Creating a spooky atmosphere in your house at Halloween doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive. Just a few easy-to-find supplies, a couple of hours and parental supervision (if kids are handling the project) and you’ll have your house Halloween-ready before you can say boo.
Supplies: Black construction paper, pencil, scissors, tape.
Instructions: Make a stencil first — visit firstpalette.com/printable/bats.html for a printable version. Trace the outline of a bat onto the construction paper with the pencil and cut out along the lines. Repeat until you have any many bats as you want. Tape on the walls along a staircase or a hallway. You can add depth by cutting out bats in different sizes.
Supplies: White medium-sized garbage bags, rubber bands, old newspaper, string or yarn, black tape (optional)
Instructions: Ball up the newspaper and stuff it into the end of the bags to make ghost “heads.” Loop the rubber bands around the head to give the body some shape. Use the black tape to make eyes and a mouth if desired. Hang from trees or lampposts with string or yarn.
Floating witch hats
Supplies: Fabric witch hats, clear fishing line, plastic pony beads or bulky wooden beads, strong tape or adhesive to suspend the hats from the ceiling, battery-operated tea lights (optional)
Instructions: Decide where you want your floating hats to hang and how far down, then cut your fishing line accordingly with a bit extra for stringing through the hat. Tie one end of your fishing line around the bead — this will act as an anchor to keep the hat on the fishing line. Thread the other end through a sewing needle and poke through the peak of the hat, then remove the needle and suspend from the ceiling. To use the optional tea lights: Leave an extra fishing line under the anchor and tie securely around the “flame” of the tea light to let it float inside the hat.
17 fun holiday-themed activities
Christmas is fast approaching, but perhaps it doesn’t feel like the holidays yet? Here are some ways you can get into the spirit of the season.
1. Admire the decorated homes in your neighborhood
2. Attend a Santa Claus parade
3. Bake cookies and other traditional holiday treats
4. Browse a Christmas market in your area
5. Color holiday-themed pictures
6. Curl up and watch a Christmas movie
7. Do a puzzle that illustrates a winter scene
8. Donate your time to a local food drive
9. Get creative with your gift wrapping
10. Go pick out your Christmas tree
11. Listen to Christmas songs by your favorite artists
12. Look through old holiday photos
13. Participate in a Christmas craft workshop
14. Read Christmas stories with your family
15. Take in a seasonal performance (concert, ballet, play, etc.)
16. Visit a museum that has a holiday-themed exhibit
17. Write and send out your holiday cards
So, which activity will you start with this year?
Gift-wrapping tips and ideas
Once you’ve finished buying all your Christmas presents, it’s time to start wrapping them. Here are some tips and ideas to make your holiday gift-wrapping a success.
Use quality wrap
Gift wrap that’s too thin will not only tear when you handle it but may also be see-through. Choose sturdy paper that’s sufficiently thick but still easy to fold. To decorate the package, use strips of ribbon that can be either curled with scissors or tied into a pretty bow.
Furoshiki are a type of traditional Japanese wrapping cloth that can be used to cover gifts. This gift-wrapping option has environmental benefits because the cloth can be reused. Plus, you can wrap and unwrap the gift as many times as you need to achieve the perfect presentation.
Whatever type of wrap you opt to use, you can visit your local craft store to find the materials you need. However, if you aren’t confident in your gift-wrapping abilities, consider relying on charities in your community that offer gift-wrapping services during the holiday season.
Gift ideas for minimalists
Finding the right Christmas present for a minimalist can be a challenge. Here are a few clutter-free gift ideas that could be a great fit.
A service or activity
Offering to do housework, babysit or cook a meal for the minimalist in your life is a great way to show you care. Alternatively, tickets to a live show or a local event are gifts that won’t take up any space.
A monthly subscription
Consider giving your loved one a subscription to online music or television service or a digital publication that’s in line with their interests. Some companies also offer monthly subscription boxes that contain things like snacks, alcohol, and body care products. Since these products are consumable, they’ll only take up space temporarily.
