Event planner Tara Wilson shares six tips for successful autumn entertaining.
Fall weather can be unpredictable, depending on where you live, but event planner Tara Wilson said hosting an outdoor party in fall is unexpected-and your last chance before the chilly winter months. However, always have an indoor back-up plan in case of sudden bad weather.
See more: Fresh Ideas for a Festive Thanksgiving Table
You don't have to go over-the-top to create a stunning scene. Wilson enhances standard grocery store bouquets of roses or mums with a few natural elements, like feathers and dried wheat.
Hurricane lanterns are another great option for outdoor dinners. "They add light for function, glow for ambiance, and their shape and size make them practical in windy settings," Wilson says.
Pair a fun, seasonal beverage with your meal or appetizer. Wilson calls hot apple cider spiked with champagne, a timely (and tasty!) choice.
Recipe: Hot Spiced Cider
Blog Posts by Country Living
Event planner Tara Wilson shares six tips for successful autumn entertaining.Read More »from How To Host a Flawless Fall Dinner Party
Transform your home into a haunted house with these spooky projects your little ones will love. Want more Halloween crafts? We have over 50 kid-friendly ideas!Read More »from 7 Halloween Crafts to Make with Your Kids
Plus: 40 ways to decorate with pumpkins!
1. Cheesecloth Ghosts
These spirited fellows are a cinch to make once you've set up a workstation.
Complete how-to: Cheesecloth Ghosts
2. Bug Soaps
Literal "creature comforts," these sink-side spectacles require soap molds, extra-clear soap base, and plastic bug toys.
Complete how-to: Bug Soaps
3. Batty Sock Puppet
Make this sock puppet with a batty personality in just three easy steps.
Complete how-to: Batty Sock Puppet
4. Spooky Paper Cutouts
The classic schoolgirl pastime graduates from cute craft to gothic decor with our templates for spiders, bones, and skulls.
Complete how-to: Spooky Paper Cutouts
5. Jack-o'-Lanterns in a Jiffy
Turn orange tissue-paper balls into proper Halloween pumpkins. Simply cut facial features and stems from construction paper and apply to the balls with
Cast a sweet spell with these simple recipes.Read More »from 8 Fun Halloween Treats
Also, try these Halloween cakes.
1. Spiderweb Cupcakes
Super-easy white-chocolate toppers appear to float, Houdini-like, over chocolate cupcakes.
Recipe: Itsy Bitsy Spiderwebs Cupcakes
2. Licorice-Eared Mice
No need to be afraid of these creatures; they're full of sugary goodness.
Recipe: Licorice-Eared Mice Mini-Cakes
3. Marzipan Pumpkins
To make pumpkins, divide marzipan into three batches. With food coloring, tint one green and one orange; leave one natural. For mottling, combine batches. Roll pumpkin spheres, scoring lobes with a skewer. Cut leaves with mini cutters.
4. Candy Corn Cookies
No one will guess these elegant cookies were made with refrigerated dough. Go ahead, let this simple shortcut remain your secret. To make this treat, knead extra flour and orange food coloring into refrigerated sugar-cookie dough. Use a triangle-shaped cutter; bake and let cool. Dip the wide base of each cookie into melted dark chocolate, then dip the
Halloween may be creeping around the corner, but don't rush to the store and buy an expensive outfit. You can make these crafty looks in plenty of time (for much less).Read More »from 5 Last-Minute Halloween Costumes for Kids
Need more costume ideas? We've got 'em.
All you need are some old T-shirts, fabric glue, and a few hours to make this easy owl costume by Ellen Luckett Baker from alphamom.com.
Complete How-To: Owl Costume
Another creation of Ellen Luckett Baker for alphamom.com, these bat wings are simple to make using black felt and boning. The mask? It's as easy as printing out and pasting to a pair of sunglasses.
SEE MORE: 70 Ideas For Your Bedroom
3. Rubik's Cube
Design mom and blogger Gabrielle Blair recreation of the retro toy requires just a box and some construction paper, a quirky kid can impress friends as this infamous puzzler from yesteryear.
Complete How-To: Rubik's Cube Costume
What child doesn't fantasize about flying through the air? Following Brooke Reynolds' lead, sweatpants or tights and
These creaky homes and hotels have a hair-raising history they just can't escape - and visitors that just won't leave!Read More »from 7 Real-Life Haunted Houses
Plus: Transform your home into the scariest one on the block.
1. Loretta Lynn Ranch
The Queen of Country owns an old, sprawling estate in Hurricane Mills, Tennessee-and is having some issues with past tenants. Well over a century ago, a woman is said to have died of heartbreak only 12 days after the death of her baby.
Loretta Lynn herself has seen "the moaning woman," and even called in the Travel Channel's Ghost Adventures team to investigate.
2. Cincinnati Music Hall
Conductor Erich Kunzel, who led the Cincinnati Pops from 1977 to 2009 and logged long hours in the music hall has this to say of the legendary ghosts, "I've met these people…If you think I'm crazy just come here sometime at three o'clock in the morning. They're very friendly."
