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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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.

Martha Stewart on a Martha Stewart Pedestal

Peach shortcake with succulents for a super easy party dessert and decorations. // cupcakesandcutlery.comThere is a time in every blogger’s life when they are reminded of their mediocracy. Sure, you get mentioned on big sites and hit a big traffic day with a viral post once in a while. You love what you do, you think you are putting out good content and you start to think of yourself as being pretty skilled, domestically speaking. And then you work with Martha Stewart. And you realize that while you know your way around a kitchen, you will never be Martha caliber. Case in point. I got an email from her company asking me to participate in a fun end of summer program.  I think, “duh – of course I’ll participate.” They asked me to make one of her delicious summer recipes that would feature their new cake stands (available at Macy’s) perfectly. I think, “Yes! No biggie.  I can do this.” So I click-through the recipe slide show to choose my recipe…each one a little more difficult or with more steps than the one before…I feel my confidence waiver. Man that Strawberry Cream Cake recipe looks good. But wait, is she making a legit cake for it? No store-bought? So I move on. And I land on the Plum Blackberry Galette

Putting together a kind of homemade ginger peach shortcake. // cupcakesandcutlery.comI’ve always wanted to make a galette, primarily because I feel like if I am going to attempt to make crust, this one is super rustic and would hide my errors. So I think, “Yes! The galette!” but as the days go on and I get closer to actually having to make it, I start to tremble slightly. Yeah, that crust still sounds pretty advanced for me. My neighbor, a baker who I had asked to spot me in my crust making, ended up with sick children and I knew that I would be completely on my own. So I decided that I would combine two of Martha’s desserts to fit my strengths. And I ended up making a Ginger Peach Shortcake, because the plums at my store looked grody and my kids won’t touch blackberries with a ten foot pole. But even that didn’t go exactly as planned. While all I did to the peaches to prepare them for the cake was add some sugar and fresh grated ginger, a tiny piece of ginger ended up landing in my eye. Martha doesn’t get ginger in her eye. Through this process I was constantly reminded of Martha’s supreme greatness. She really can do it all, and make it look easy as pie, or galette as it were. 

Super easy and delicious dessert idea. Ginger Peach Shortcake. // cupcakesandcutlery.comI stand behind my Ginger Peach Shortcake. I’m proud of it. It tasted amazing, looked pretty and is true to who I am as a blogger and person. So while I wanted to put her Plum Blackberry Galette on a pedestal, I think I’ll keep Martha up there too. It is good to aspire to be like someone else, but I think it is also important to know your own strengths and weaknesses. But it doesn’t hurt to have that little question in the back of your mind as you move through life, “What would Martha do?”

Succulents pair really nicely with bright, poppy colors. // cupcakesandcutlery.comI know many of you out there are on the same level I am in terms of cooking/baking skills. Let’s keep it simple and delicious. And then let’s make it pretty to look at.

Pale pink and gold planter with succulents. // cupcakesandcutlery.comI was very lucky that I was able to shoot this at Lauren’s house where she had plenty of cute potted succulents all ready to go. 

Gold flatware and air plants. // cupcakesandcutlery.comAnd gold flat ware for me to use. But I’m totally going add that to my wish list because, SO pretty! 

Domed Cake stands are the best! // cupcakesandcutlery.comMartha really does make the best cake stands and this domed one is lovely. I love that the white really stood out against the colorful scarves and fabric that I used. I fell in love with that peach/pink/red scarf the minute I saw it and, even better, it was on clearance! 

Easy party dessert idea. // cupcakesandcutlery.comThis easy Ginger Peach Shortcake would be the perfect last-minute dessert for a get together. I didn’t make a recipe for it, literally just sliced the peaches, tossed in about 2 TBSP of sugar and grated about a 1/2 inch piece of fresh ginger in to the container. Then I put the lid on and gave it a good shake. I let it sit overnight to develop the juices and it was ready to go.

preparing-peach-shortcake-recipeI did make my own whipped cream though. I mean, I’m not a Neanderthal. I took a store-bought angel food cake and sliced in half. Then I layered on the whipped cream, and some peaches laid out in a super cute pattern. I added the second layer and then added more whipped cream and peaches. Done. Super easy.

