Halloween Countdown: Helping You Put Your Plans in Action

It’s hard to believe Halloween is less than a month away. Early October is when neighborhoods start to get into the holiday spirit, turning front yards into spooky graveyards and front porches into haunted Halloween tributes. If you haven’t yet, it’s time to start the timer on your Halloween countdown. From conjuring up your perfect costume to decorating your home for fright night, LTD has you covered with these fun tips and tricks.

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5 Things You Didn’t Know About Halloween
In an age where greeting cards and retailers seem to be the experts on holidays, it’s natural to wonder how or why the celebrated days of the year even started in the first place, not to mention why certain traditions are passed down year-after-year. Check out these five things you may not have known about Halloween.

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Halloween Makeup Advice to Bring Your Costume to Life
Makeup makes it possible to add unique details to your Halloween costume that will help give you an edge over store-bought solutions. And knowing how to use makeup for your kid’s costume will help them stand out while trick-or-treating. Assemble a makeup kit and learn some tricks with these Halloween makeup tips.

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Halloween Pet Safety Tips
Ghosts, goblins and ghouls are preparing for their favorite night of the year. Halloween is here! Costumes, candy and pumpkins occupy our minds as the holiday approaches. While we have a special safety plan in place for the kids, we also need a plan for our pets. Here are some Halloween pet safety tips to think about.

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5 Must-Haves for Creating a Hair-Raising Halloween Room
Nothing gets the creative juices flowing like trying to find new and unique ways to transform a warm and welcoming home into an eerie abode. If you want to add some serious scare into your Halloween decor, take a quick look at these key elements that will help ensure an authentic, blood-curdling ambiance.

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Halloween Trick-or-Treating Alternatives
Candy and costume-wearing is what Halloween is all about! But trick-or-treating isn’t always a reasonable activity: the weather isn’t always perfect, kids might not be the right age, and safety can be a concern. There are ways to celebrate Halloween without going door-to-door. Here are five alternatives to trick-or-treating.

Halloween Home Decorating, Fictional Facts & Football Fun

Halloween is almost here! There’s so much to get done on our to-do lists, but there’s also a lot of fun to look forward to. Check out some of these Halloween home decorating tips to help you spruce up your home with the entire holiday season in mind, learn about the origins of a couple of the most famous fictional Halloween characters and prepare for a fun, frightening night of NFL football with these interesting articles from LTD.

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How to Transition Your Home from Halloween to Harvest to Holiday
Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas are so close together. Anyone can get exhausted trying to plan out new decorations month after month. However, there are ways to make the transition easier so you can focus on other important holiday preparations. Switching from Halloween to Harvest to Christmas doesn’t have to be difficult. Check out these time-saving transition tips before your start shopping for seasonal decorations.

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Villa Diodati: The Origins of Frankenstein, Vampires & Gothic Horror
It’s been exactly 200 years since Lord Byron, John William Polidori, Percy Shelley and Mary Shelley spent a fateful summer near Lake Geneva in Switzerland, crafting ghost and horror stories as a way to get through a stretch of rainy days. Two centuries have passed since a simple writing challenge between friends changed the world of horror fiction forever. Learn about the origins of Frankenstein, the modern Vampire and more.

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Haunting Losses: The History of NFL Games on Halloween
This year Halloween falls on a Monday, meaning many Halloween parties will be featuring the game of the week. Halloween is a treat for those who don’t mind enduring a few tricks from kids they’re ignoring on 4th quarter third-and-tens. There’s been more than a handful of NFL games played on Halloween night. We’ve assembled the most haunting losses from Halloween match-ups in this historical fright night-NFL recap.

