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Posted @ 10/1/2013 9:52 AM By Kimberlee Courtney
Wicked-Cool Ideas for an Outdoor Halloween Party
Outdoor Halloween Party
Don’t be afraid to host a Halloween party outside. A dark and chilly fall night provides the perfect eerie ambiance for a bewitching Halloween bash. Holding your party outdoors also gives you an array of options for festive decorations and games that would be difficult or impractical indoors. Create a hair-raising Halloween party with these ideas for décor, food, and games.
Halloween Party Décor
Turn your outdoor living space from homey to haunted with these frightfully festive Halloween decorating ideas.
Send a chill down guests’ spines as they enter your backyard by playing scary background music and using a fog machine to create a creepy, graveyard-like atmosphere. Switch out your porch and landscape lights with black light bulbs to enhance the eeriness.
Make spooky silhouettes by drawing the outlines of ghosts and other sinister figures on pieces of plywood, then cutting out the shapes and painting them black. Prop the shadowy figures up against a tree, the fence, or the back of the house.
Photo courtesy of Party City
Drape fake cob webs or torn cheesecloth from tree branches, along the fence or deck, and from the beams of a pergola or gazebo to give the yard an abandoned and mysterious look.
Make party guests feel like they’re being watched by a scary beast lurking in the bushes with this idea for glaring monster eyes:
- Get a toilet paper or paper towel roll (if using a paper towel roll, cut it in half).
- Draw or trace a pair of devilish eyes on the roll (use the pattern below as a guide) and cut out the shape.
- Color the toilet paper roll black with marker or craft paint and use electrical tape to close one end of the roll.
- Grab a green, yellow or red glow stick, bend it to activate the light, and place it in the toilet paper roll through the open end; close the end with another piece of electrical tape.
- Stuff the glaring beast eyes in a bush or place them in the bark ridge of a tree.
Glaring Monster Eyes Pattern
Halloween Party Food
Scare up an appetite with a scream-worthy spread of gruesome grub and tricked-out treats. From “finger” foods to spooky sweets, here are some ghoulishly good Halloween recipes to serve.
Deviled Eyes – Prepare deviled eggs with avocado to give them a ghoulishly green hue. Top each egg “eyeball” with a sliced green or black olive to create a pupil. Add veins by arranging a few thinly sliced roasted red pepper strips around the olive.
Photo courtesy of Amy’s Party Ideas
Halloween Chex Mix – Set out this wicked-good mix of candy corn, pretzels, raisins, and white chocolate...and watch it disappear! Get this recipe & other festive Halloween desserts >>
Mummy Dogs – Preheat oven to 400° F. Open and unroll a can of refrigerated breadstick dough; separate at perforations. Cut each breadstick in half using a knife or pizza cutter to make two thinner strips of dough. Take two thin dough strips, one at a time, and wrap lengthwise around a hot dog. Leave a small space open around the top of the hot dog for the Mummy’s Face. Continue wrapping all the hot dogs and place on a lightly greased baking sheet. Spray the Mummy dogs with cooking spray and place in the oven. Bake 10 to 15 minutes or until dough is light golden brown. Let cool for five minutes. Pipe eyes on the mummies using mustard or ketchup.
Monster Mouths - Core an apple and slice it into quarters. Cut a wedge from the skin side of each apple quarter to form a mouth. Place slivered almonds into the top and bottom of the apple for teeth.
Fried Fingers – Use a bit of marinara sauce to attach sliced blanched almonds to tops of mozzarella sticks to make them look like severed fingers.
Photo courtesy of Amy’s Party Ideas
Trick-or-Treat Candy Buffet – You can't have a Halloween party without candy! Fill plastic cauldrons with different types of Halloween candy for guests to take home in goodie bags.
RIP Graveyard Cake – Layer chocolate pudding and crushed chocolate cookie crumbs in a large cake pan. Write “RIP” on oval or square sandwich cookies to make them look like tombstones and stick them in the cake. Top the cake with gummy worms to up the gross factor.
