Everyday Hacks

Fall Decorating Hacks

Creative and quick ideas for Halloween and beyond

Fall brings cooler weather, warm coats, hot drinks and some of our favorite holidays. Those helpful catalogs that show up in our mailboxes this time of year make holiday entertaining look so easy with their pictures of perfectly appointed, spotless rooms decorated in all white, which we all know is about as practical as, well, white carpet in a house with children. But, for those of us with crayon-toting, juice-spilling offspring and about 15 minutes of free time, here are fall decorating hacks we can handle.

Delightful Jars

You didn’t get around to canning this summer either, did you? That’s OK, because it means we have extra Mason jars sitting around begging for something to do. So if you aren’t drinking out of them, put them to good use for holiday decorating.

• Fill a Mason jar with popcorn kernels, split peas or red lentils. Push a votive candle into the beans or corn kernels far enough so that half of it is still visible. Tie a ribbon or some raffia around the neck of the jar and you have a catalog-worthy candle!

• For a fast and festive Thanksgiving table decoration, fill several Mason jars or clear vases about halfway full with water and add a handful of cranberries. Throw in some greenery such as sprigs of fern and float a tea light candle on the top. Place the jars down the center of your table and voila! Centerpiece!

• Make your Mason jar centerpiece a little more Christmas-like with the addition of pinecones around the candles. If you gather pinecones from the great outdoors, make sure you haven’t brought any unwanted insects into the house: Bake the pinecones for 45 minutes in a 200-degree oven before displaying them.

No-Carve Pumpkins

Are your kids sooooo past the “it’s fun to carve our Jack O’Lantern” stage or maybe not old enough to handle knives? Here are two ideas to still enjoy decorating your gourd without the gouging:

• Decorate your pumpkin with silver- or copper-colored metal pushpins. Use the pins to make a face, outline the contours of the pumpkin or let your kids create their own unique design.

• Go with a white pumpkin this year. Glue on a pair of googly eyes or draw a pair of eyes with a Sharpie and you have a ghost to guard your front porch.

Halloween Decorating Hacks

Spooky is fun, but surprises put the treat in Halloween. Try these hacks to give your party décor a spark without a lot of hassle:

Witchy table

Cover a four-legged table with a black tablecloth and then slide striped tights on the legs of the table. Secure the tops of the tights (if you don’t ever plan on wearing them again) to the underside of the table by using push pins or duct tape. Place witchy-looking boots or pointy shoes (or ruby slippers if you’ve got ‘em) on the base of the legs. If you don’t have such things in your own wardrobe, check your older sister’s closet or a thrift store.

Icy hand

Put a latex glove on and wash your hands with dish soap. Rinse well, then turn the glove inside out so the just-washed side is on the inside. Next, fill the glove with water, tie the end and put it in your freezer. When it’s frozen, remove the glove and add the icy hand to your Halloween punch bowl.

Handy treat bags

Fill the fingers and palms of latex gloves with candy and tie a knot on the end. Place a spider ring on one finger. Scatter the candy-filled hands across your partyscape. Make sure all the guests get a hand (another hand pun — just when you thought we would run out!) when they leave.

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