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Alan Bernau Jr

Recent Posts

5 Things Homeowners Forget To Do Before Winter

Posted by Alan Bernau Jr on Wed, Jan 3, 2018


Each fall, many homeowners go through a checklist of things to do to get their home ready for wintertime. Unfortunately, important items are sometimes left off the list. Here are a few things you'll want to make sure you've taken care of before we get too far into winter.

  1. Clean the Gutters. Cleaning the gutters of your home means removing the leaves, twigs, mud, and other debris collected in them. When your gutters are clean, rainwater and melting snow can travel through the downspouts and away from your home. This can prevent ice dams from forming and damaging your roof. You may want to hire a professional to clean your gutters because it can be a hazardous job. But if you're a DIYer, you can put on a pair of work gloves and climb a ladder to remove the debris from your gutters. Remember to have a trash can below you to collect the wet leaves, sticks, etc. Also, be sure to enlist a friend to keep the ladder steady for you as you climb.
  2. Service the Furnace. Before the temperatures drop, you want to know that the furnace is going to work when you need it. Servicing your furnace starts with replacing its filter. When air flows freely through the filter, your furnace is able to work more efficiently. High heating bills can occur if your furnace is working harder than it needs to due to a clogged air filter. I suggest buying a package of air filters and labeling them for each season, so you remember to put a fresh one in at the right time. Performing a test to evaluate the accuracy of the thermostat is another way to make sure your furnace is ready for winter. Consider calling an HVAC company to arrange a basic checkup of your furnace. Getting a basic checkup now can prevent a furnace malfunction in the middle of winter.
  3. Reverse the Ceiling Fans. Did you know that reversing the direction of a ceiling fan can contribute to the warmth in your home? In the wintertime, make sure your ceiling fan is turning clockwise. This moves the heat near the ceiling down into the room. Every ceiling fan has a switch on it somewhere on the motor housing that you can click to change the direction of the paddles. Making this simple adjustment to your ceiling fan can help you reduce the amount of times you engage the furnace. This can result in lower heating bills this winter!
  4. Inspect the Roof. Stand in your yard and look at the sides of your roof. Missing or damaged shingles allow rain and melted ice to get under your roof, causing mold and damage. Also, heat from your home can be lost due to damaged shingles. If you like to take on DIY projects, you can use a ladder to climb up and replace damaged or missing shingles. Sheets of shingles can be purchased at hardware stores. If you're leery about getting up on a ladder and walking on your roof, there are professionals who can replace damaged shingles in a short amount of time.
  5. Inspect the Air Ducts. Air ducts can be found in attics, basements, and elsewhere in a home. Sometimes, an air duct can separate from a wall, allowing warm air to escape or cold air to enter. Using duct mastic for repairs is one solution if you find an air duct that's separated from a wall. Repairing loose or separated air ducts also prevents squirrels, mice, raccoons, and other animals from gaining access to your home and doing damage.

If you've overlooked one of these five tasks, there is still time to check it off the list before winter sets in. Thanks for reading! - Alan

Topics: home winter checklist

What Happens To Plants When They Go Dormant

Posted by Alan Bernau Jr on Fri, Dec 22, 2017


By now, there may be just one or two leaves clinging to the beautiful trees in your neighborhood. I know I have several trees around my home that seemed to be full of colorful leaves just a short time ago. Can you relate? Though they may not look so good, the trees and plants all around you are simply in a state of dormancy. Dormancy is nature's way of protecting plants and trees from the cold temperatures of winter. This week, I thought I'd take a closer look at what happens to plants when they go dormant.

Plants and Dormancy

In the spring and summer, nutrients travel from the roots of a tree or plant up to its leaves. These nutrients support the continual growth of the plant. But as temperatures begin to go down in the fall, many plants and trees go dormant. This means nutrients are stored in the roots instead of being sent up to the leaves. The state of dormancy allows a plant or tree to conserve its nutrients and energy until the temperature goes up again in the spring, providing the right conditions for fresh growth. Dormancy for plants is the equivalent of hibernation for animals.

Are They Dead or Dormant?

