Easy Halloween Decor Ideas

Bright and white Halloween decor. #sponThis post is sponsored by King’s Hawaiian. Head to their site to learn about “The Legend of Hallowaiian.”

My kids are so excited about Halloween this year. They have been wanting to decorate for the last few weeks. But since Halloween is my least favorite holiday I have been stalling. Then we found this awesome neon green skeleton. He reminded me that the decorations don’t need to be so gory and dark.  And because the decorations are only kept up for a short period of time I like easy Halloween decor ideas. And if they are inexpensive, that’s even better. When I saw these colorful, cheap, plastic vampire teeth it just made sense to do something with them. This super easy Vampire Teeth Garland couldn’t be easier.

Bright colored plastic fangs for an easy Halloween garland. #sponAll you need is some string and a pack of plastic vampire teeth. The teeth come in all kinds of colors depending on where you buy them. They even have a glow in the dark version which would work great if you had darker walls.

Yarn and plastic teeth are all you need for quick and easy Halloween decorating. #sponInstead of tying a knot, I did a simple loop around each side of the fangs with the yarn.

Black, white and bright Halloween decor. #sponAnd then I simply tied the other ends to my backdrop poles. This set up would work really great as a photo backdrop for your Halloween party. And of course you should set out extra teeth to use as props in the photos. Just make sure each person takes their teeth with them after they’ve used them. Because, ew. You can easy just keep these as garlands on the wall by adhering them with some washi or masking tape. How adorable would a black and white striped tape be with these?!  When taping your garlands, just make it look intentional. Create a small “x” with two pieces of tape on each end. Not only will this help to hold the string a little better, but no make it look like you designed it that way and didn’t just stick it up on the wall with tape.

Easy Halloween Decor with plastic fangs #sponThese teeth are always a favorite in my household. The persona my youngest son takes on when he has these in his mouth is hilarious. What do I not enjoy? The slobber.

Vampire teeth garland for cheap and easy Halloween decorating. #sponNeed some other quick and easy Halloween ideas? Here are some of my past posts:

Fang Mobile

Easy Wire “Boo” Sign

Clove and Orange “Pumpkins”

Neon green skeleton for fun Halloween decor. #sponI don’t know if you have seen it yet, but King’s Hawaiian launched “The Legend of Hallowaiian” at the beginning of October. It is fantastic! From the moment I saw their pineapple carved like a Jack-o-lantern, I fell in love! Their Hallowaiian.com site features TONS of fantastic Halloween party ideas for everything from the food (because, duh, it’s King’s Hawaiian and you want to eat at much of that as possible) to party decor ideas. They have created such a fun campaign with these aloha-inspired concepts. It’s so clever and full of fun – a true representation of the Taira family.

Vampwich sandwich idea from King's Hawaiian's "Legend of Hallowaiian"I mean, how cute are these vampwiches?!  And what is even better? You could win a trip for 2 to Hawaii just by sharing your own Halloween party! Just upload a few photos from your big bash and you might just win a glorious trip to the beautiful island of Lanai!  See full contest rules here.

For serious, this campaign makes my heart so happy and I’m glad to share it with you. Thank you for supporting the brands, like King’s Hawaiian, that let me do what I do.

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Babies Have Great Parties : BabyShower.com

Use plastic animal cocktail charms as decor for food at a baby shower. I feel bad for babies. They get great parties and they aren’t even really there. I mean, they are there, in belly, but they don’t get to eat the yummy food or see how great the decor is. Baby showers are awesome. I contribute to Babyshower.com and while I won’t be having any more baby showers thrown for me (I have two wonderful boys but this bakery is closed) there is nothing more fun to plan than a baby shower. Next time you have to plan one you should definitely check out the site. You’ll find awesome content on there, and yeah, some of it is mine. ;) Some of the stuff pertains to non-baby entertaining as well. Like the cabbage salad recipe I shared. How stinking cute are those cocktail charms? While the mermaid might not be appropriate, these cute little animals could certainly enhance a baby shower theme.

DIY twist ties for party favors.And these DIY fabric twist ties are super simple and really great looking. I’m a big fan of candy or food as favors and simple packaging. You can find fabric to match any color scheme. And people love candy. Babyshower.com just released some great printable sheets to help you in your planning, so be sure to check them out! They include everything from budget worksheets to one to organizing invitation information. It’s a great resource!

