Thanksgiving & Christmas Tasks to Complete in October

fall-447751_1280People often wonder why some of us start thinking about Christmas before it’s even Halloween. The answer is simple. Holidays sneak up on us much quicker than we realize. How many people do you know spend most of December in a rush-induced stress? Are you one of them? It’s completely normal. However, Halloween requires significantly less preparation than Thanksgiving and Christmas. Sure, you have to decorate and possibly host a party, but you probably won’t be cooking for hours, stringing holiday lights, and entertaining in-laws. Halloween is fun, but it’s also much easier. This means that October is the ideal month to get some of your holiday tasks completed. Moreover, you can plan your Halloween decor so that most items will streamline into Thanksgiving seamlessly.

Browse through our list below and try to get as many of these tasks done before November 1, 2015. You’ll thank us come holiday season when you realize how much more time you have to perfect, finalize, and relax.

Set Expectations & Create a Timeline

Be realistic with your schedule. Determine your free time and select which task(s) you can complete each free day you have. This will help you stay in line with your goals and avoid overwhelming yourself.

Grocery Shop for Some Items

Purchase non-perishable essentials for holiday parties, Thanksgiving dinner, and Christmas meals. This will minimize your time in the grocery store, especially on the busy days. Purchase the perishable items about one or two days before your event, and you’ll have more free time for finishing touches.

Complete at Least 50% of Gift Shopping

We covered the benefits of early Christmas shopping last month. If you haven’t read it, be sure to check it out before hitting up the stores. If you’re not prepared to complete your shopping in October, try to get at least half of it done. When you have fewer places to go during the busy season, it relieves stress and saves time for more important tasks.

Deep Clean the House

If you’re having guests over, you’ll want the house to look its best. You’ll still need to clean and dust before your guests arrive, but if you deep clean each room at the beginning of October and again in early November, it will help a lot. When it comes time to decorate and clean for holiday parties, you’ll be surprised and how quick and easy it is.

Purchase Craft Supplies for Upcoming DIY projects

Do you plan to make any decorations this season? Purchase your craft supplies now and avoid headaches later. Create a list of things you’d like to make. Then, narrow it down to what you’re actually going to make and create a shopping list.

Launder All Linens

Wash all napkins, curtains, tablecloths and other linens. This will minimize the loads you have to do before the big dinner. Store them in a location where they will not collect dust or debris. Trust us, when you don’t have to worry about laundry before cooking a Thanksgiving meal, it feels like Christmas morning.

Prep and Organize Christmas Decorations

Most people decorate on or after Thanksgiving Day. Determine your decor scheme and check all products for damage. It’s better to run to the store today to replace Christmas lights than it will be on Black Friday.

Take Family Photos

It’s much easier to book an appointment with a family portrait photographer now than the holidays. This also ensures you’ll have your photos with enough time to send out wonderful Christmas cards.



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20 Songs for Your Halloween Party

Hosting a great party is all about the music and food you offer. That’s what the guests will remember most. For Halloween parties, you have a few requirements, like “The Monster Mash” and “The Addams Family” theme song, of course. However, you don’t want to play the same thing everyone’s been hearing for the last decade. To help get your party going, we’ve made another Spotify playlist. This playlist consists of 20 songs. We suggest listening to this all the way through, and then starting a radio station based off this list. Let’s see what Spotify gives you!

Prefer your music player to Spotify? Here’s a list of the songs we added! Enjoy!

