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Halloween Safety Tips
Halloween is almost here and both kids and their parents are looking forward to costumes, candy and lots of spooky fun. However many parents find the thought of their little one venturing out to trick-or-treat scarier than any ghoul or goblin. Don't worry, Menards is here to help! Follow these simple guidelines to make sure that everyone has a safe Halloween with lots of treats and no tricks.
Choosing a Costume:
One of your child's favorite parts of Halloween, apart from the free candy of course, is picking out a costume. Whether your little one wants to be a pretty princess or a ghoulish ghost there are a few things that you need to consider when picking out a costume for your child.

• With jack-o'-lanterns and candles glowing all around, make sure to choose a costume with "flame-retardant" written on the label. If you're making your child a homemade costume use flame-retardant fabrics.
• Alter the costume so it fits your child's body perfectly. Roll up or hem long pants and skirts to make sure your little one won't trip. Your child's costume should also be lightweight and loose enough so that he or she can move about and breathe comfortably. Avoid long skirts, sleeves and costume pieces like tails that can snag and cause your child to trip.
• Make sure your child is visible at all times even in the dark. Look for costumes with bright colors or attach reflective tape to all sides of your child's costume and treat bag. Another fun way to make sure your child can be seen by pedestrians and motorists is to have them wear or carry a glow stick or wear a glow ring around their neck.
• Have your child wear flat, sturdy and comfortable shoes so it is easy for them to walk. Avoid high heels and flip flops.
• If your child's costume comes with accessories make sure that they are lightweight and don't hinder your child's vision or breathing. If they wear a mask be sure that they can clearly see through the eye holes and breathe easily. Use a scissors to cut larger eye, mouth and nose holes if necessary. If your child is wearing a wig, false beard or hat position it so it won't cover your child's eyes or mouth.
Make-up can be a fun alternative to wearing a mask. Look for make-up that is hypoallergenic and remove it with soap and water or make-up remover shortly after your child is finished with their Halloween festivities. Wash off all make-up before your child goes to sleep.
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Safe Trick-or-Treating
For many children, and even a few adults, trick-or-treating is the main event of the Halloween season. There's nothing more fun than dressing up and getting free candy from your friends and neighbors. However, with so many strange people running around in masks, many parents feel a bit anxious about their little one exploring the neighborhood on Halloween. By taking a few simple precautions, everyone can trick-or-treat without fear.

• Small children should never trick-or-treat alone. Always have a parent or trusted adult accompany them on their trick-or-treating excursion. If your child is old enough to go on their own have them travel with a group of friends and plan their route ahead of time with a specific curfew. Lending them a cell phone is also good idea for quick communication.
• Only visit houses that have an outdoor light on. Remind your children to be cautious of strangers and to never get into a vehicle or enter a home for a treat.
• Follow all the local trick-or-treating rules set in your community. Only walk on the sidewalks of well-lit streets and do not cut across yards or streets without established crosswalks. Make sure that you can be seen by oncoming vehicles and carry flashlights to avoid tripping in the dark.
• Inspect your children's candy before allowing them to eat it. Dispose of any treats that are not pre-wrapped or appear to have been tampered with.
Halloween Home Safety:
Staying home this Halloween? Get a big bowl of candy and prepare your home for trick-or-treaters! Before you welcome everyone to your home make a few preparations to ensure everyone's safety. Clear your driveways and pathways of leaves or snow to prevent slipping. Use pathlights to guide everyone to your door. Menards even has a selection of fun and colorful Halloween-themed lights. If you plan on entertaining trick-or-treaters this year, turn on your outdoor light and make sure there are no burned out lightbulbs. If you're displaying candle-lit jack-o'-lanterns make sure they are placed on a stable surface and do not leave them unattended. For a safer jack-o'-lantern use flameless votives or glow sticks to light up your jack-o'-lantern.

Keep Halloween fun and safe for children of all ages. With a little help from Menards, you'll find everything you need for the kids to have all sorts of spooky Halloween fun, and with these handy tips parents will be able to rest easy knowing that their little monsters are safe and sound.
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Decorating for Halloween

Transform your home into the perfect haunted house with decorating tips and supplies from Menards. Prepare your house for trick-or-treaters and other Halloween visitors with our supply of frightful decoration supplies. Whether you want a grinning jack-o'-lantern on your porch or scary skeletons and witches peering from your windows, Menards has many tips and tricks to give your home a chilling makeover.
Carving a Jack-o'-Lantern
It wouldn't be Halloween without a jack-o'-lantern glowing in the window. Trick-or-treaters will love your scary or silly creation. The perfect jack-o'-lantern begins with a trip to Menards to find a pumpkin.
Picking a Pumpkin
Timing:
If you want your grinning jack-o'-lantern to stay grinning and solid by Halloween don't carve your pumpkin too early. Jack-o'-lanterns can typically last for approximately one and a half to two weeks before they begin to rot. Purchase your pumpkin less than a week before Halloween.

Color:
Good carving candidates are firm, healthy pumpkins that are fully developed. Full ripe pumpkins are bright orange, and if you tap the side of the pumpkin you should hear a slightly hollow sound. Avoid pumpkins with nicks or bruises. Search for a pumpkin with a hard shell to protect it from the elements but that is still soft enough to cut into. Pumpkin shells that are too tough can be very dangerous to carve.

Weight:
Medium-sized pumpkins are often the best option for carving jack-o'-lanterns while small pumpkins are better for cooking in pies and other treats. Not only are extra heavy pumpkins hard to lift and transport but they usually have thick walls which will make any of the designs that you carve more difficult to see. Do NOT attempt to lift a pumpkin that is too heavy for you. This could result in back pains and injury. If you plan on purchasing several pumpkins bring a small wagon to transport them. Also do not carry pumpkins by the stem. If the stem breaks you could drop the pumpkin on your foot plus you could open your pumpkin to rot or infection which causes it to quickly deteriorate.