And since it is that time of year, check out my inspiration for a Halloween themed baby shower.

Quick and Easy Dinners

I haven't had much time to cook lately so I rounded up some of the quick meals I've been making for dinner. I’m pretty much ridiculously stressed out right now. And this totally affects how I feed myself and my family. So I’ve decided to share the recipes for the quick and easy dinners that I have been making that are still tasty but really easy to make. On the nights where we have extra activities like Cub Scouts, I stick to something super simple like pasta, which incidentally, is my kid’s favorite meal that I make. It’s store-bought sauce and meatballs, but they love it so why reinvent the wheel. But on the other days, I try to mix it up between crock and things that don’t take a ton of effort or prep work. There are go-to meals that we make but I try to add in some new things too. My kids are very picky so I try all different flavors to see if I can find something they are in to. And if they don’t like something, I take a break from it, but try it again a few months later.

Our regular favorites:

Salami and Peperoncini Pizza – This pizza was based on my favorite sandwiches and is super easy to make and SO tasty

Quick Teriyaki Stir fry – We are actually having this tonight. It is super simple to make and the boys LOVE it! Which is crazy because there are vegetables in it and it is pretty healthy. It is also great cold for lunch the next day!

Super Easy Chicken and Pasta – My husband requests this one and I am happy to oblige considering it uses store-bought chicken and has a ton of flavor. Did I mention it’s easy?

Tacos or Taco salad: Homemade tortilla chips with seasoned ground beef, lettuce, cheese and hot sauce.

New things I’m trying:

Bacon Cheeseburger Sandwiches – Made these two nights ago and they were INSANE! I skipped her seasoning, but added about 3/4 of a packet of onion soup mix (you know, the powder with dried onions? That.) to the meat. Super yummy. The cheese is a must to sort of bind the meet together, but even if it turns in to a big old mess, it is still super tasty. LOVED it!

Slow Cooker Creamy Bacon Ranch Chicken  –  This is on the agenda for tomorrow. My fingers are crossed that the boys will like it. My oldest has been in to ranch dressing lately and they love spaghetti so fingers crossed! I thought it would be a good way to much up our standard pasta.

Sweet Slow Cooker Sesame Chicken – I am pretty sure my kids will like this one. They seem to like teriyaki (although their tastes literally change by the minute). This will be on our menu next week.

Crockpot Rustic Italian Beef Ragu – I love a good ragu. So much flavor! And this one is done in the crock pot so that means I can busy myself with life and not be stuck over a stove except for cooking noodles. Yeah!

Bacon and Brie Grilled Cheese – By Friday night I’m over cooking from the week, but we are trying to save money and not go out much. I’ve decided Friday nights are sandwich night. Not cold cuts (probably not cold cuts) but sandwiches that are a bit fancier then we send to school in lunches. My kids love bacon so I am going to do a bacon grilled cheese this week. Except I am going to sub the brie out for some extra aged gouda which is closer to parmesan in flavor which I know my boys really like, but will melt a little better. I’m REALLY looking forward to this…

Need more recipe ideas? Follow my “recipes” board on Pinterest. And remember that fluke when I was eating all clean? I still have that board too…

Now, would you be so kind as to share with me what you are eating?  What are your go-to meals?

Fun Party Decor Idea : Carved Watermelons

Talking watermelons. Carve them to create awesome party decor and signage. Carved watermelon. I bet that wasn’t the first thing to pop in to your head when you were planning your last party, was it? But it totally should have been. Pumpkins aren’t the only things that you can carve. And carved watermelons make really great party decor and signage. These can be made ahead of time, really they SHOULD be made ahead of time.  But they are quite easy and will be the star of the show. 

Put your message on a watermelon. Super fun for parties! I asked my friend Carole to create one for our pajama party in Palm Springs. And then, of course, I forgot to print out the phrasing before I left for the trip. But that really didn’t matter. Carole was still able to carve the watermelon.  You will need a watermelon, some simple carving tools – her’s were for carving or cutting clay and purchased from the local art supply store, and the image or words that you want to carve. If you want a specific font, you can easily just print out the words on standard computer paper, just try to make sure that the words will fit on the size watermelon you bought. 

Trace your design on a watermelon to create jaw dropping party signs! Using the straight tool, (I’m going to be honest, I have no idea what any of the tools are called. This one is sharp on the end but straight, sort of like a straight pin but a little bit thicker) begin to poke holes in the watermelon all around the outline of the words. Many pumpkin carving books use a similar technique. 