Dormant trees are sometimes mistaken for dead ones because there are no obvious signs of life. But a dormant tree or plant is still alive. There are a few things you can check to determine if a plant or tree is dormant or dead. Try checking for buds: Though a dormant tree is not actively growing in the cold weather months, there should still be some tiny buds on it. Alternatively, a tree with shriveling buds or no buds at all is probably dying or dead. A tree with a layer of fresh bark growing is in dormancy. But a tree with shedding bark that's not being replaced with new growth is a dying tree. Here's a simple test: Choose a small twig on a tree and bend it in half. If it doesn't break, then the tree is dormant. The twig on a dead tree will snap very quickly, revealing a dry interior.

Caring for Dormant Plants

Did you know that indoor plants can go dormant, too? Sometimes, they go dormant due to stress, and other times, it's just a natural part of their cycle. If you have indoor plants that go dormant, they require only a low level of sunlight to survive. But you should still water them about once a month.

Are There Any Plants That Don't Go Dormant?

Annuals aren't included on the list of plants that go dormant: They grow for a single season, so they are not designed to stop their growth and conserve energy like perennials do.

Interesting Facts About Dormant Plants

  • Evergreens such as pines and spruce trees have a dormancy period, but they don't drop their needles.
  • The duration of a tree's dormancy depends on its species and location.
  • A decrease in temperature as well as daylight hours triggers dormancy in plants and trees.
  • Putting mulch around the base of a tree before it goes dormant can help with root growth in the wintertime

The next time you look out the window at the bare branches of your favorite tree, remember that it's just taking a well-deserved break until spring. Thanks for reading. - Alan

Topics: plants go dormant

How To Pick The Perfect Christmas Tree

Posted by Alan Bernau Jr on Tue, Dec 12, 2017


Do you get a real Christmas tree for your home each year? Maybe you love the lingering fragrance and the feel of the needles as you put up your ornaments. Naturally, you want to get the best tree for your household. This week, I have some tips on how to choose the perfect Christmas tree.

Choose a Tree That Fits Your Lifestyle

Though evergreens are known as hardy trees, all varieties need a fresh supply of water each day to maintain their color and look their best. If you want a low-maintenance Christmas tree, look for a small one with short needles such as a balsam fir, Fraser fir, or noble fir. Alternatively, if you have the time to care for a majestic Christmas tree with long needles that needs a lot of water, go with a white pine or a Scotch pine.

Consider the Needles on Your Tree

Some trees have long, soft needles, while others are short and stiff. A tree with soft, pliable needles may be a little safer if you have kids who like to play around the Christmas tree. Some popular trees with soft needles include the balsam fir and white pine.

The Longevity of Your Tree

With the right care, a balsam fir can last a long time in your home, so if you like to decorate early and keep your tree up into January, you may want to consider a balsam fir. Scotch pine, white fir, and Leyland cypress are three other varieties known for their longevity.

The Scent of Your Tree

Looking for a Christmas tree with a strong fragrance? I think the fragrance of a tree is one of the best parts of getting a real one at Christmastime. You have a lot of beautiful choices! Balsam firs have a pine scent that can permeate the house. Fraser firs, Canaan firs, and white pines are three other trees with a strong fragrance.

Measure Your Tree for the Right Fit

The best way to end up with a Christmas tree that fits in your home is to consider your ceiling height as well as the height of your tree stand. Be sure to factor in plenty of open space above the top of your tree.

Signs of a Healthy Tree

When considering a selection of trees, look for one with deep, even coloring. Take hold of a tree's trunk and gently shake it. A tree that's in good condition will lose very few needles. If you're looking at a fir, take a needle and fold it in half: The needle of a fresh fir will break. Do this same experiment with a pine: A fresh pine needle will bend but immediately snap back into shape.

Caring for Your Tree

Choose a place for your Christmas tree that's away from heat vents and sunlight. As far as watering goes, some people think that adding commercial products to the water can make a Christmas tree last longer. However, it's best not to add anything to its water. Just make sure you're monitoring the level and filling it each day.

Once you're ready to take your Christmas tree down, think about recycling it to keep it out of the landfill. Look for Christmas tree recycling signs around your town or neighborhood. Or if you have a fish pond on your property, drop your tree into it to serve as a place for fish to hide from predators.

Thanks for reading. - Alan

Topics: Pick Christmas Tree

8 Ways To Protect Your Home From The Winter Chill

Posted by Alan Bernau Jr on Fri, Dec 1, 2017


Is your home ready for the cold temperatures of winter? The winter months are certainly more enjoyable when you have a warm home to go to when the snow starts to fly and temperatures drop. Fortunately, there are several simple things you can do to prep your home for winter. These eight tips can help you stay warm and dry through the cold weather season.

