Homeowners insurance blog

Decorate Like a Pro This Halloween, Part 2

Like any great Halloween horror movie – Halloween, Nightmare on Elm Street, Friday the 13th – our original post needed a sequel to convey the whole story. So let’s delve into some decorations that will outfit your abode in all things spooky and reminiscent of the autumn.

Be the scariest stop in the neighborhood

Halloween is the start of the holiday season, with Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, New Years, Valentine’s Day, and St. Patrick’s Day following, so show your excitement by decorating your home and yard for All Hallows’ Eve.

Here are a few tips to make sure the neighborhood kids are talking until Turkey Day about how awesome your abode looked:

  • Turn your yard into a cemetery. Simple, yet spine-tingling. Make some headstones by picking up foam sheets, grey and white paint, and black spray paint. Cut the shape of the tombstone into the foam sheet and cover it with black spray paint. Once covered, dust on the grey and white paint with brushes (lightly). You can add designs, names, funny messages, or simply put ‘RIP’ on the finished products before planting them in the front yard.
  • Ghosts in the graveyard. What cemetery would be complete without a few ghosts? While you’re at the craft store, pick up white lanterns, black felt, white fabric, and string or twine. Cut the black felt in shapes to make a face for the ghost and glue said shapes onto the white fabric. Put the lantern together and drape the white fabric over the top. Use the string or twine to hang the ghosts from trees or your porch.
  • Creepy crawlies. Halloween just isn’t the same without appearances from spiders and bats, and they often look the scariest around cobwebs. You can buy black craft foam and googly eyes to make bats. Simply cut out the shape of bats, glue on googly eyes, and hang them around your front yard to give the illusion that they’re flying. As for the spiders, simply buy the premade spider web material and stretch it across your porch. Bring the spider web to life by including a smattering of plastic spiders throughout.

You can get crazier with your decorations and include fake blood, motion-sensor decorations that make sinister sounds as kids walk by, scarecrows, the whole shebang. But whatever you use to decorate, make sure to reduce the risk of trick-or-treaters getting injured when they come to your home.

Otherwise, there could be trouble? Let’s say you get a little overzealous with the cobwebs and your porch is absolutely covered. If a neighborhood kid already on a sugar high from jumping into his or her bag of treats comes running full speed up to your door to collect more candy and slips on the cobwebs, falls, and breaks his or her arm, you may be liable for the medical bills that result. Keep the decorations that could cause trick-or-treaters to trip or slip off the ground and away from the door.

Killer parties

If you’re having a party this Halloween, chances are you’ll have a display of spooky snacks on the table and a few creepy cocktails to wash them down with.

Getting stuck on what to make your guests to eat and drink? We’ve got you covered.

  • Pumpkin Rice Krispie Treats. Making these takes little time and they’re quite the crowd pleaser. Simply add orange food coloring – or a combination of red and yellow, if you can’t locate orange, to the melted marshmallows to give the treat its signature color, and mold the resulting mixture into balls, each topped with a tootsie roll and green icing leaves. Full recipe here.
  • Pumpkin deviled eggs. No, not pumpkin flavored. Just giving the appearance of pumpkins. Make normal deviled eggs and add orange food coloring to the yolk, mayonnaise, and mustard mixture, and top with a tiny bit of green onion. More information here.
  • Morgue-a-rita. With a bit of corn syrup and food coloring, you can put a spooky spin on a classic drink. Recipe here.
  • Bourbon pumpkin pie milkshake. Want to use Halloween as a way to let out your inner child? Make an adult milkshake that combines pumpkin puree and a couple of shots of bourbon in a sweet treat for grown-ups. Check it out here.
  • Need more food or drink ideas? Click here or here for a couple of awesome lists with detailed recipes for dips, desserts and more. Or peruse this to cater to thirstier patrons.

Keep in mind that if you are hosting a party at which alcoholic drinks will be served, you have to do your part to lower the likelihood that your guests will drive home under the influence.

With Halloween falling on the weekend this year, more children will be out trick-or-treating for longer periods of time and more adults will be out reliving their childhoods. However, 2008 was the last year in which the holiday fell on a Saturday, and the Insurance Information Institute reported that 58% of all highway fatalities involved drivers who had a blood alcohol content of .08 or higher.

Did you know that you could be on the hook if a guest from your party drunkenly drives home and causes a crash that injures or kills another? Be a good host and collect keys when guests enter your party and keep track of how much alcohol they’re consuming in case you need to cut them off later in the night. If the thought of telling friends or family that they’ve had too much to drink makes you uncomfortable, hire a professional bartender.

Don’t forget to make sure all guests either have a designated driver, a transportation service on speed dial, or are spending the night if they plan on drinking.

Above all, enjoy the scariest night of the year and make sure you proactively reduce your liability risks. It will allow you – and your home insurance provider – to breathe a little easier.