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Turning Your House Haunted This Halloween

I can still remember the houses that went “all out” for Halloween when I was a kid. In a neighborhood of about 100-200 homes, there were 3-4 houses that stood out amidst the crowd. The majority of them left their porch light on, and had a delicious assortment of Snickers bars and mini-Twizzlers that I begrudgingly had to share with my brother once I got back home. But every so often, we’d approach a house that stood out. Creepy music was playing as we walked up to the door, and it felt like we walked through cobwebs to get there. The house was lit up with scary candles, and the host usually opened the door wearing some freakishly bloody mask that scared … and scarred me … as a young child.

halloween-decorated-house

Although I was scared in the moment, it was always a thrill to return to the “scary” houses. Maybe that’s why a big Halloween trend has picked up and more houses are starting to decorate for Halloween. Instead of the “porch light means we’ve got candy” mantra, nowadays home owners are really getting into Halloween and transforming their homes into haunted houses on the evening of Halloween parties and trick-or-treating. Whether it’s outdoor lighting, frightening music, pretend spiders and black cats, or even freaky costumes – it’s become a family affair to celebrate Halloween and scare children. And it’s great.

If you’re looking for a way to celebrate Halloween this fall, consider decorating your house with lights and other Halloween decor. You’ll be a trick-or-treater’s favorite, and be the envy of all the neighbors.

I am looking forward to Halloween this year. And although the little girl inside of me still gets scared when I approach a house that’s obviously going to feel “haunted,” I push through it for the thrill of being scared, and for the chance to get a mini Snickers bar.

What If Christmas Lights were Like Mood Rings?

What if Christmas lights and outdoor lighting worked like mood rings. Wouldn’t it be funny, yet awesome at the same time. You’d know which neighbors were having a good day, and looking for company. You’d also know which houses to stay away from. Let’s imagine together… what if your Christmas lights could turn colors based on your mood….

red-christmas-lights

Red = Energy

Red Christmas Lights

A house turns red and shows everyone the party has started! Homeowners open their doors, as the bright red colors indicate that everyone is excited and adventurous!

green-christmas-lights

Green = Average Day Around Here

Green Christmas Lights

When the house turns green, we know that everyone is even-keel and having an average day. Nothing big happening here, everything is status-quo.

blue-christmas-lights

Blue = Looooovvveee

Blue Christmas Lights

As anyone’s 8-year-old self remembers, blue was the color of love. Slip that ring on, it turns blue, and then someone’s cheeks turn red. When the house turns blue, there’s some family love going around.

brown-christmas-lights

brown = need some fun soon!

Brown Christmas Lights

Restlessness. When the house gives off a brown glow, you know your neighbors are itching to move, change jobs, or even just get out of the house and have a good time! If your house has turned red, invite them over!

house-without-lights

black = no fun

Black = No Christmas Lights

A house without any lights would make for a very black sky nearby. The neighbors may be stressed, nervous and tense. When your neighbors face the doom-and-gloom black sky, recognize that the holidays may stress them out, and hope that their mood changes soon!

Bates Motel – One Scary Haunted House

If you’re looking for ideas about how to create your own haunted house this fall, take tips from the big guys. One way to transform your house into a haunted house for Halloween is to follow some of the same techniques used by some of the most popular haunted houses, Bates Motel.

bates-motel-haunted-house

Take Tips from the Pros for your Next Haunted House!

Bates Motel is one of the scariest haunted houses in the United States. It’s been ranked in the Top 5 haunted American attractions by Hauntworld Magazine and USA today. Located in Glen Mills, PA, travelers come from near and far to be thrilled through a haunted house tour and hay ride.

Some of the Bates Motel scare tactics include:

  • Spooky Halloween sounds and music
  • Scary animatronics
  • Synchronized lighting to music and fog
  • Strobe lights
  • Black lights
  • Dressed up, frightening characters placed throughout the house

Bases Motel uses programmed lighting and sound equipment to make the effects realistic and believable. Bates has some great ideas for your Halloween party this year!

Curious where to get some of the same equipment used at Bates Motel? Check this out – all you need for a Bates Motel-like Halloween in a Box!

Neighborhood Envy – The Lawn & Landscape

Has anyone else noticed one of the best ways to spur neighborhood envy is in the lawn and landscape arena? I mean even in the heat of summer, and it’s been a hot one this year, neighbors scurry to keep their lawns looking nice. They want to get rid of the brown grass and make sure the flowers look bright and perky. And while some of the anal ones really could be concerned about the roots and the soil for the long-term effects of their turf management – most are out to either keep up with the neighbors, or make their house look nicer than the others on the street.

neighborhood-envy-yard-mowing

Impress the neighbors by treating your lawn like a golf course

Keeping the Grass in Tip-Top Shape

One great way I’ve noticed that neighbors keep the friendly competition around the neighborhood going is to pretend your grass is actually a golf course. Get out there and make sure it’s perfectly mowed, edged and watered every week. If you’re really into it, you can even take some time to learn about lawn striping, and mowing lawn patterns. Mow in fun directions for an appealing, eye-catching presentation. You’ll have the other neighbors beating the heat and working on their yards in no time.

