Making this Year’s Halloween Party a Standout   


Halloween is such a festive holiday and, if you’ve decided this is your year to take the party to your house, a few tips will help make it a ghoulishly good time. Sure, you can phone it in with some chips, a case of beer, and a few decorations, but you don’t want to throw just any party for your fellow ghosts and goblins. And that doesn’t mean you have to grow your own money tree either, as a successful soiree doesn’t have to break the bank. Read on for tips on making this year’s Halloween party a standout.

Go Big on Your Costume

If you’re hosting the party, you cannot—and I repeat, cannot—opt out on the costume. You also don’t want to do something lame (hello, ghosts made with sheets). You and your fellow host/hostess should go for hilarious Halloween costumes or, at the very least, something quite creative. Of course, there are costume stores on nearly every corner during the season but, if you’re more of a DIY type, simply check out Pinterest for plenty of inspiration. Impress people with your pop culture wit by going as Eleven and her waffle from the smash hit Netflix show, Stranger Things, or go with an impressive couple’s costume. Either way, you’ll get major props for going beyond last year’s “Salt & Pepper” costume.


Haunt Your Halls in Style

There is no other holiday that calls for decorations at a party more than Halloween. It really makes the ambience that much more fun when guests enter a house filled with spooky spiders, malevolent monsters, and other gory goodness. Once again, when it comes to Halloween decorations, Pinterest will be your best friend. From the Wicked Witch’s legs coming out of your potted plants to spider light-up mason jars, it has everything you’ll need to make your event something spectacularly spooky. If you want to go all out, convert your entire pad into a haunted house. For added ambience, have a scary movie playing in the background. Of course, this is only if your guests are adults, as you don’t want to scare your wee witches and warlocks for life.

Serve Terrifying Yet Tasty Treats

When it comes to Halloween food, the grosser the better. And, wait; have I mentioned that Pinterest is your friend? Seriously—all you need to do is simply enter “Halloween food” in their search bar and your brain might explode from the plethora of ideas. For appetizers, try Frankenstein chips ‘n’ guacamole (Frankenguac!), and crescent mummy dogs (kids love these!). If you’re serving a main dish or dishes for your guests, consider slow cooker pumpkin soup, or the dead man meatloaf. For dessert, the possibilities could follow you into the afterlife. From severed ladyfinger cookies to dirt pudding pumpkin patch and pumpkin rice krispie treats, devilishly delicious desserts are the perfect way to cap off your freakishly fun fiesta.

When it comes to a Halloween party, you can’t forget the BOO-zy concoctions. Of course, beer and wine will please the pickiest of palates but remember, you want this party to stand out. Go with the theme and serve things like a caramel apple or vampire kiss martini. Talk about leaving an impression on your guests!



Play Hauntingly Good Music

No party worth its salt goes off without music. You could hire a DJ so you don’t have to worry about a thing, or simply hook up your iPod to some Bluetooth speakers. Either way, guests will love doing the Monster Mash love into the evening. As we all know, it’s a dead man’s party. Check out the Bluetooth audio options from JBL to ensure your playlist bumps all night long.

Want your party to be special and spooky? Follow the tips mentioned for a ghost of a good time.





[Post sponsored by Purple Camel Media]

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Skelly Dog

As we cruised the aisles of Costco, George stopped in his tracks. “Skelly dog is FIVE DOLLARS!!!”, he proclaimed with delight. I sighed, knowing exactly what he was thinking. He added, “It was $10, but now it’s only $5. I NEED this.” I could have sworn this was one of my children clamoring over a new toy instead of my husband. Sarcastically, I remarked, “Need? Really?!?!” This Halloween decoration, a skeleton mutt, was as unappealing to me as George’s prized Halloween decoration, Elmer.

Yet, I knew we’d adopt the little mongrel because George loved it.  What surprised me was how much Harper also loved the little fella.  When we got home, Harper insisted we open Skelly Dog from his box right away.  Then, he proceeded to carry him around gleefully.  Last Halloween, Harper was terrified of George’s kitschy Halloween decor, but this year he’s all aboard.  It looks like George may have a protege after all.  Halloween has never been my favorite holiday, but my family is certainly warming my heart to the holiday.

A boy and his dog….



On Halloween night, Elmer will escape from the attic to perch on our porch with our little pet, Skelly Dog.  Happy Halloween!



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Personalized Pumpkins

After visiting the Flower Mound Pumpkin Patch, we amassed a variety of pumpkins, which needed decorating, and of course personal touches.  Pumpkin carving is a festive tradition, but in the Texas heat they grow mold almost immediately, and you can’t appreciate them long-term.  Instead of carving, I prefer a little paint and a few stickers.

With the first found of pumpkins, we let each child choose a tempera paint color to slather on a pumpkin.  It was an utter mess, but they had a blast expressing their creative sides.  Plus, it was a full on sensory experience; they covered their arms, hands, and cheeks before they finished.  After our little art extravaganza, I used copious amounts of Shout and washed clothes multiple times to rid them of bright paint splatter.  Thankfully, there’s no remaining evidence of art on their clothes.

painted pumpkins painted pumpkins

For the second set of pumpkins, I created a monogram for each child using the same process I used to make cookies for Santa plates.