  1. Check Your Shingles. Look at the condition of your roof to see if you have any missing or loose shingles. Loose or missing shingles can give cold air access to your home, so it's a good idea to replace them so you have a sturdy roof over the winter.
  2. Clean the Gutters. Gutters can become filled with leaves, sticks, dirt, and residue from roof shingles. When this happens, rain water or melting snow can't flow through them and away from your home. A clogged gutter can damage your roof and lead to water leaking into your home. If you don't feel secure cleaning the gutters yourself, it's worth the money to get the assistance of a professional.
  3. Install Storm Windows and Doors. If you have storm windows or doors, now is the time to install them. Removing the screen door from your front or back entrance and replacing it with a storm door goes a long way toward keeping the cold breezes out of your home. Storm windows block many of the leaks that result in cold rooms in the wintertime.
  4. Clean the Chimney. If you use your fireplace over the winter, it's necessary to have the chimney cleaned once a year. Creosote and ash build up in a chimney over time, creating a fire hazard whenever you use your fireplace.
  5. Enclose Your Porch. If you're lucky enough to have an inviting porch, think about enclosing it to keep the winter cold out of your home. Your enclosed porch will be another place where you can sit in comfort while enjoying the wintertime scenery.
  6. Plant Hedges. A line of hedges on the north side of your home is a beautiful addition to a yard. Hedges are also excellent at blocking cold winds. Think of your hedge as a natural line of protection for your home in the winter.
  7. Put Up Heavy Curtains. You'd be surprised at how effective a pair of heavy curtains can be at blocking drafts from entering a room through the windows. Wool and velvet are two examples of heavy fabrics perfect for curtains used in the wintertime. Be sure to keep your curtains open during the day so your home can benefit from the warm sunshine.
  8. Get Some Draft-Stoppers. A draft-stopper is specially made to fit under a door to stop drafts from blowing into a home. It consists of foam or other insulating material contained in a fabric bag. Put your hand down near the base of your door to see if you need a draft-stopper this winter. I suggest you put a draft-stopper on your shed door this winter; tt can help you to enjoy warmer temperatures in your shed if you want to do any repair or DIY projects out there this winter.

Try some of these tips to see if they make a difference in how warm your home is. Thanks for reading. - Alan

Topics: protect home from winter chill

The Best Wood For Your Wood Stove & Fireplace

Posted by Alan Bernau Jr on Thu, Nov 30, 2017


Here is a gas fireplace made to look like a wood fireplace.  If you have a wood fireplace than deciding which type of wood works best is something to think about.

Are you excited to use your wood stove or fireplace for the first time this year? If so, then it's important to have the right kind of wood ready to go. This week, I've got some tips for getting the most out of your wood stove or fireplace this winter. Enjoy!

Long-Burning Wood

Walnut, hard maple, birch, and oak are all examples of hardwoods. Hardwoods burn slowly and are the best choice for your wood stove or fireplace. They also burn very hot, providing more than enough heat to your home. Because of its great qualities, hardwood is usually more expensive than softwood.

Fast-Burning Wood

Cedar, spruce, pine, and balsam are all examples of softwood. This type of wood burns fast, leaving behind a fine layer of ash. This ash can quickly start to build up as creosote in your chimney. Though softwood is less expensive than hardwood, it is less desirable.

Wood With a Delightful Fragrance

Some types of wood create a lovely fragrance when burning in a fireplace or wood stove. I think the best part of having a fireplace or wood stove is watching the glowing flames. But a wonderful scent in the air makes the experience extra-special. For example, yew has an appealing fragrance when burned in a stove or fireplace. Plus, it's slow-burning, so you have more time to enjoy it. Though pine is a quick-burning wood, it offers you a pleasant fragrance. Other fragrant woods include apple, birch, and cherry.

What Types of Wood Should You Avoid?

Avoid putting wood with paint or varnish on it into your fireplace or wood stove. This can release toxic fumes when burned. Keep in mind that greenwood has a lot of moisture and provides little to no heat. Plywood, particle board, and pressboard are other types of wood that shouldn't be burned in your fireplace or wood stove.