The “Twilight Zone” Theme Song – The Ventures
This is Halloween – Marilyn Manson
Thriller – Michael Jackson
The Addams Family – Vic Mizzy and His Orchestra
What’s This – Flyleaf
I Put a Spell on You – Screamin’ Jay Hawkins
The “Psycho” Theme Song – Bernard Hermann
O’ Death – Kate Mann
Halloween – The Misfits
Dead Man’s Party – Oingo Boingo
Bat Country – Avenged Sevenfold
Frankenstein – The Edgar Winter Group
Psycho Killer – The Talking Heads
The Monster Mash – Don Hinson & The Rigamorticians
Don’t Fear the Reaper – Blue Oyster Cult
Pet Semetery – The Ramones
Disturbia – Rhianna
Time Warp – The Rocky Horror Picture Show Soundtrack
Ghostbusters – Ray Parker, Jr.
Touch – Daft Punk

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Our Best Candle Scents for Autumn

We’re named for our favorite holiday, but we actually carry home décor and scented candles for every season! For the purposes of this post, you can think of us as Christmas SCENTral. Oh yes, we went there, because we are hilarious. We carry a variety of candles, but a select few are ideal for creating the cozy autumn feeling in your home. Bring the scents and feelings of fall with candles from our list below!

Pumpkin Spice & Pumpkin Pie (Obviously)

It’s just not autumn without pumpkin… EVERYTHING. You surely can’t bake pumpkin every day, as much as you’d like to. Fill your home with pumpkin scents with one of our two choices below.

Decorative Pumpkin Spice Candle

decorative halloween candle

Pumpkin Pie Jar Candle

Halloween Jar Candle

Cinnamon or Apple

Cinnamon and apple scents are staples for autumn. Each candle smells wonderful on its own, but you can pair them together for a delicious cider scent.

Apple Orchard

autumn apple candle


cinnamon autumn candle


Cranberry or Falling Leaves

Falling leaves will bring the outdoor scents indoors, without all that cool weather. Our cranberry candle is perfect to burn with Falling Leaves or on its own for Thanksgiving Dinner.

Cranberry Cosmopolitan

autumn cranberry candle

Falling Leaves

autumn leaves candle

Maple Butterscotch or Vanilla

Our Maple Butterscotch and Vanilla candles are ideal for the morning. Burning them together will create a “breakfast in fall” atmosphere. The Vanilla candle is versatile and will mix well with almost any other scent you have.

Maple Butterscotch

maple autumn candle


vanilla candle for sale

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Seasonal Items You Need from Trader Joe’s Immediately

Some of you have had a Trader Joe’s around for a while now. Here, in WNY it’s still a bit new to us. In fact, my first time there was only two weeks ago, and I know plenty of people who are yet to check it out. I was a bit skeptical, as I’m used to my comfortable local grocers. A need for special cheese sent me there, and like everyone else, I too am now obsessed. The best thing about TJ’s is their recipe section on their website. They offer an abundance of meal ideas you can make using ingredients from their store. I don’t know about you, but one-stop shopping for seasonal recipes is just wonderful enough to win me over.

Since so many of us fall into that “obsessed with pumpkin and fall” category, I’ve compiled a list of delicious TJ’s recipes and items you have to try this season.

Do it.


Seriously, do it.



Pumpkin Pie Donuts with Maple Glaze

These take about 20 minutes to prepare and cook. Every single ingredient listed is TJs brand, which means it’s bound to be delicious. Find the instructions and shopping list from Trader Joe’s here.

Shepherd’s Pie

This dinner takes about 40 minutes to prep and cook. TJ’s take on the traditional dinner is one of the most exciting things I’ve found on the internet in 2015. If any of our readers beat me to making this dish, make sure to share your results in the comments below. Find the recipe and shopping list here.

Willie’s Sweet Potato Pie

This one requires a bit more effort, as prep time alone is about half an hour. Then it will take an hour to cook. With cinnamon, nutmeg, homemade whipped cream, and TJ’s pie crust, it’s no doubt worth the effort. Get the shopping list and recipe here.

Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Pie Cookie Butter

If you’ve had TJ’s Original Cookie Butter, you probably stopped reading this blog and went to the store. If you haven’t had the original flavor, you now have two things added to your shopping list. This treat tops any peanut butter or hazelnut spreads on the market. Use it as a dip or a spread for crackers, toast, bagels, and more. This cookie butter is so delicious that it inspired this entire blog post. Read more about it from What’s Good at Trader Joe’s.

