then use them to cool drinks or food in a cooler without getting them wet. It makes a useful and festive display at a party. Bonus: When the balloons melt, you can have a water fight!

2. Make your own ice lanterns by filling and partially freezing water balloons. (This works especially well for fall and winter months.) Follow these great instructions.

3. For a large punch bowl, a few frozen water balloons (with the latex removed), create a prettier look than regular ice cubes. Plus, they also take longer to melt, which keeps your punch from getting watered down.

Have any other ideas for water balloons? Share them in the comments section!

Cookie Christmas Ornaments

MF Cookies as Ornaments
Do you ever make a batch of cookies so beautiful, it almost seems a shame to eat them? These holiday cookie ornaments are so pretty, they belong on your Christmas tree! Plus, they smell amazing. This is a fabulous holiday craft to do with the kids, and an extremely budget-friendly way to decorate the tree. (Yes, they look good enough to eat, but they’re actually non-edible. So keep the kids from snacking!)

Cinnamon Cookie Ornaments
adapted from Martha Stewart

1 1/2 cups ground cinnamon
1/4 cup applesauce
8 oz. (one large bottle) white school glue
cookie cutters
drinking straw
glitter, confetti, or sprinkles for decoration

Directions
Preheat oven to 200 degrees. In a mixing bowl, combine 1 cup cinnamon with the applesauce. Once you have a mealy texture, pour in 1/2 cup of white school glue and mix until well combined. Allow dough to sit 1 hour. Sprinkle a thin layer of cinnamon on a clean surface and roll out dough to 1/8 inch thickness. (If dough is sticky, add cinnamon. If dough is too dry, spritz with water.) Cut out desired shapes with cookie cutters, then cut out a small hole for ribbon or wire with the drinking straw. Bake for 2 hours, turning cookies over halfway through.

Once cool and dry, use glue and glitter or sprinkles to decorate cookies. Allow to dry thoroughly before wiring. Cookies will last several years if stored in tissue and bubble wrap.

Creative Christmas Countdowns

MF Advent 1

MF Advent 2

MF Advent 3

One of my favorite holiday traditions is a Christmas countdown. I tell myself it’s for the kids, but the truth is that I get just as excited about  I gathered some of my favorite ideas for inspiration and wanted to share them with you.

1. A variety of holiday envelopes arranged into the shape of a tree is too cute for words.

2. Paper cones create a forest of Christmas trees. Tiny surprises can hide underneath.

3. Tiny buckets, twine, and twigs create this darling display.

4. Trim Santa’s beard day by day until Christmas Eve.

5. Decorated clothespins hold brown paper packages tied up with string.

6. A simple paper chain contains holiday activities to share together.

The problem now is deciding my favorite. What about you? Do you have a favorite Christmas countdown idea?

How To: Create a Thankful Tree

This idea is equal parts simple craft project, entertainment for kids, Thanksgiving centerpiece, and feel-good activity. With a few simple items, you can create this Thanksgiving Thankful Tree and fill it with all the things you and your guests are grateful for this year. It’s a perfect gathering activity as your guests arrive, and simple enough that you can put the kids in charge of putting it together while you’re taking care of last-minute details for dinner. You’ll need the following items:

  • One sturdy branch from outside, about 3 or 4 feet tall
  • One vase, preferably tall and narrow
  • Whole nuts or smooth pebbles to secure the branch
  • Leaves cut out from colored paper (find a free template here)
  • Twine to secure leaves to tree
  • Pens, pencils, markers, or crayons for guests to use to write

If you’re feeling ambitious, you can spray paint the tree branch in advance to create more of a contrast. Otherwise, hold the branch in the center of the vase and fill the sides in with nuts or pebbles to secure it and keep it straight. Cut strips of twine just long enough to tie leaves to branches. Cut out multiple leaves, at least one per guest. Each guest can write his or her name on a leaf, along with what they are thankful for this year, before securing it to the tree. Once complete, place the tree in the center of the table for everyone to enjoy.

My favorite part of the Thankful Tree? It can be used again and again each year, and the leaves become a sweet way to remember Thanksgivings past!

One more thing—don’t forget to enter our 3rd Annual “Give Thanks with the Gift of Cookies” Giveaway! Entries accepted until midnight Sunday!

(Image via BHG.)

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