3. Stanley Hotel
Tourists brave enough to stay at this hotel in Estes Park, Colorado, the inspiration for the setting of The
Our favorite female detective had a few mysteries of her own. Now, with the help of Jenn Fisher, Nancy Drew expert and founder of NancyDrewSleuth.com, we reveal five secret facts.Read More »from 5 Things You Never Knew About Nancy Drew
Also, we unravel the plot of the all 56 original novels!
1. The Real Author is...
The first Nancy Drew book, 1930's The Secret of the Old Clock, was ghostwritten by Mildred Wirt, who penned 23 Nancy Drew titles as Carolyn Keene-the same pseudonym used today.
2. Who Made the Classic Covers?
In the 1940s, Nancy's new hairdo, an au courant Lauren Bacall style, came courtesy of illustrator Russell Tandy, who drew all but one of the series' covers between 1930 and 1949.
3. All Grown-up
Nancy's age jumped from 16 to 18 in 1950, and she morphed from a feisty gumshoe into a demure debutante who deferred to police and drove only "as fast as the law allowed."
4. Nancy Drew was a Style Maven
For 1967's The Clue in the Crossword Cipher-a title that can command $100-Nancy's cover portrait depicted a more fashion-forward
Make your so-so living room soar without breaking your budget. All you need is a single weekend, a few accessories, and these thrifty money-saving tips.
Plus: Get more living room inspiration with our ultimate decorating guide!
1. Look beyond a vintage piece's finish.
Paint is a cheap and quick fix for a multitude of sins-like the bad veneer on an old table.
Get more: 7 Ways to Declutter Your Antiques Pile
2. Simple steps can dramatically change a room.
You can't go wrong with neutral sisal. You can, however, make it more right by layering a patterned carpet on top.
Get more: 50 Home Accessories Under $50
3. Conquer your coffee table clutter.
The key to arranging a pleasing tableau atop a large table? Dividing the surface area into zones. Just check out how this $5 flea-market tray magically allows a group of small items to read as a single object.
4. Avoid reupholstering altogether.
One of the greatest fall activities is harvesting those crispy apples. But with so many options, it's easy to feel overwhelmed. This handy guide explains which apples to use for certain dishes so you get the perfect seasonal dish.Read More »from The Best Apples for Cooking
Plus: Try these easy apple recipes or bake a classic apple pie!
An early-fall hybrid, the crunchy, slightly spicy Jonamac makes a perfect snacking apple.
Recipe Idea: Potato Pancakes on Apple Slices.
2. Calville Blanc D'HiversUse exotic French Calville Blanc D'Hivers as you would Granny Smiths - to deliver tart, crisp flavor.
Recipe Ideas: Potatoe-Apple Kugel, Apple-Oat Crisp, Fennel and Apple Coleslaw
3. Red Delicious
Great for cider, juicy Red Delicious is renowned for its crunchy, mildly sweet taste.
Recipe Ideas: Mulled Cider, Warm Bourbon Cider
Try the mellow-flavored Gala in salads, as its creamy flesh doesn't brown quickly after cutting.
Recipe Ideas: Apple-Cheddar Salad, Israeli Couscous and Apple Salad, Turkey, Apple, and
Our essential tips to ensure your pets are kept in the best care possible.Read More »from Top Tips for Pet Owners
1. A simple vaccine can prevent kennel cough.
A simple vaccine can lower your dog's risk of contracting the pesky kennel cough, bronchitis that spreads quickly among canines in close quarters. Although the illness can be caused by a host of organisms, the bacterium Bordetella bronchiseptica and the parainfluenza virus top the list of common culprits.
2. Mature hamsters can't live together.
Hamsters are territorial. Put two in the same space, and one will kill the other. Sure, it's hard to imagine when you visit a pet shop, where a whole gang of hamsters scurries about in one cage. But that's only because the little guys are 3 or 4 weeks old. Give the animals a bit more time and the fighting begins. An easy solution exists, though: Buy two separate habitats.
3. Have your vet examine your feline's teeth for tartar during routine check-ups.
Just like humans, kitties accumulate tartar on the surfaces of their
Use these carving and painting tricks to transform the ordinary Halloween decoration into something truly smashing this year.Read More »from 7 Tips for Making the Best Pumpkins Ever
Plus, fun facts you didn't know about pumpkins!
1. Try Black and White Pumpkins
Savannah stylist Liz Demos skipped the carving knife and went straight for a paintbrush to fashion these graphic pumpkins. "With a stark black-and-white palette," Demos said of her trio of bold designs, "you can make any pattern, even creepy insects, look downright chic."
Complete how-to: Black and White Pumpkins
2. Create a Crescent Moon
Paul Lowe, a New York City stylist, found inspiration in a classic toy for his celestial creation: "I wanted to mimic the look of a Lite-Brite, so I punched holes to create a simple crescent moon - shaped image, then added a string of tiny bulbs to make it glow," he said.
Complete how-to: Crescent Moon
3. Make Lantern Pumpkins
New York City stylist Marissa Corwin put a cheeky spin on the very word jack-o'-lantern with her three glowing