Tips for Drying Wood

Whether it's hardwood or softwood, the wood you put into your fireplace or wood stove must be dry. Any piece of wood should contain less than 20 percent moisture. You can stack wood to dry it, making sure that you allow the proper amount of airflow between the pieces. Get a hand-held moisture meter from a hardware store to gauge the progress of the drying process. Be sure to factor in that it takes about one year of drying time for each inch of wood thickness.

Operating Your Fireplace or Wood Stove Efficiently

The overall efficiency of your wood stove depends on a lot of factors. In order to be efficient, your wood stove must be installed the right way as well as receive regular maintenance. A buildup of creosote in the chimney of your wood stove can be a fire hazard as well as decrease the efficiency of your stove. It's a smart idea to call a certified chimney sweep to get your chimney inspected and cleaned once a year. Your fireplace should also be inspected/cleaned once a year to get rid of accumulating creosote. Sweep the ashes out of your wood stove or fireplace to keep them from piling up and creating a fire hazard. And burn hardwood instead of softwood in your wood stove or fireplace to enjoy the highest degree of heat in your home.

Remember to be safe as you warm up your home this winter. Thanks for reading. - Alan with Alan's Factory Outlet

Topics: best wood for your fireplace

Winter Is Coming: Tips To Winterize Your Shed

Posted by Alan Bernau Jr on Mon, Nov 20, 2017


Preparing your shed for the winter months can help keep your tools, equipment, and shed itself in good condition. Plus, winterizing your shed can make it a more comfortable place to spend time during the cold weather. Look at a few winterization tips for your shed, garage, or barn to make sure you're ready before the snow flies!

Seven Tips for Winterizing Your Shed

  1. Sweep Out the Debris. Give your shed a thorough sweep to remove the dead insects, leaves, dirt, twigs, and other debris. Be sure to move the tools and other items out of the corners to reach every inch of the floor. Sweeping debris out of your shed removes the material mice, squirrels, and other rodents may use to build a winter home in your structure.
  2. Apply Weather Stripping. Close the door of your shed and run your fingers around its border. Do you feel air leaking through? If so, get some weather stripping and apply it around your door. This is an easy DIY project that takes less than 30 minutes. Be sure to check your windows for leaks around the edges and apply weather stripping if needed. Preventing air and moisture from entering your shed or garage can prevent mildew from forming and tools from rusting. Plus, it's more pleasant to work in your shed without the cold breezes blowing in on you.
  3. Check the Bottom Seal on the Garage Door. You can keep freezing air from blowing into your garage by replacing the bottom seal on the garage door. This seal can become worn and begin to crack or tear away. Give the seal a visual inspection, then close the door and put your hand near its base to see if any air is coming through. The process of replacing the bottom seal is easy, and you can find a replacement at any hardware store.
  4. Remove Debris Around the Exterior of the Structure. Take a walk around your shed, garage, or barn to look for piles of sticks, leaves, grass clippings, or fallen logs that are close to the exterior walls. If you find any of this type of debris, remove it. Depending on how much debris you find, this task could take you 30 minutes to an hour. Removing this debris discourages squirrels, mice, insects, and other pests from building homes near your shed and possibly gaining access to the structure.
  5. Clean and Organize Gardening Equipment and Tools. Taking some time this month to clean and organize rakes, hoses, shovels, spades, and other similar items means they will be ready to use in the springtime. Unhook your garden hose from the outdoor spigot and empty the water out of it. Then, coil it and hang it in on a wall hook inside your shed. Get a spray bottle of water, a bottle of mild soap, a sponge, and a rag to clean your rakes, shovels, and spades. Make sure they are completely dry before neatly arranging them in a corner. Cover the tools with a tarp to prevent dust from settling on them.
  6. Clear Out Old, Unwanted Items. If you have items such as dried-out cans of paint, broken or rusted tools, empty containers, or outdated seed packets, dispose of them to make more room in your shed or garage. Use the newly cleared space to start a project to work on over the winter.
  7. Store Organic Items. If you have soil, mulch, seeds, or other organic items in your shed or garage, put them in waterproof bags for the winter. This can prevent mildew, mold, and other damage that would ruin the contents. Plus, I would store any dog food, horse grain, or other food you have in metal garbage cans with lids. This makes it practically impossible for mice and other rodents to get into your pet's food supply.