Shape:
The carver can choose any type of pumpkin to create a unique looking jack-o'-lantern, however, some shapes are easier to carve than others. Tall and oblong pumpkins can provide a fun quirky appearance, but they're often stringy inside which can make carving fine details difficult. If you plan on using a pre-drawn carving pattern it is easier to choose a design and then find a pumpkin with a shape that will complement it.
Carving Your Pumpkin:
Pre-Carving Preparation
Before you begin to carve your pumpkin, cover your workspace with newspapers. Removing the pulp from the pumpkin will get a little messy. You'll also need a large bowl or basin to store the removed pulp and seeds. You will need a large serrated kitchen knife for the carving. A bread knife or a jab saw (typically used for cutting drywall) work especially well. Avoid using a straight edge knife. These knives require more force to cut through the pumpkin which means that you have less control over the blade. You will also need a spoon or scoop to remove the pulp from the pumpkin. A plaster scraper is a convenient tool for this job.

Preparing your Pumpkin
Before you begin to carve your pumpkin wash off all the extra dirt that may still be clinging to it. Towel it dry afterwards to avoiding slipping and cutting yourself. Unless you are a particularly talented artist, it is a good idea to draw your desired design on the pumpkin with a marker first. This is a fun way for the kids to get involved without handling any sharp instruments. If drawing isn't your strong suit, you can use a pre-drawn pattern.

Carving your Pumpkin
The time has come to carve your pumpkin. This job is best left to an adult. NEVER allow a small child to carve the pumpkin or handle sharp objects. If you don't plan on putting a light source inside your pumpkin, the simplest way to carve your pumpkin is to scrape off the orange skin of the pumpkin with a craft knife to form a flat design. This way you won't have to remove the pulp from your pumpkin.

When carving a pumpkin that you plan on placing a light source inside, the first step is to carve out a "lid" at the top of your pumpkin. With the stem of your pumpkin at the center carve a circle with a two inch radius all the way around the top of your pumpkin. To ensure that the lid fits snugly, angle your knife towards the center of the pumpkin.

After you've removed the lid, you will need to scoop out the pulp with a large spoon or scoop. This is another fun job that kids can participate in. While you are scooping out the pulp you can save the seeds for toasting or gardening later. After you've removed the bulk of the pulp, scrape the insides of the pumpkin as clean as you can. Once all of the pulp has been removed, take the time to test the stability of your pumpkin. If your pumpkin has a flat bottom it should be able to sit upright without falling over. If your pumpkin seems a little wobbly flip it over and carve a slice off the bottom to steady it.

Next, you can carve out your design. Either follow the outline of your pre-drawn pattern or carve your design freehand. Draw the knife back and forth to carve. It will feel similar to cutting a tree with a saw.
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Extending the Life of your Jack-o'-Lantern
Even though jack-o'-lanterns have notoriously short lives there are a few techniques that you can use to keep your jack-o'-lantern looking great longer. After you're done carving your pumpkin try soaking it face down in water over night. This will keep your pumpkin from drying out. You can also add a teaspoon of bleach to the water to help kill bacteria and stave off rot. Applying an anti-transpirant like Root Zone or petroleum jelly to the carved sections will also give your jack-o'-lantern a longer life. Be sure to position your jack-o'-lantern on a flat surface where it cannot be bumped or knocked over. Traditionally, jack-o'-lanterns were lit by candles but many people opt for flameless votives instead.
Halloween Villages

In addition to the traditional jack-o'-lantern there are many other ways to give your home a creepy new look for Halloween. Menards has a variety of indoor Halloween decorations to transform your home. One decoration that has gained in popularity over the years is a Halloween village. Similar to the traditional Christmas village, Menards offers a variety of bright and colorful Halloween buildings that you can use to create your own Halloween Town. Setting up a Halloween town is an easy way to add a dose of spookiness to your home for Halloween.

• Decide on a location for your village. Find a shelf, mantle or table with enough space for all of your buildings. Also make sure that there are enough electrical outlets nearby to power your buildings.
• To give your Halloween town a more realistic appearance, use Styrofoam to create a unique landscape. Cover this with a colored sheet or tablecloth to give the appearance of a landscape. If you own a Christmas village, you can change this sheet later in the year and replace your Halloween village with your Christmas village for the holiday season.
• Carefully place your buildings and figurines. Add your own details by using twigs and nature items to create trees and landscaping details. Use a surge protector so you don't overload any electrical outlets with too many plugs.

Outdoor Halloween Decorations
Welcome Halloween visitors to your door by decorating your home and porch. For an easy way to bring life to your yard, Menards offers a variety of colorful inflatables. We also offer a variety of colorful Halloween-themed lights. Use path lights to guide your Halloween guests safely up the path. We also offer many unique colored lights in bright Halloween colors like orange, purple and green to hang from your roof. Use a timer to turn these lights off after the trick-or-treaters head home.

While you're decorating your yard, keep a few things in mind. If you plan on having jack-o'-lanterns or bonfires on your property, please keep any flammable decorations a safe distance away especially cornstalks, hay bales and scarecrows. Also if you plan on entertaining trick-or-treaters don't have too many unlit decorations on the ground where they could be tripped over and make sure all hanging decorations are tightly secured.

This year, create a festive and frightening Halloween world that your guests will enjoy. With a little help from Menards, you'll have everything you need to give your house or yard a touch of Halloween magic!