Beautify with Flowers and Plants

Okay, so I’m not exactly a green thumb, but in this heat, nobody really can take home that title. But for some reason, neighbors go all out to keep their beautiful, colorful flowers alive. Most flowers are brown and dead, wilted by the heat of summer. Even those flowers that are kept shaded and watered can be struggling to stay alive. But walk through a neighborhood with a little bit of neighborhood envy going on and look to be amazed. All of the sudden, it’s like it’s still springtime and bursts of colorful flowers line the flower beds and porches. Now I don’t know if these neighbors constantly replace their flowers, or if they’ve just all hired master gardeners, but it’s a sight to be seen. And a great way to keep neighborhood envy going.

Wow the Neighbors with Evening Lights

Once neighbors have the lawns mowed, flowers bloomed and the outdoors looking neat and nice, the ones who really want the prize of “best house in the neighborhood” have to find a way to show it off day and night. Some neighbors find a way to take home the “gold” around the neighborhood by lighting their home so that the beautiful landscaping can be shown even with a dark sky. Spotlights, porch lights and even bright lighting effects are all used to bring about a certain “glow” to their home. Lighting the outdoors is like standing on that highest platform and bringing home that cherished metal after beating out everyone else in the neighborhood. It’s a high honor.

Don’t have time to keep up? In the Kansas City area? Consider hiring a professional landscaper instead! Save the time, yet get the results, and be the envy of your neighborhood!

Real Housewives of New Jersey – Now That’s a Christmas Party!

Anyone else a RHWNJ fan? I can’t help it – the drama, the suspense, the huge homes and glitz and glamor – I’m hooked.

I was watching the show the other night about the Gorga’s Christmas party. Wow, talk about extravaganza. The show hinted that Joe & Melissa Gorga spent at least 50Gs to host a one-of-a kind Christmas party. All of the neighbors and friends were invited. The house was decked out with food, lights, sculptures and even a casino. To find a way to “give back” during the holidays, the Gorgas requested each person bring a gift for the children at the hospital. Classy.

Real_Housewives_New_Jersey_cast

Real Housewives of New Jersey - talk about Neighborhood Envy

While we could go into a commentary about the drama that ensued, and how proud we were of Joe & Melissa for handling a crisis situation well, what I wanted to really talk about was the party planning and decor – and how this was a MAJOR victory in the Neighborhood Envy contest! Wow, this party would be hard to compete with. Here are some of my favorite things that would have my head spinning, and have me wondering how I could compete if I lived next door to the Gorgas:

  • Ice sculptures – Sculptures of the Gorgas as you walked into the house, and even ice sculptures inside of the home!
  • Lights – the entire outside of their home was decked-out in beautiful Christmas lights.
  • Live carolers – Amazing singers in their authentic costumes singing Christmas carols.
  • A casino inside of the house – great idea to entertain guests and keep them having fun!
  • Sensational white winter land-themed table decor and serving dishes
  • And I loved the photo backdrop right as you entered the party. Definitely made the party feel “hollywood.”

The only thing I would have added to the Gorga’s Christmas Party was an animated light show. They’ve got the house, the neighborhood, and the audience for it! I bet they could impress their hundreds of guests by a music and light-synchronized Christmas light display! Maybe next year!

Hello, Neighbors.

Hello, Neighbors!

I can’t wait to dive into my blog where we talk about the latest and greatest about living in America. No, I’m not talking about democracy,  beautiful sights and sounds, nor the Nathan’s hot dog eating contest (although those are great, too.) I’m talking about the little green-eyed competition that occurs behind the little white picket fences lining our “American Dream Home” estates – neighborhood envy.

Christmas Light Show

Get the Neighbors Green Eyed

Also known as “Keeping up with the Joneses,” neighborhood envy runs fast through our shrub-lined streets and knocks on every neighbor’s front door. At first we try to shrug it off and be individualistic, soaking in the advice of our pop-cultured American influences that tell us different is good. But as we settle in, transform the homes into “our own” and gauge our “place” in the neighborhood – the green-eyed envy monster begins to invade our minds. We notice the neighbor’s new basketball court, or their gorgeous display of Christmas lights. We drive by slowly to read who put the new roof on the house, or admire the beautiful landscaping in full bloom. The competition begins. And then we realize we need it, too.

There are all kinds of neighborhoods out there, but whether you live in a luxury neighborhood or a standard suburban area, neighbors are always out to observe what’s happening with one another, and try to keep up. And while we can all agree that there is a line that shouldn’t be crossed (keeping up so much so that you foreclose on your house, for one) neighborhood envy can actually be a lot of fun. It can help you keep your house in great shape, ensuring that your property values go up. It also creates a great discussion for you as you adorn your homes with the best lights you can and throw the greatest parties, while attracting attention to your home and sparking relationships with your neighbors. It can be difficult to just have fun these days, and playing up neighborhood envy is one way to bring a little lightheartedness to the world around us.

As a girl next door and fan of a wonderful neighborhood competition, welcome to my blog. We’re here to point out how fun it is to be extreme when adorning the house and have a friendly competition with the neighbors.

Game on!

-nextdoorwinnie