Bewitching Brew – Transform punch into a boiling witch’s brew or poisonous potion with dry ice. Place a few blocks of dry ice inside a large punch bowl. In a smaller punch bowl, prepare your favorite punch recipe. Carefully place the punch-filled bowl inside the larger bowl with dry ice. The fog from the dry ice will escape from the bottom bowl, creating a spooky vapor. IMPORTANT: Always handle dry ice with tongs or heavy rubber gloves to avoid freezer burn or frostbite on your skin. Keep the dry ice in a well-ventilated area and be sure not to breathe in too much of the gas.
Photo courtesy of Party City
Halloween Party Games and Activities
Here are a variety of ghostly games to make your outdoor Halloween party more terrifyingly fun and exciting.
Pin the Face on the Jack-O-Lantern – Give this childhood favorite a Halloween twist. Have each player cut out eyes, a nose, and mouth from black construction paper and stick a piece of double-sided tape on the back of each cutout. Get a large pumpkin and place it on a table. One at a time, each player stands with their cutouts about four feet away from the table with a blindfold on. After spinning around in a circle four times, the player walks toward the pumpkin and tries to pin the face on the pumpkin. Take a picture after each turn to see who pinned the best face.
Skeleton Scavenger Hunt – Purchase a plastic skeleton with detachable bones, separate it, and scatter the bones around the yard. Have guests search the yard to gather the bones and try to put the skeleton back together.
Guess the Body Part – For this classic Halloween game, gather an assortment of boxes with lids and cut a hole in each lid so that guests can fit their hand through it. Prepare food items for “body parts” and place them inside the boxes for guests to guess what they are. For example, Witch’s Eyeballs (peeled grapes); Dracula’s Teeth or Warewolf Fangs (candy corn); Frankenstein’s Ears (dried apricots); Dead Man’s Heart (large peeled tomato); Human Brain (cooked head of cauliflower).
Photo courtesy of Party City
Ghost Stories – This is a must for any Halloween party! Gather everybody around the graveyard and take turns telling spooky tales of the undead.
Trick or Treat Card Game – Create a deck of cards from orange card stock. On each card, write “Trick” or “Treat” on one side of the card. For each “Trick” card include an act to perform, such as Tell a Scary Story, Act Out a Scene from Your Favorite Halloween Movie, and Perform Your Best Evil Laugh. To play, have guests sit around a table and place a bowl of candy in the middle. Shuffle the deck of cards and fan them out around the candy bowl. One at time, go around the table and have each player draw a card. If they pull a “Treat” card, they get to select a piece of candy from the bowl. If they pull a “Trick” card, they must do what’s on the card in order to get a piece of candy.
Posted @ 9/25/2013 9:30 AM By Kimberlee Courtney
Fall Outdoor Party Themes: Backyard Tailgate Party
Backyard Tailgate Party
Fall and football go hand in hand—and with it comes tailgating! Instead of heading to the game or stadium parking lot, give yourself the home-field advantage with a backyard tailgating party. Put on your best game day gear, fire up the grill, and invite fellow fans (and non-fans) over to enjoy a pleasant fall day of fun, football, and food.
Tailgate Party Décor
Whether you root for your alma mater or local NFL team, here are some ideas for creating a fun football atmosphere everyone will cheer for.
Create an authentic tailgating ambiance by decorating your truck or car with your team’s insignia and parking it on the back lawn. Add a pop-up canopy and portable chairs to complete the tailgating vibe.
Show your team spirit by hanging pennants, banners, and streamers that display your team’s colors and/or logo.
Photo courtesy of Amy’s Party Ideas
Football paper lanterns (pictured at left) and tissue paper pom-poms are another fun decoration: hang them at varying lengths from tree branches or pergola beams.
Put a football twist on seasonal items to liven up your décor:
- Use mums to display your team’s colors
- Carve pumpkins to look like football helmets and paint your team’s logo on them
- Transform a tall oval pumpkin into a football by painting the entire pumpkin pigskin brown and adding white laces down the center
- Make a scarecrow that resembles your favorite player, your team’s coach or mascot
Photo courtesy of Party City
For a festive food display, turn your buffet table into a football field with this fun AstroTurf table runner idea from Uncommon Designs. Artificial turf can be purchased at your local home store, or you can use dark green felt as an alternative. To complete the look, use white athletic tape to add yard lines.