First, I printed individual letters in 300 pt French Script font from Microsoft Word.

DIY monogrammed pumpkin

Then, I flipped the paper over and rubbed pencil over the area where the letters were.

DIY monogram pumpkin

I pressed the letters, print side up onto a smooth part of the pumpkin and traced over it with heavy pressure using a pen.

DIY monogram pumpkin

This left a faint outline, which I filled in with a paint pen. It’s very faint in the picture, but there is a light outline of the “R” on the face of this pumpkin.

DIY monogram pumpkin


When I was finished, we had four handsome monogrammed pumpkins.  I let the kids loose with Halloween stickers so they could leave their own flare.

DIY Monogram pumpkins

The best part about pumpkin decorating is displaying them on the porch for others to admire.  The quads beamed with pride when I let them carry their own pumpkins to the porch.  I helped with arrangement of course.


We placed the tempera paint pumpkins under the covered part of the porch since rain tends to wash them clean.  Each time we go out the front door, the kids point out their personalized pumpkins with their “letter”.


Fall porch decor

On Halloween Eve, we’ll carve the largest pumpkins together and cross our fingers they last 24 hours.  What is your favorite way to decorate pumpkins?





His Name is Elmer

Our neighborhood has a hopping Buy, Sell, Trade site, which may be a slight addiction for me.  George and I check it frequently for the latest deals.  We’ve scored everything from free moving boxes to board books, and sold our share of goodies too.  Several months ago we removed the builder grade mirror from the quad’s bathroom and replaced it with an ornately framed version.  Once the old mirror was removed, we posted it as free on our Buy, Sell, Trade site.  A firefighter snatched it up for the firehouse workout room, and George set it out for porch pick up.  Unbeknownst to me, the same firefighter posted a Halloween decoration for sale at $10.  Being a Halloween aficionado, George asked if this particular item was still available, and naturally it was.  However, instead of charging $10 for the gem, the altruistic firefighter decided it was a fair trade for the mirror.  Worst trade ever!

When I came home from work one evening, I was greeted by a life-sized skeleton dangling in a cage.  This guy was a grisly, unwelcome sight!  Not only was it realistic and enormous, but it also lights up and chatters spooky things.  I was certain it would terrify the quads and therefore be unacceptable at our house.  The next day, I ushered them into the foyer were our new resident perched, fully expecting shrieks of terror.  Instead, all four squealed “pirate!” as they inspected this guy, going right up to the cage and poking him with their little fingers.  Apparently all the preparations for their Pirates & Princesses birthday party created an immunity to skeletons.  Ugh.  Over the years, I’ve accepted the fact that in October George will put out an array of kitschy decorations that I don’t prefer, but this one really made me cringe.  I’d do about anything to banish him from our home, but I knew it wasn’t happening.  George’s eyes glistened like a child on Christmas morning.  As much as I loathed this decoration, I knew he would stay.  However, he could only stay under a few conditions 1. He would be banished to the attic 364 days of the year 2. He could only post on the porch Halloween night 3. We could dress him in pirate attire to make him a bit more kid friendly.  Against my demands, George kept his new friend in our study for several weeks, and became so attached he named him Elmer.  I’d cringe every time I entered the study and laid eyes on the wretched beast so I eventually heaved him upstairs myself.  Instead of stuffing him deep into the attic, George placed him directly at the entry of the attic so whenever anyone opens the attic, Elmer is staring back with his empty eye sockets.  It’s horrific!

Halloween decoration, life size caged skeleton

Even though I despise old Elmer perching in my attic, I’ve settled with the fact that he’s a permanent family member. Last weekend, George and I began hauling our fall boxes from the attic, and against George’s wishes Elmer stayed up. We didn’t have time to begin decorating so the boxes stayed in our dining room. The next day was like any other, George changed the quads while I prepared breakfast, he set off to work as we nibbled our meal, yada yada yada. After breakfast, I began tidying up while the quads entertained each other. After a few minutes, all four ran into the breakfast nook proclaiming there was a monster upstairs. I recalled reading a Halloween book before bed and thought their imaginations were really running wild. I made a futile attempt to convince them we were monster free upstairs. Eventually, they led me by the hand to the foot of the stairs as they pointed to a tall dark silhouette of a witch.  I had to conceal my laughter because I knew they were genuinely scared.  Harper refused to step foot out of the kitchen and instead peered at the witch from around a corner.  The others were only slightly more brave and approached the witch with fingers covering their eyes.

Halloween decoration, witch siholette

quads reaction to finding Halloween decorations

I spent the remainder of the day trying to prove that the black figure was only made of wood. I turned her over to show the wood grain, laid her on the floor, and even walked along the surface of it. Rylin, Mason, and Sydney eventually believed it was no monster, but Harper could not shake the fear. Even after I moved the witch out of sight, Harper fearfully inquired about her all day and shielded his eyes.

That evening, George and I situated our witch in the bushes outside and adorned our porch with friendlier fall decor including warm orange lights and grinning pumpkins. Harper still isn’t a fan of the witch, but he tolerates her the way I tolerate Elmer.

fall porch decor: orange lights plastic bats


fall porch decor

Fall wreath with burlap ribbon and monogram

What are your favorite fall decorations? Do you appreciate the grisly variety or prefer subdued, friendlier fare?



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