If there is no Trader Joe’s located near you, follow their updates here. They frequently announce new store locations. Also, my deepest regards to your life without Trader Joe’s. I say, make a road trip!


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5 Creepy & Funny Halloween Commercials [VIDEOS]

Over the years, we’ve been scared and entertained with a variety of Halloween commercials. We typically see the comical ads from candy companies, but sometimes other industries get involved too. From the fake horror movie ads to the ones with exceptionally freaky characters, the companies in the list below nailed it. I’m at a desk alone and I laughed out loud at least three times while preparing this post for you guys. Check out the best of the best Halloween videos I found on YouTube and in blogs. It’s still early in October though, so we may see some new ones in the coming weeks. If you’ve seen a commercial that you actually enjoyed watching, share it in our comments section below!

The Creepy Snickers Lady

Snickers is known for making great commercials all year long, but their Halloween commercials are sublime. This woman is terrifying, yet her behavior is hilarious. It’s entertainingly creepy. It’s difficult to explain what you’re about to see, just watch this video. Her frightening face and long arms will terrify you, but the shopper’s expression will make you laugh.

Crest & Oral-B Give Kids Healthy Treats

This video is adorable and hilarious. A man tests children’s responses to healthy Halloween treats. These brave souls keep trying the food he brings out, even though they find them disgusting and nauseating. One little girl threw up, the poor thing. You feel bad for her, but you can’t help but laugh and hope it’s fake. Watch the ad and see what happens when he tells the kids this food will replace Halloween candy from now on.

Gorilla Glue

A horror movie spoof, this is another commercial that confuses your emotions. The killer in this commercial is especially terrifying, and the music sets the mood perfectly. However, when things don’t go according to the killer’s plan, it gets pretty funny. Watch the commercial below to see what happens.

Nike: Run for Your Life

This is your classic horror movie commercial, albeit it’s a bit older. This might be one of Nike’s best commercials to date. The girl being chased is wearing Nike’s, which her attacker wasn’t expecting. The end of this ad is great; watch it below!

The Doritos Goat

Aired during this year’s big game, this isn’t even a Halloween commercial, but it still freaked me out. Similar to the snickers commercial, I laughed while feeling scared. The best commercials make you feel two things at once. Watch what happens when this guy buys a Dorito-loving goat!

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5 Tips for Carving Awesome Pumpkins

how to carve pumpkinsAs the saying goes, there are no mistakes in art. Pumpkin carving is an art if you think about it. While you can’t make a mistake in your art, you can certainly make a few mistakes in the execution of your design. Who here hasn’t accidentally carved too deep or cut off a tooth. Almost everyone has miscalculated the teeth, ending up with a giant open smile. Some people are phenomenal at it whether they’re artistic geniuses or simply a well-seasoned pumpkin carver. We can’t make you a Jack-O’-Lantern artisan overnight, but we can help you carve a better pumpkin each time. Practice makes perfect so read our ten tips below and keep them in mind every year until you’re the pro.

Pick Your Design First

Decide on the face or character you or your child would like to display on the pumpkin. This will help you in the next step. Choose from witches and monsters to scary faces and silly characters. Some kids may even want a licensed character from their favorite movie. We don’t recommend trying something like this until you’re ready, as it’s much more difficult when your design is supposed to look exactly like a professionally drawn character.

Choose the Right Pumpkin

Look at each pumpkin as if it were a blank canvas. What do you see in the pumpkin? Is it wrinkly” Does it have a silly shape? Is it large and scary? Think about your design on each pumpkin. Make sure you also ensure that the pumpkin rests flat on the bottom and has no blemishing or bruising.

Use the Best Tools

Sure, you can find a pumpkin carving kit at your local dollar store, but remember… those are the tools that break off in tougher or fresher pumpkins. Invest in a quality pumpkin carving kit, or use a large serrated knife. A heavy-duty ice cream scoop is your best bet for scraping the pulp and seeds out. The walls of the pumpkin will look great when you’re done.