Include yourself (and your guests) in the décor by sporting festive football apparel, jewelry, and accessories like party beads, wigs, and foam fingers.
Photo courtesy of Uncommon Designs
Since the game is the main attraction, tune in to the pregame show while you pregame with an outdoor TV. Make sure the TV is positioned where everyone can view it. You can also rent or buy an inflatable outdoor screen if you’ll be entertaining a large crowd—or just want to really impress your guests!
Tailgate Party Food
A simple, self-serve menu of finger foods, hearty sandwiches, and quick-cooking fare will keep fellow football fans fueled from kickoff to the final touchdown—and prevent you from getting sidelined to the grill or outdoor kitchen. Tackle any appetite with these tasty tailgating food ideas and recipes.
Roasted Red Pepper, Ham and Parsley Torte – This delicious appetizer is perfect for a crowd, easy to make, and can be prepared a day ahead.
Deviled Eggs – Turn this classic finger food into football-shaped food by topping with pieces of chives in the pattern of football laces.
Grilled Sweet Potato Salad – This recipe is a delicious fall alternative to traditional potato salad and will pair well with any type of game day grub. Get the recipe >>
Sub or Sandwich Tray – Subs are filling, tasty, and easy to make. Wrap individual subs or sandwiches in napkins so guests can grab both and get back to watching the game.
Photo courtesy of Party City
Burger Bar – Burgers are a tailgating staple and easy crowd pleaser. Set up a build your own burger bar with an assortment of condiments and toppings to satisfy everyone’s taste buds. Take a tip from The Frog Prince Paperie’ s Touchdown Slider Bar and include labels so guests know exactly what they are trying—and don’t confuse the pickled peppers with the hot peppers!
Beer-Grilled Chops – You’ll score major points with these juicy and tender pork chops. Get the recipe >>
Photo courtesy of Frog Prince Paperie
Find more crowd-pleasing football party recipes >>
Tailgate Party Games and Activities
Keep guests entertained before kickoff with a variety of tailgating games and football activities.
Quarterback Toss – Hang a 30”, a 36,” and a 40” hula hoop from a tree and write a point value on each one (the smaller the hoop, the higher the point value). Let each player have three turns at tossing a football through the hoops. The player with the highest amount of points wins.
Football Fan Face Painting – Fans young and old will have fun putting on their game face. Make sure you have paint colors to represent each guest’s favorite team. Along with face paint, provide an assortment of football themed stickers, temporary tattoos, and colored hair spray–and see who gets the most creative!
Touchdown Bean Bag Toss – Form a small football field on the patio or lawn with masking tape. Divide players into two teams and have them take turns tossing bean bags onto the other team’s side of the field. Keep score for each team by tallying the yardage points where the bags land (touchdowns count as 0 points). The team with the lowest yardage points wins.
Photo courtesy of Party City
Football Bingo – Create Bingo cards with football terms and phrases (such as “touchdown,” “false start,” “field goal,” and “interception”) and have guests try to fill out their cards as they watch the game.
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Posted @ 4/25/2013 4:45 PM By Debra Maurer
Waterproof Speakers, Phone Cases, and music players for Your Pool
Normally electronics and water don’t mix—which can be a real bummer if you want to listen to music while lounging in the pool or swimming laps. Luckily manufacturers have developed waterproof music players, phone cases, and speaker systems that are ideal for swimmers, pool-goers, and pool owners who like to entertain.
With summer just around the corner, a waterproof phone case or audio system can come in handy and add to your enjoyment when spending time at the pool. Check out these waterproof devices to see which option is best for you.
Compact Waterproof Music Player for Swimmers
At first glance, you may mistake the Sony Walkman® Sports MP3 Player for just a pair of headphones… but look closer and you’ll see the music player is built right into the headphones!
This portable music player has a lightweight, compact design that’s not only sweatproof but waterproof up to depths of 6 feet, making it a great option for gym-goers, runners, and swimmers.
Whether you’re doing a moderate or intense workout indoors, outdoors, or in the pool, this waterproof music player has a new tension band for a supportive fit to keep it securely in place during all activities. With 4GB of built-in memory, users can easily drag and drop MP3s from iTunes® for Mac or PC, Windows® Media Player, or Windows Explorer.
