Thursday, November 1, 2012

Bye-Bye Jack. Hello, Fall!

I love the first of November.  I can officially say "Bye-Bye" to Halloween for another year and celebrate the fall season without all the ghoulishness.  I can put away all the decorations, costumes, etc. and mark another candy holiday off the calendar.  And, I can begin to fully appreciate the colors, smells, and sounds of fall.

We enjoyed Halloween, of course.  But, boy, am I happy it's over!  Today, I woke up with one mission in mind - pack up all the Halloween stuff and stow it away for another year.   Below are my top-five tips for storing Halloween decor:

1. Sort and Purge Each Year:
Halloween Decor Staging Area
Every year, before we pack stuff up, I put all the decor, paper goods, and costumes in a central staging area.  Then, I sort through everything.  I purge any decorations that are broken, ripped, or no longer my taste.  I pull out costumes that are outgrown, no longer able to be mended, etc.  We bag up the purged items and send them either to new homes, charity donation centers or the trash bin.  The next year, I'll know that anything I see when I pull out the storage bins are things that I love and can use

2.  Check for Batteries:
Remove batteries before storing flashlights and other decor.
My kids use orange/black flashlights on Halloween night to help them see - it get's so dark so early around here!  I make sure we remove the D batteries from the flashlights before we store them for the year.  This ensures that the flashlights will work the following year.  Nobody wants to see the acid leak from a  battery!  A few other decorations require  AA batteries - I pull those out as well.  
Note:  If you do find that an alkaline battery had an acid leak, check out this site for tips on cleaning it up

3.  Got LEGO Holiday Decorations?  Store them:
Halloween LEGO mini sets get stored between holidays
My son loves LEGO.  So, of course, we have purchased Halloween-themed mini sets over the years.  I store them in a zipper bag 11 months of the year.  We learned that this is for the best after searching high and low for a specific piece to a LEGO advent calendar two years ago.   So, while he is sad to see them go in storage, he is always thankful the following year that he does not have to go hunting through the millions of bricks for a piece.

4.  Protect your Decorations:
Ceramic pumpkin is wrapped in bubble wrap.
Small items are packed inside larger items.
It's always sad to learn a favorite holiday item broke in storage.  To avoid this, I properly protect items using bubble wrap, acid-free tissue and packing paper, etc.  To further protect small, delicate items, I pack wrapped items inside larger vessels, containers.  A lot can happen during the months between use, so if it's worth having, it's worth protecting. 

5.  Decorate with Multi-taskers:
Use decor that is appropriate all season.
Squash/gourds are inexpensive, seasonal decor - true multi-taskers.
An inexpensive tea towel became a decorative pillow
I made a decision a few years ago that any new holiday decorations must multitask.  This means I look more for seasonal decor, rather than holiday-specific decor.  
  • Use what you got:  After Halloween, most of my jack-o-lanterns can be rotated to show their pumpkin-only sides (appropriate for the rest of fall).  
  • Go Natural:  I look for natural items, such as squash, corn, and gourds, that are colorful, inexpensive, and last from September through November.  After that, I toss them at the back of the yard for composting/critter food. 
  • Re purpose:  I recycled a Halloween tea towel by making it an accent pillow.  This pillow displays a cat for October, can be turned around for November, and then hidden with a pillow cover for other holidays.
Halloween bins, re-packed and stored for next year!
And with that, Halloween is officially packed away for another year.  I figure I have about one week of sugared-up kids before they get bored with the candy.  Then, we can begin preparing for other fall/winter holidays.  Check back with me and see what I'm up to as the year finishes up.    

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