Use a Template

Pinterest, HGTV, and many other websites offer downloadable templates. Working with these items will save time and reduce stress, as it’s simply tracing and cutting. View some great ones from HGTV here.

Illuminate with LED Candles

Not only do LED candles emit a better light, but you can select from a variety of colors and they’re safer. For a clearer look and fewer hazards, opt for LED tea lights with timers.

With these tips and a little bit of practice, you can most likely do a better job than these squirrels did. Although, for animals, they did a pretty stellar job! Watch this adorable video for inspiration!

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5 Thoughtful and Practical DIY Christmas Gifts to Start Now

Oftentimes in holiday ads, you’ll see someone open a present of a handmade gift with a grimace on his or her face. While that makes for funny retail marketing, it’s not always the case. In fact, many people genuinely appreciate handmade gifts. There’s really no downside to a thoughtful DIY gift, except for maybe the time it takes… which is why you should start now. There’s still plenty of time for the planning and execution of a gift that will melt hearts.

We get a little sappy around here during the holidays, as we very well should. Thanksgiving and Christmas are a time to spread love and joy to those you appreciate the most. When we receive a gift that took time, effort, and sincere consideration… it makes us feel really good. Handmade gifts make us feel the way our favorite songs and scents do, they touch is in a way we’ll never forget.

So, what are some things you can do for your special person? Ultimately that decision depends on his or her personality and the type of relationship you have. However, we can help inspire you with our list of the best handmade gift ideas for Christmas. These gifts will not only be useful for the recipient, but they’ll also show him or her that you pay attention to their hobbies and passions.

Personalized Potholders and Kitchen Décor

If your intended loves to cook or appreciates unique kitchen decorations, consider making an embroidered set of potholders or an engraved serving spoon. There are also personalized wine bottle holders, corkscrews, and spoon rests. Browse our kitchen décor items for an inspiration!

DIY Blankets

If you’re handy with a hook or needle, you can crochet or knit a blanket in his or her favorite colors. However, if you’re less experienced, you can make a DIY Tie blanket using nothing more than material and scissors. Check out this tutorial from SoCraftastic.


Quilts are a little different from the blankets listed above as they’re much warmer, require sewing, and can be extremely personable. Making a quilt is hard work, which is why people appreciate them so much. Moreover, they’re cozy and make the perfect cuddle blanket for a cold day. The best part of all is the squares you use can be a mix of attractive fabric and memorable clothing items. Below, you’ll find a great tutorial on how to make quilts from your own fabrics.

Photo Collages

You can use poster board, but it will look a bit nicer if you use a large frame. This is an easy gift, but an extremely sentimental one. Print, cut and decorate about 10-20 of your favorite photos with the recipient. Add in special song lyrics and book quotes that have special meaning to you. This is adorable, sweet, and practical as he or she will likely display it proudly.

Personalized Ornaments

Engrave a message on metal ornaments, paint traditional ornaments, or create a few of your own from Pinterest. Include the year and a special memory or quote to make the giftee smile ever Christmas when he or she decorates the tree.




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10 Adorable Autumn “Date Nights” to Plan

fall date ideasMany relationship professionals say the best way to make a marriage last is to, “never stop dating your spouse”. What does this mean exactly? Dating is over when it becomes a marriage, isn’t it? No, it’s just the opposite actually. Dating is what got you together in the first place; it’s what made you fall in love… so, it will certainly keep you together. If you think about it, this is a great plan. The happiest couples are the ones who always make time for each other, and that’s why the dating phase is so important in marriage. A regular “date night” can simply keep the excitement and emotions flowing, so your relationship never gets stale.