Items We Adore: LTD’s Product Picks for the Week for the Changing Seasons

Labor Day has passed and the next big holiday is Halloween — a lot happens between those two days and most of the change revolves around the seasons. We welcome the cool weather, but not without being completely prepared. Here are this week’s Items We Adore: LTD’s Product Picks for the Changing Seasons.

plush-micro-velvet-bed-blanketsCuddle Up The silky soft Plush Micro-Velvet Bed Blanket is a cozy solution to chilly nights. The luxurious blanket is perfect for cuddling up or for adding extra warmth to your bed. Its luxe sheen gives your bed an elegant look. The twin size can also double as an oversized throw.

foam-bath-runnerSoft Touch Step onto luxurious softness after your shower or bath when you place this Plush Foam Bath Runner in front of your tub. It absorbs water quickly, keeping your feet and floor dry. The soft foam insert cushions your feet while you get ready for the day. The nonskid backing prevents the runner from slipping.

scented-flameless-candlesA Warm Glow This Set of 3 Scented Flameless Candles gives you holiday style at an unbeatable price. The graduated-size candles add a warm white glow to a room’s ambiance as well as a seasonal fragrance. Made of real wax, these candles will make your whole year merry and bright. Great for homes with kids or pets.


mens-flannel-pjComfy Pants
Relax in the soft warmth of a Men’s Set of 3 Plaid Flannel Pants. For lounging around the house or to make bedtime a little warmer, this value-priced set includes 3 different plaid patterns, all with the cozy style you’ll wear all winter. Each pair features a drawstring elastic waistband and 2 side pockets.

licensed-throwsSnug as a Bug Add personality to a child’s room with a Licensed Character Plush Fleece Throw. With a colorful image of a favorite character, it’s sure to delight your little one. Super-soft and vibrant throw is just the right size for snuggling or sleeping.

6 Curious Facts About Halloween

trick-or-treaters2Halloween is one reason to look forward to fall — we get dressed up in spooky costumes, go to parties and eat a lot of candy. But the holiday has a rich history… here are six curious facts about Halloween.

Roots What we know as Halloween — the costumes and candy — is very different from how Halloween began. Scholars believe it is rooted in the Gaelic festival to honor the end of summer called “Samhain” (pronounced SAH-win). It was recognized as a time when the boundary between the spiritual world and the mortal world was more fluid. Samhain also coincided with the Christian holiday of All Saints Day which is also referred to as All Hallows Day — Halloween (All Hallows Eve) is a fusion of the Gaelic and Christian holidays.

ghost-cupcakesTreats There are a few possibilities from which we derive trick-or-treating. Originally, according to Gaelic tradition, people would put food and offerings outside their doors to appease the spirits wandering in the mortal world so they would protect villagers’ livestock.  This tradition morphed into a ritual for Scottish kids called “guising.” They dressed up in ragged clothes to blend in with the wandering spirits as they went  door-to-door asking for treats in exchange for a trick they could perform. Similarly, in Britain and Ireland children and poor people went door-to-door to trade singing and saying prayers for the dead for “soul cakes.” It was believed eating the cakes freed souls from Purgatory. The tradition was called “souling.”

Witches Samhain, where Halloween is rooted, is the highest holy day for witches. Witches are known to be ugly, covered in warts — but this wasn’t always what came to mind when witches were mentioned. According to Raven Grimassi, an author and expert on witches, witches were young and beautiful, but Roman poet Horace wanted to change how the public viewed witches so he depicted them in his writing as ugly old hags.

trick-or-treatersBlack Cats Originally, these dark felines were either friends of witches or they were witches, depending on who you ask. Popular belief is witches could would turn into black cats to disguise themselves. However, according to Greek mythology, goddess of the underworld, Hecate, had a black cat who was once human. There are two stories on who that cat was.  It was either formerly a witch with an incontinence problem or a nurse who angered the Greek goddess Eileithyia — in both scenarios, being turned into a cat was a form of punishment, not a form of disguise.

halloween-dog-treatsJack-O-Lantern The origin of the jack-o-lantern also has several explanations. In Somerset, England, kids march through neighborhoods carrying jack-o-lanterns or “punkies” for Punkie Night (the last Thursday in October). Punkies were lanterns carved from turnips with ugly faces chiseled into them — much like American jack-o-lanterns, only smaller. According to English folklore, women would go looking for their husbands in the pubs using the punkies to light their way. When the husbands saw the lanterns, they thought they were the faces of spirits. When the idea spread to the United States, pumpkins were a plentiful fall fruit and much easier to carve than a turnip so the punkie was replaced by the pumpkin.