Good luck as you prepare your shed for winter! Thanks for reading. - Alan

Topics: winterize your shed

18 Things You Never Knew About Thanksgiving

Posted by Alan Bernau Jr on Tue, Nov 14, 2017


With thanksgiving and winter getting closer is it the right time to start thinking about buying a metal rv cover for your motorhome?

Do you look forward to celebrating Thanksgiving each November? It's such a pleasure to see a table full of delicious turkey, mashed potatoes, cranberries, and other traditional favorites. More importantly, Thanksgiving is a day to celebrate our freedoms and enjoy time with loved ones. I think of Thanksgiving as a day to relax and remember all of our blessings. You may think you know everything there is to know about Thanksgiving, but do you? Here are some facts about Thanksgiving that may surprise you.

18 Things You Never Knew About Thanksgiving

  1. Sixteen pounds is the average weight of a turkey purchased in the United States for Thanksgiving dinner.
  2. Do you like green bean casserole? You're not alone: More than 40 million green bean casseroles are put on dinner tables every Thanksgiving.
  3. Fifty percent of Americans like to cook Thanksgiving stuffing on the side, while the other 50 percent like to put it in the turkey.
  4. The cranberries we eat today were originally known as crane berries. The pink blossoms and drooping head of this plant reminded pilgrims of a crane.
  5. Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin ate foil packets of roasted turkey in space after walking on the moon.
  6. The very first Thanksgiving celebration took place over three days. Hey, I think we should bring this tradition back. Are you with me?
  7. Thanksgiving turkeys led to the birth of TV dinners. In 1953, the Swanson company had an abundance of turkey left over from the holiday, so they decided to sell it in aluminum foil trays alongside a helping of sweet potatoes and other delicious sides.
  8. A turkey is taken to the White House every year to receive an official pardon from the president. That lucky turkey doesn't end up on the dinner table.
  9. The first Thanksgiving didn't include turkey: The pilgrims ate deer, fish and geese.
  10. President Abraham Lincoln set the official holiday of Thanksgiving on the fourth week of November.
  11. If you live in California, you live in the state where the most Thanksgiving turkeys are eaten.
  12. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the heaviest turkey on record weighed in at 86 pounds.
  13. After the first Thanksgiving, it took 200 years for this celebration to become a national holiday.
  14. Find the wishbone of your Thanksgiving turkey, dry it, and get a friend to pull the other side of it. It's said that the person who ends up with the largest piece of the bone will have good luck.
  15. The largest number of turkeys are produced in Minnesota.
  16. In America, 91 percent of households eat turkey for Thanksgiving. That's a lot of delicious leftovers!
  17. More than 42 million Americans travel 50 miles or more to visit relatives on Thanksgiving.
  18. You probably could guess that mashed potatoes and stuffing are the two most popular side dishes on Thanksgiving. The third is macaroni and cheese. Mac and cheese is especially popular in the southern states.

Regardless of what foods you like on your Thanksgiving Day table, I hope you and your family have a fun holiday. Thanks for reading. - Alan

Topics: 18 Things about Thanksgiving

How To Choose The Right Rescue Dog For Your Family

Posted by Alan Bernau Jr on Mon, Nov 6, 2017


October is the month for pumpkins, treats, and goblins. But did you know that it's also Adopt a Shelter Dog Month? Dogs end up in animal shelters for a lot of reasons. Some dogs are found on the streets and never reclaimed by their owners, while other dogs are brought in by people who can't keep them anymore. Most rescue dogs are accustomed to living in a home with a family. This makes them perfect for many households. This week, I've put together some tips to help you and your family choose the right shelter dog for your household.

Consider the Energy Level of the Dog

Some breeds are known for having a high energy level, while others are more sedate. This makes it essential to conduct research on the dog breeds you are interested in. If you have kids who love to go on walks and play in the yard, then you may want a rambunctious, high-energy dog like a terrier mix or a border collie mix. Alternatively, if you want a dog that's content to hang around the house all day, you're likely to lean more toward a basset hound or a bulldog mix. Choose a dog breed that fits with the tone of your household.

A Puppy or a Dog?

There is no question that most puppies are very cute. But if you adopt a puppy, you'll have to housebreak it. Plus, no matter the breed, most puppies are always ready to play, and they are known to chew things and get into mischief. It's smart to take these things into account before choosing to adopt a puppy. On the other hand, many families want a puppy so they can have a pet that grows up alongside their children. But an adult dog is likely to be housetrained and more mature than a puppy. Also, some people adopt adult dogs because they want a dog with an established personality.