Carving watermelons is easy to do with the dot method.So here you can see the dots that you can then connect to shape the letters and words. 

Watermelon Carving is pretty easy and creates totally fantastic party signage! Total crowd pleaser! I really love this idea for signage at parties. You can use them on buffet tables, as centerpieces, just about anywhere.  And it works not only with words but also with images.  Carole has carved some pretty amazing things in watermelons. 

Carve watermelons for fun party decor. Next, you will use the tool that looks a little bit like a tunnel or a “u”. With it, you will follow along your dotted line scooping out the speckled green skin. You do not need to go very deep in to the watermelon.  You just want to remove the hard outer skin. 

Fun party sign idea! While it might take a few minutes to do, it is really easy. Once you are done, you want it to have a chance to dry out a bit. We left this one out overnight and by the next morning, it looked like the first image in this post. The carved out portion turns a little bit lighter and it makes the words pop. Aren’t they fantastic!

Carved watermelon for fall decor.  // cupcakesandcutlery.comThis carved watermelon above was the first one Carole carved for me for an outdoor movie photo shoot I did a really long time ago. It shows perfectly how watermelons can live on past summer and slide right in to fall. (this last image is by Sadie James Photography). I feel like this is how I want to carve my pumpkins this year too. Just think of all the creative designs you could do! I’m so grateful to have creative friends who are willing to share their talents with me! Thank you, Carole!

Halloween Treats for a Great Cause


Wendy's Halloween coupon book for Jr. Frostys benefitting the foster care system.Halloween is usually all about the treats and tricks. But this year I’ve picked up some sweets that actually benefit a great cause. From now until October 31, 2014 Wendy’s is selling these awesome coupon books for free Jr. Frosty’s. Each book costs only a $1.00 and .90 cents from each book goes straight to the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption®. There are over 100,000 kids in the foster care system awaiting adoption in the United States. The goal for the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption® is to help every child in foster care find a loving and permanent family and they have, so far, helped over 4,000 kids find adoptive families. So in buying one of these books, you are directly helping to change lives.  You might think Wendy’s is all square burgers and french fries but it is so much more. (P.S. their new pulled pork fries with sweet bbq sauce…DO IT).

Treats to give your friends and family that also help kids throughout the United States.I picked up two booklets as gifts for my niece and nephew. My sister-in-law and brother-in-law have started the process to becoming foster parents. But it isn’t just the parents who foster. It’s the whole family. I want my niece and nephew to know how important they are to the process and how great it is that they will, one day, be a special part of another child or children’s lives. They, along with their parents, will be positive role models and a loving family unit to a child that is lacking both. They are just kids and may not understand the magnitude of that but one day they will. I’m super proud of my in-laws for taking these next steps. It is something they have talked about for years and finally everything has fallen in to place. While the process is long and they have many more classes, home inspections and interviews to go, in the next six months, they will be a foster care family ready to love any children who come in to their home.

Books for foster familiesI plan on giving my niece and nephew these books, that deal with foster care, along with their Wendy’s Halloween coupon books. I was surprised that there aren’t more books written for the kids of the adoptive families to help them understand their role, the challenges and the rewards of fostering and finally adopting. My nephew is 7 so I got him an easy reading book written for a child going in to a foster family. I figured it would help him to put himself in the shoes of a child entering his family and give him an idea of how that child might feel. For my older niece, I got a fiction book about a girl entering a foster family who learns to let her walls down and trust her new siblings and parental units.

Halloween treats that give back. Wendy's Jr. Frosty coupon books donate money to foster care adoption in the US.To me, these books are so much better than candy. Next time you pass by a Wendy’s, grab yourself a frosty and pick up a few of these coupon books.

Visit your local Wendy’s® to purchase a Jr. Frosty™ Halloween Coupon Book* for $1, which benefits the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption®!

*Coupon book may contain coupons for 5 or 10 free Jr. Frosty™ treats. Prices and participation may vary. Ninety cents to every $1 coupon booklet sold between 9/15/14 and 10/31/14 will benefit the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption®. Coupons valid from 11/1/14 through 2/1/15. ©2014 Oldemark LLC

This year Wendy’s aims to give $10 million to the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption® and YOU can help!

Thank you for supporting the companies that let me keep my blog running and also share important messages with you.

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.