But where we get the name “jack-o-lantern” is from Irish folklore. According to history.com, a man named Stingy Jack was a trickster and he hoodwinked the devil into promising to not claim his soul when he died. As the legend goes, when Stingy Jack died, God didn’t want such a prankster in heaven, and the devil kept his promise to not take his soul… so he roams Purgatory with a lump of burning coal in a punkie to light his way. From then on, he was known as Jack of the Lantern — and the Irish shortened it to Jack O’Lantern.

batsBats According to Popular Science, the history on the connection between bats and Halloween is murky, but the Samhain festival is at the root of one of the theories. During the festival, there were bonfires which attracted insects that bats eat, so bats were indirectly attracted to the bonfires. Bats are nocturnal, flying mammals — for people to see them out and about was unusual, which feeds the mystery surrounding these creatures and Halloween.

How celebrating Halloween started and how we celebrate it today are very different. Though the reasons and traditions have evolved over the centuries, it remains a favorite fall festivity.

Simple Halloween Decor Ideas

Ghost-Yard-StakesYour house doesn’t have to be a haunted mansion for Halloween — but it’s fun to show Halloween spirit when kids come trick-or-treating. Here are some simple Halloween decor ideas to use without having to go all out.

Yard Even if you don’t have a knack for Halloween decorating, you want your home to be welcoming to trick-or-treaters. Light the walkway to your porch — luminarias are beautiful yet spooky, but if you want the decor without the fire hazard, solar garden stakes work well, too. They don’t have to be Halloween themed — if you use simple lights, you can keep them up through the holidays to give your outdoor decor Christmas cheer.

If putting up headless horsemen or elaborate mummies is intimidating for you, or you don’t want to put in that much effort, consider putting in Halloween-themed yard stakes — they’re all of the Halloween fun and none-of the work.

pumpkin-planterPorch Pumpkins are the quintessential symbol of fall and Halloween, but you don’t have to go through the ritual of carving a pumpkin every Halloween to have a pumpkin on your porch for display. A seasonal display of ceramic pumpkin planters with your favorite fall plants and flowers dresses up your porch without all the seeds and goo that go along with jack-o-lanterns. Ghost bunting or even a Halloween flag or banner draped across the posts of your porch also add a simple and festive Halloween accent.

halloween-door-decorDoor On Halloween night, you’re going to be opening and closing the front door more than any other time of the year. You want it to be approachable for trick-or-treaters, but putting together a scary display is a lot of work for people who aren’t crafty. But you don’t have to be crafty for your door to look nice and festive. A fall wreath or a festive door greeter sends the message your house has Halloween spirit. If you don’t want to put anything directly on your door, holiday porch light covers illuminate your door to give it a festive touch.

pillar-candleIndoor Inside, give your home Halloween accents without transforming the decor by putting out few candles to give it a slightly haunting glow. If you light enough of them, it will look slightly spooky from the outside as well as the inside. If having open flames is a concern, you can get the same effect from LED candles. If candles don’t have quite enough Halloween flair for you, kick it up a notch — Halloween-themed table settings dress up the dining room while lighted Halloween canvas art bedazzles the wall.

It’s easy to make your house Halloween-ready with a few additions here and there without making the decor overwhelming. If you’re planning something more elaborate for a party we have more ideas to create a Halloween experience with food and decor. Whichever route you choose to fill your house with Halloween spirit, LTD Commodities has ideas and products to pull anything off.

Halloween Party Food for Adults

Halloween parties aren’t just for kids! Here are some ideas to make adult food into spooky snacks for a haunting Halloween party!