Ask Shelter Volunteers About the Dogs

Most shelter volunteers are experts on the dogs they care for. If you see a dog you like, ask a volunteer about its temperament, its energy level, its overall health, and whether it likes children or other animals. Most volunteers will be happy to help so they can see every dog go to a good home. I suggest that you ask the volunteer to accompany you as you take the dog outdoors to see how it acts outside of the shelter environment.

Consider the Other Pets in Your Household

If you have a cat or another dog in your household, be sure to take them into account before adopting another dog. Choosing a dog that gets along well with other animals is critical. Some shelters even allow you to bring your dog in to meet the dog you want to adopt.

Don't Make a Quick Decision

If you see a dog trembling in the back of its cage or one that doesn't come over when you call it, you may be tempted to move on down the row of cages. But think about how scary it can be in a noisy shelter surrounded by strangers. Ask a volunteer about the dog and its personality. A dog that seems shy or unfriendly in a shelter may flourish in a loving home.

If you want to add a dog to your household, I hope you adopt one. Shelter dogs are not lesser animals; they're just looking for a fresh start with a new family. Thanks for reading. - Alan at Alan's Factory Outlet

Topics: rescue dog

15 Fun Facts About Pumpkins

Posted by Alan Bernau Jr on Thu, Oct 26, 2017


Now that we are partway through October, you're probably seeing more pumpkins around your neighborhood, at the farmers' market, or even piled up in front of the local grocery store. There's a good chance you're going to grab a few pumpkins for your family this fall: Maybe you'll carve a few jack-o'-lanterns for Halloween or put aside some as décor for your Thanksgiving dinner table. No matter how you use your pumpkins, there are some facts about these friendly signs of autumn that you may not know. This week, I found some fun facts about pumpkins that may surprise you. Enjoy!

15 Fun Facts About Pumpkins

  1. Full Moon, Jack-Be-Quick, La Estrella, and Old Zebs are just a few examples of the 45-plus varieties of pumpkins. There is even a white pumpkin called Cotton Candy.
  2. The pumpkin capital of the world is Morton, Illinois, and 95% of the pumpkins grown in our country come from Illinois.
  3. A pumpkin can contain about 500 seeds. The average pumpkin provides approximately one cup of seeds.
  4. In 2016, a Belgian man grew a pumpkin weighing a record-setting 2,625 pounds!
  5. Sometimes, pumpkins are mistakenly categorized as vegetables, but actually, pumpkins are fruit. They are a type of squash.
  6. Pumpkins were once used to get rid of freckles and treat snakebites.
  7. Pumpkin pie is the second favorite of Americans after apple pie.
  8. Native Americans referred to pumpkins as Isqoutm squash. The Greeks referred to pumpkins as pepons. Eventually, the word "pepon" morphed into the word "pumpkin."
  9. Antarctica is the only continent where pumpkins don't grow. I guess pumpkins aren't too crazy about the minus-60-degree temperatures in Antarctica at this time of year. I don't blame them!
  10. When most people think of a pumpkin, they usually picture an orange one, but pumpkins can also be green, red, white, or yellow.
  11. Pumpkins can be steamed, roasted, baked, or even boiled. I like roasting pumpkin seeds in olive oil and sprinkling them with a little salt. Roasting pumpkin seeds is a fun activity you can share with your children or grandchildren after they are done carving their jack-o'-lanterns.
  12. The pilgrims made pumpkin beer by fermenting maple sugar, pumpkin, hops, and persimmons.
  13. The word pumpkin first appeared in the fairytale Cinderella. It served as the perfect fruit for Cinderella's fairy godmother to transform into a carriage.
  14. The Irish used to carve potatoes and turnips at Halloween and put burning coals into them instead of candles. Later, Europeans started to carve pumpkins into jack-o'-lanterns.
  15. We produce 1.5 billion pounds of pumpkin in our country each year.

If you want to keep your carved pumpkin looking great until Halloween, try smearing petroleum jelly or vegetable oil onto its insides. This will help it to stay moist. Also, put a moist towel over your pumpkin during the day, or at least move it out of the direct sunlight. You may even want to wait to carve your jack-o'-lanterns so there is less time for them to spoil in the outdoor air.