The Walkman Sports MP3 Player delivers up to eight hours of audio playback on a full charge and is available in four colors: white, black, blue, and pink.
Photos courtesy of Sony
Waterproof Phone Case with Built-In Speaker
If you’re like most people, you don’t go anywhere without your smartphone—including the pool and the beach. If you are looking for a waterproof case for your phone/portable music player, the EcoExtreme not only keeps your device safe in and around water, but also allows you to play music through its built-in speaker.
Place your phone or media device into the durable waterproof case and take it with you for any kind of outdoor activity. It also has an internal compartment to fit small items like keys, credit cards, cash, and other items you want to keep dry.
Designed to fit mp3 players and smartphones--including iPhone 4/4S & 5, Samsung S3, Android, Windows, and Blackberry--this waterproof phone case is ideal for swimming, hiking, going to the beach, and other outdoor activities.
The EcoExtreme speaker case is powered by 3 AA batteries and has a 30-hour battery life. It comes in seven colors: black, blue, green, yellow, orange, pink, and red.
Photos courtesy of Grace Digital
Floating Waterproof Speaker for Your Pool
Another option for playing tunes in and around your pool is a waterproof speaker. The EcoXGear ECOXBT by Grace Digital Audio is a portable waterproof speaker system that streams music via Bluetooth from your smartphone or Bluetooth-enabled audio device.
You can take the ECOXBT speaker right into the pool with you while keeping your phone safely away from the water. The ECOXBT streams audio from up to 33 feet away, providing a convenient wireless way to play music at your next pool party.
The ECOXBT is powered by a built-in rechargeable lithium battery and provides 10 hours of audio playback. It is available in three colors: black, orange, and red.
Photo courtesy of Grace Digital
Video: See the ECOXBT Floating Waterproof Speaker in Action
Posted @ 6/22/2012 10:30 AM By Kimberlee Courtney
By Nate Armstrong
Fun Outdoor Activities
A swimming pool, of course, is a great way to keep cool in the summer while keeping the kids occupied. But if you don’t have a pool, another way to keep cool and active is to connect a three-arm sprinkler toy to your garden hose or sprinkler system. Your kids will love the chance to run around the yard and play in the water.
2. Water Balloon Tosses
A water balloon toss is another fun and inexpensive outdoor activity and can be played a couple different ways, depending on how many people you have:
If there are an odd number of children, the kids can stand in a circle:
- 1. Have the kids stand in a circle, with two feet between each person.
- 2. Begin play by having one kid toss the water balloon to the person on their right.
- 3. The children continue tossing the water balloon to one another in a clockwise direction.
- 4. When a player drops or pops the water balloon, he/she is eliminated and the rest of the players must spread out another foot to compensate for the missing person. This is done each time a player is eliminated.
- 5. Continue to play and eliminate players until only one person is left. He/she is the winner and gets to toss the balloon first in the next round.
If there are an even number of children, the kids can play in pairs:
- 1. Divide all players into groups of two and give each pair a water balloon.
- 2. Line the players up in two lines, with partners facing each other, and have each person take a big step backwards.
- 3. Each player holding the water balloon gently tosses it to his/her partner. If their partner catches it, they each take another big step backwards. If the balloon breaks, the pair is eliminated.
- 4. Continue to play and until one pair is left.
3. Scavenger Hunts
You can map out a backyard scavenger hunt that can be played individually or in teams. Make a list of items for them to find and give each person or team a copy of the list, and let the scavenging begin. Include items that can easily be found in your backyard, such as a leaf, pine cone, flower, rock, and twig, as well as outdoor items that you can place around the yard, such as a water gun, a Frisbee, a pair of goggles, and a splash ball. Whoever returns with all the items first is the scavenger hunt champion.
4. “Drawn-Like-Me” Posters
A creative activity that can be done indoors or outdoors is to create “drawn-like-me” posters. You’ll need a large flat surface like your patio or driveway. You’ll also need a large roll of poster-size paper that you can purchase at craft stores or teacher supply stores. Have each child lay down on a piece of the poster paper, and then trace their outline with a pencil. Then let the kids take over and decorate their outlines with markers, crayons, sequins, and yarn for hair. They can make their drawings look like them or pirates, princesses, astronauts, or whatever they come up with.