As adults we don’t crave sweets as much as kids, so dips are a go-to party favorite. From our Gooseberry patch 101 Slow Cooker Recipes book, we have a couple of dips you might want to try.

One of our favorites is the Hot Buffalo Dip (Yum!). It takes all the mess out of Buffalo wings but keeps the tastiness intact.

buffalo-dipWhat you need:

  • 3-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked and chopped
  • 1 cup hot wing sauce
  • 2 packages cream cheese (8oz each), cubed and softened
  • ½ cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • ¼ cup blue cheese salad dressing

For serving:

  • 1 bag Corn chips
  • 1 package celery, cleaned and cut into sticks

In a slow cooker, mix the first five ingredients together. Cover and cook on low for three to four hours.

pumpkin-bowlsFor adult Halloween parties, it’s not so much about what you serve at a Halloween party, it’s how you serve it. To dress this up for Halloween, serve this in a pumpkin bowl or make one out of a gourd.

For something a little more spicy, try Creamy Hot Corn Dip served with bread sticks shaped like bones!

What you need:

  • 2 packages cream cheese (8oz each), softened
  • 2 cans corn (15 1/4oz), drained
  • ½ cup butter (1 stick)
  • 2 jalapenos, diced

corn-dipCombine all the ingredients in a slow cooker. Cover and cook on high for 30 minutes; stir until smooth. Reduce the heat to low to keep warm.

For bone shaped bread:

  • 1 can refrigerated breadsticks

Preheat oven as indicated on the packaging. Unroll the dough. Pull the dough apart at the perforations and stretch each piece to make 12 inch ropes. Tie a loose knot at each end of the dough ropes. Bake as directed.

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Image Source: Robot B via flickr

(The dough can also be used to wrap around hot dogs or sausage to look like mummies.)

Of course, it’s not a Halloween party if you don’t have at least a few sweets. But, as adults, we don’t need fun size candy bars – we prefer our chocolate in the shape of spiders! These Peanutty Clusters transform into spiders with just a little garnish.

What you need:

  • 2lbs White melting chocolate, chopped
  • 4oz bittersweet baking chocolate, chopped
  • 12oz semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 24oz dry roasted peanuts
  • 1 package black licorice lace, trimmed to 2” pieces or pretzel sticks (for the spider legs)

Peanutty-ClustersCombine all the ingredients in a slow cooker. Cover and cook on high for one hour. Reduce the heat to low and let cook for another hour or until the chocolate is melted, stirring every 15 minutes. When it’s ready, drop chocolate one teaspoon at a time on wax paper. While it’s still warm, stick the licorice pieces or pretzels into the chocolate to look like spider legs. Let stand until set.

Halloween isn’t just about the food — the Halloween decorations have a lot to do with how spooky your snacks are perceived. We have many more ideas for holiday decorating and gifts at LTDCommodities.com where everything is #PricedForFun!

Pinteresting Picks for September

Autumn is finally here in full force, and our Pinterest followers already are in the Halloween spirit. They are sharing pins of some of LTD Commodities most popular harvest decor, as well as some fun ideas to make the indoors cozy and fun. Here are the Pinteresting Picks for September.

Bring your seasonal decor to the bathroom with this Halloween Witch Bath Ensemble.

Bring your seasonal decor to the bathroom with this Halloween Witch Bath Ensemble.

 

Admit your weakness for your four-legged friend with a Quilted Pet Throw or Shaped Pillow.

Admit your weakness for your four-legged friend with a Quilted Pet Throw or Shaped Pillow.

Make your bedroom or living space look crisp and delicious with a Bacon & Eggs Novelty Throw and Pillow.

Make your bedroom or living space look crisp and delicious with a Bacon & Eggs Novelty Throw and Pillow.

 

Make food preparation fun with these kitchen gadgets.

Make food preparation entertaining with these Fun Kitchen Gadgets.