Bright pinks, blues and gold make a gorgeous party table. // cupcakesandcutlery.comI’m still going to give that galette a shot one day. A girl has to have goals. So thank you, Martha, for challenging and inspiring us. And for the prettiest cake stands in all the land.

*I was sent a Martha Stewart cake stand. All opinions, stinging eye and sore arm from using a whisk to make the whipped cream, are my own.

Taste of Nature Tasting Party #realtastesgood

6 yummy varieties of the @tasteofnature bars!  #sponsored #realtastesgood #CleverGirls // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comHow exciting for you!! This is the first sneak peek of the fun creative retreat Lauren and I put together in Palm Springs a few weeks ago!  I can’t wait to share the rest of it with you!  This year’s retreat took place in a private home and we knew we would need to have snacks for the girls.  It’s always so hard to please everyone but we knew that since we would all be in bathing suits most of the weekend, the girls would want something healthy, but delicious, and super easy to eat throughout our busy itinerary. Taste of Nature bars proved to be the perfect snacking option!  We decided to welcome everyone to our fun, inspiring weekend with a little tasting party.

@tasteofnature are perfect road trip snacks and to have on hand for girl's weekends! #sponsored #realtastesgood #CleverGirls // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comA good hostess always knows exactly what she is serving to her guests.  My co-host Lauren and I sampled them on the way to Palm Springs.  These bars are the perfect road trip food.  They are sweet, thanks to the dried fruits (but with no artificial sweeteners and are under 200 calories), crunchy (they use whole nuts and other quality ingredients) and are certified organic and vegan and non-gmo.  That’s a good snack! I plan on keeping one in my purse so I always have a healhty snack option when running around with my boys.

@tasteofnature tasting party #sponsored #realtastesgood #CleverGirls // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comWe set up a little display of the Taste of Nature bars.  We made sure the girls knew that there were plenty for them all weekend long and to remember which flavors they loved for later.

Chit chatting with friends at a @tasteofnature tasting party. #sponsored #realtastesgood #CleverGirls // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comThe girls arrived and began getting to know each other (we had 8 people total and for some, it was the first time meeting each other!). As the weekend was cocktail themed, we made sure that the bar was set up when they got there, but most gals wanted to try out the bars and make sure they had a little something in their stomachs before imbibing.

Friends at my @tasteofnature tasting party. #sponsored #realtastesgood #CleverGirls // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comMost of the girls hadn’t heard of the Taste of Nature bars before so they took their time reading the packaging and learning about the brand.  And of course trying all the different flavors. Locally, I can find Taste of Nature bars at Mother’s Market and Wholesome Choice.  To find them at a natural-focused store near you visit their store locator.

@tasteofnature tasting party in Palm Springs.  #sponsored #realtastesgood #CleverGirls // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comEveryone picked their favorite flavors.  Mine was California Almond Valley.  So good!

@tasteofnature tasting party. #sponsored #realtastesgood #CleverGirls // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comTammy liked the maple.

DIY Painted Paddle Ball for my @tasteofnature tasting party. #sponsored #realtastesgood #CleverGirls // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comWe set out some DIY painted smash ball sets for the girls to play with in between snack bars.

@tasteofnature tasting party. #sponsored #realtastesgood #CleverGirls // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comThese bars were awesome and I’m glad I got to share them with my creative ladies! Taste of Nature believes that #RealTastesGood and keeps their products free from artificial flavors, fillers and chemicals. Shouldn’t everyone have that mission when creating products?  They should. But all snacks are not created equal. The bars come in 6 flavors and cost about $1.99 per bar. We sent some of the leftover bars home with each girl so she had a healthy snack option when she got home.

Thank you Taste of Nature for providing snacks for our retreat!

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