5. Evening Activity: S’mores and a Story
After a long day of sun, fun, and games, settle down for the evening around an outdoor fireplace or firepit. (Make sure children are under adult supervision at all times.) Set up a s’mores station with marshmallows, graham crackers, and chocolate bars. You can even get creative with the ingredients, such as using chocolate chip cookies instead of graham crackers, and fruit slices or chocolate peanut butter cups instead of the chocolate bars. As they sit around the fire, let the kids create a collaborative story: Have them go around in a circle, letting each person contribute a sentence at a time. It allows each child to participate and can lead to some very entertaining stories! If they’d rather watch a movie, they may not need to head indoors after all: They can watch their favorite movie on an outdoor TV or inflatable screen.
About the Author: This guest post was written by Nate Armstrong of Sprinkler Juice.
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Posted @ 6/12/2012 10:00 AM By Kimberlee Courtney
Gift Ideas for Dads
Having a hard time finding a gift for dad this Father’s Day? No need to panic. We’ve put together these 7 great gift ideas for dads who enjoy spending time outdoors.
Photo courtesy of Hatteras Hammocks/The Hammock Source
From raking leaves to mowing the lawn to cleaning the pool, dads put in a lot of hard work around the yard. That’s why a hammock makes a great gift idea for Father’s Day: What better way is there for him to enjoy the fruits of his labor than kicking back in a nice relaxing hammock?
Photo courtesy of RH Peterson Co.; Photograph by Steve Pollock Studios
Turn dad into the barbecue king this summer with a new stainless steel grill. Stainless steel grills are extremely durable, will last for years, and offer countless al fresco meals during summer cookouts.
Got dad a grill last year? Consider putting together a “Grilling Gift Basket” filled with all the cooking tools and accessories he needs for a successful barbecue, including tongs, basting brushes, a digital meat thermometer, spatulas, and a marinating guide.
3. Outdoor TV
Photo courtesy of SunBriteTV
Give dad the gift of entertainment with a weatherproof outdoor television. He’ll enjoy being able to watch the big game while he’s firing up some burgers and steaks on the grill.
Outdoor TVs are available in screen sizes of 23 to 55 inches and can be connected to your cable box, computer, DVD/Blu-ray player, or gaming system.
4. Outdoor Speaker System
If your dad is a guy who likes to lounge around the pool or entertain outdoors during the summer, then consider giving him the gift of music for Father’s Day. An indoor/outdoor waterproof wireless speaker will let him rock out to his favorite bands while relaxing poolside or catching up with his buddies.
Though not weatherproof, this portable system includes a splash-proof plastic covering to protect your dad’s iPod or MP3 player when placed outdoors.
Photo courtesy of Etón Corporation
5. Pool Lounger
How about letting dad enjoy a lazy day in the pool this Father’s Day? With a large pillow headrest, cup holder, and infinite adjustability, this is the ultimate pool lounger for dad. The fully adjustable back rest lets him recline to the angle of his choice for total comfort. He may never get out of the pool!
You can also support dad’s love of all things sports-related with a giant pool mattress plastered with the name and logo of his favorite NBA® team. Each officially licensed NBA® Giant Mattress measures 6’9” tall, holds up to 300 lbs and features a comfortable raised pillow and cup holder.
Photos courtesy of In the Swim
A firepit is a great gift idea for any dad—and a great addition to the backyard. Imagine spending summer nights with dad around the firepit, listening to his stories while roasting marshmallows and watching the flames.
Portable firepits are made of copper or cast iron and come in a variety of styles to match any outdoor décor. You can choose from wood or gas burning models.
7. Floating Pool Games
Does your dad love to golf? Instead of the typical golf balls and clubs, give him this fun floating golf game so he can enjoy his favorite pastime right at home. The floating green makes a challenging target for even the best golfers.
For card lovers, a swim-up blackjack table is a great gift idea. Your dad will enjoy having his buddies over for a round of blackjack in the pool. Waterproof non-stick playing cards and 320 chips are included.
What are you giving your dad for Father's Day? Tell us in the comments below.
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