Have some fun this Halloween, and thanks for reading. - Alan

Topics: pumpkin facts

Creepy Ways To Decorate Your Yard For Halloween

Posted by Alan Bernau Jr on Wed, Oct 11, 2017


Do you get a lot of trick-or-treaters at your house on Halloween? If so, give them some extra fun this year. Dust off your creativity and try a few of these DIY crafts that may just make your home the most popular with trick-or-treaters this Halloween!

Decorate With Window Silhouettes

Get some pieces of cardboard and cut out the shapes of pumpkins, witches, bats and cats. Paint the cardboard images black and hang them in your windows. Turn on the lights inside to create some scary silhouettes. For added creepiness, put colored crepe paper on your windows.

Signs of No Good

Find some old pieces of wood that are flat and about ten inches long. Use black paint to label each piece with words like "Beware," "Turn Back," and "Haunted House Ahead." Post these signs on your fence or around your front door.

A Spooky Wreath

Make a collection of miniature witches' brooms with twigs and string. Next, get some black construction paper and cut out a dozen small black cats. Glue the brooms and cats to an old grapevine wreath and hang it on your front door.

Monsters in the Bushes

Make some glowing monsters and place them in the bushes in front of your house to greet trick-or-treaters. Young kids can help with this easy craft that starts with a few empty toilet paper rolls. I like the idea of using glow sticks of different colors to raise the creepiness factor.

A Line of Swaying Ghosts

Make some coffee filter ghosts and hang them near your front door. Use fishing line so trick-or-treaters will think they are floating in the air.

A Gathering of Balloon Ghosts and Pumpkins

Get some orange and white party balloons, a package of white glow sticks, and a black marker. Blow up a balloon, shake a glow stick, and slip it into the balloon. After securing the end of the balloon, use black marker to make a pumpkin face on the orange balloons and ghostly eyes on the white ones.

Ghostly Gourds

Make a group of ghostly gourds using dried gourds, white and black paint, and some cheesecloth. Place them around your front door so they can surprise trick-or-treaters.

Turn Your Front Door Into a Mummy

Find a couple of rolls of white gauze, two pieces of white construction paper, two pieces of black paper, tape, and scissors. Wrap your front door in the white gauze. Next, create two big eyes using the construction paper and tape them to your door. Instant mummification!

Spiders Galore

Put aside several empty toilet paper rolls, paint them black, and let them dry. Then glue eight black pipe cleaners to each to serve as the spider's legs. Glue a pair of googly eyes to each one and hang them from your front door frame or porch lights with fishing line.

Light Up Your Front Walkway

Start putting aside gallon plastic milk jugs for this project. Use a black marker to make a spooky face on each one. Lastly, put an LED tea light in each jug and line them up on the border of your front walkway. This will attract a lot of attention from trick-or-treaters.

A Witch's Shoes

Get a pair of long socks with orange and white stripes on them. Fill the socks with rolled up newspaper or tissue paper. Put a pair of old black shoes with buckles on end of the socks. You may be able to find shoes like this at a second-hand store. Display the sock/shoe combination in a way that looks like your house fell on the witch who was wearing them.

Add Some Glowing Light to Your Front Entrance

Put some strings of white LED lights around your doorway to create an eerie glow for trick-or-treaters. If you want, manipulate the light strings to look like ghosts or witches' hats.

A Twist on Pumpkin-Carving

Use your computer to print a template of a scary skeleton hand, a bristling cat, or a witch's hat. Use these templates when carving your pumpkins this year. Be sure to put a candle or LED tealight in each pumpkin to show off your scary work.

Ghost on the Porch

Get a white balloon, blow it up, and put a glow stick inside of it. Tie the end of the balloon and put a white sheet over it to make a ghost. Secure a piece of fishing line around the neck of the ghost and hang it from the ceiling of your porch.

A Gigantic Spider in the Yard

Get nine black garbage bags, some fishing line, old newspapers, a glue gun, and two white Styrofoam cups. Fill one of the black bags with old newspaper until it's a big ball. Fill the other eight bags halfway up with newspaper and twist them into spider-leg shape. You can use the fishing line to secure them in that shape. Use the glue gun to fasten the eight legs to your gigantic spider's body. As the finishing touch, glue the two Styrofoam cups to its head to serve as eyes. I especially like this one because you can haul it out every year!

Have some fun with these spooky DIY crafts, and thanks for reading. - Alan

Topics: decorate your for halloween


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