A practical item
You may want to consider giving the minimalist in your life a gift that’s useful in some way, especially if you know what they need. For example, a backpack, reusable straw, or reusable hygiene products are all suitable options. However, make sure to choose quality products that’ll stand the test of time.
For more ideas, visit the businesses in your area.
4 gift ideas for foodies
Is there someone on your holiday shopping list who’s a foodie? Are you looking for a gift that’ll satisfy both their taste buds and passion for cooking? If so, here are four ideas to inspire you.
1. Reusable accessories. Consider offering your foodie reusable coffee filters, produce bags, pastry bags, muffin tins, or other items that will help them enjoy and preserve their kitchen creations.
2. Cooking classes. Whether online or in-person, a cooking class is a great way for the foodie in your life to discover new dishes and learn an array of culinary techniques.
3. Food subscriptions. If your loved one is a coffee, candy, or chocolate connoisseur, consider buying them a themed subscription box. Alternatively, you may want to gift them a basket of fresh produce and local foods to spark their creativity.
4. Artisanal products. Curating a custom gift basket that includes regional delicacies such as hot sauces, cheeses, wines, and oils is a great way to inspire your loved one to cook using local ingredients.
Keep an eye out for products, services, and activities in your region for further ways to satisfy the epicurean on your shopping list.
Holiday shopping survival guide
Do you dread the thought of navigating crowded stores, busy parking lots, and long checkout lines? Here are a few tips to make your holiday shopping experience less of an ordeal.
Go at the right time
There’s no doubt that weekends are a prime time for shopping, especially Saturdays. If possible, head to stores on a weekday or first thing in the morning. Waiting until the last minute will also mean con¬tending with crowds. Keep in mind that many navigation apps allow you to see how busy a particular location is at a given time.
Know what you want
To limit the amount of time you spend in stores, make a list and browse local retailers’ websites before you visit in person. This will ensure you know exactly where to go to get the best deals. Of course, you can also stick to shopping online, so long as you leave enough time for your packages to arrive before the holidays.
If you’re not a fan of shopping in general, you’ll want to ensure the experience isn’t any more unbearable than it needs to be. Among other things, you should:
• Dress in comfortable layers, and wear appropriate walking shoes
• Leave your car at home, if possible, to avoid searching for a parking spot
• Refrain from shopping with people who are indecisive
• Buy heavy items last so you don’t have to lug them around
Finally, depending on what would cause you the least amount of stress, you can either plan several short trips or aim to get all your shopping done at once.
Lists are not just for Santa!
The holiday season is often accompanied by worries about not being ready in time. As the festive season is approaching fast, here is a list for those in charge of organizing Christmas. It will help you make sure everything goes off without a hitch.
1. Establish your budget. This is always a good starting point. It feels awful to regret all your spending once the holidays are past.
2. Create checklists. Plan your menus, gifts, indoor and outdoor decorations, and schedule your beauty appointments well in advance.
3. Set your tasks. Each of the previous lists brings its own share of things to do, so it’s important to list them clearly along with a time frame in which to do them.
4. Spread out the tasks. Note on a calendar or in your smartphone agenda all things to do each day, as this will give you a better overview. It will also be easier to add an item to the list or delete completed tasks (yay!), so that you don’t forget anything.
5. Delegate. Some tasks can even be assigned to the children. You’ll be surprised at their creativity!
6. Get organized in advance. Some things can be done well before Christmas. Think about preparing any make-ahead dishes that can be frozen until the party or Christmas dinner. Doing this will allow you to relax a bit during the party!
7. Buy your gifts before the last-minute rush. Shopping on December 23 is just an invitation to stress. So start shopping in late November or early December. If that is truly impossible, bear in mind that shopping malls are less crowded early in the week.
Taking the time to get organized will give you the inspiration to create some unforgettable moments for you and your loved ones this holiday season.