Autumn is such a romantic season too, so this is the best time to get back into it. Centered on family, ending the year, and staying warm, there are so many adorable dates just waiting for you. Make a list of things you’d like to do and compare them with your spouse’s list. You may agree on most, but some might take more persuasion. To help inspire romantic ideas for your next date, we’ve prepared a list for you to try. If you’d like to add to our list, just let us know in the comments below and we’ll update it!

Visit a Cider Mill

Many areas have a cider mill less than an hour away. During autumn, these establishments typically offer tours, hot cider, cider donuts, events and much more. Absorbing the scents and sights of fall can deliver the feeling of harvest season, bringing you closer together.

Go Apple Picking

In some cases, you can go apple picking at Cider Mills. If not, most local farms allow you to pick from their trees for a small fee. This is a great date because you will inevitably discuss what you’re going to do with all the apples you grab. This conversation starter will leave you learning new things about your significant other and planning future dates.

Get Lost in a Corn Maze

A corn maze is an autumn staple, and it’s a productive date because you need to communicate properly and work together to get out of it. Since you’re on a date, you’re less likely to argue about which way to go or how many times you’ve gone down one path. This scenario is ideal for couples who want to learn how to keep the romance in stressful situations.

Go on a Haunted Adventure

Few things will bring you closer to your significant other, than fear. Don’t opt for the crowded commercial haunted houses. Instead, look up a local haunted area or tour. Some mansions or buildings with a dark history will offer special events around Halloween. Something about it being real makes it much more frightening, which means you’ll be hugging and comforting each other often.

Choose Pumpkins & Decorate Them

Shop for pumpkins and discuss how you’ll decorate them for the season. Share ideas from painting and glittering to carving and stenciling. This will help you discover and appreciate your significant other’s artistic tastes.

Attend a Sporting Event

Autumn is premier sporting season. Football is a popular American past time in fall, but many people love hockey just as much. Try to find affordable tickets for a football or hockey game this season. The comradery that brings cities together will certainly bring you two together. Rooting for the same outcome together helps remind you that you still have many things on which you can agree.

Cook Dinner & Watch a Scary Movie

Cook a dinner together and watch a scary movie. This date is affordable, and it still counts as designated alone time. Even though you’ll be staying at home, dress up as if you were going to a restaurant… it helps set the “date” mood. Cooking together is a great way to boost communication skills and learn new things. Choose a scary movie for after the meal to ensure cozy autumn cuddling.

The Two-Person Book Club

Agree to read the same book over one week. When you both have a day off… plan to discuss your thoughts and opinions on the book. If you happened to choose a book with a film adaptation, you can watch the movie together as well! This is a great way to broaden your horizons and share opinions with one another.

Shop for Winter Clothing & Outerwear

Soon you’ll both need a winter jacket, gloves, and a hat. Go shopping together and help each other select items. This date is adorable because you get a preview of your snow bunny! You can also stop each other from purchasing an unattractive or undesirable item.

Make a Seasonal Playlist Together & Go for a Drive

Work together and create a playlist of your favorite seasonal songs. We recently posted an autumn playlist if you need inspiration for fall music. However, this should be a personalized playlist. So, make sure you include songs that touch you and remind you of autumn. Once you have both selected your favorite music, bring the playlist with you on a nighttime drive. The relaxing nighttime view of the road coupled with the music will have you two feeling like it’s the first date.

Whichever dates you choose, remember the importance of pursuing and caring for your significant other. Frequently doing the things you did in the beginning keeps the fire burning. Happy Dating!

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What Do You Think about Burger King’s “A.1. Halloween Whopper®”?

During the holidays, we expect to see item packaging and marketing materials changed into specific color schemes. Just as Reese’s cup foil turns red and green around Christmas time, Burger King’s buns turn black. Wait… what?! That sounds… I don’t know. Delicious, but also creepy.

We’ve heard about these black sandwich buns in the past, but it had always been chalked up to a rumor. Now it’s a reality. Released on September 28, 2015, Burger King began selling LITERALLY black sandwich buns when customers order the “A.1. Halloween Whopper®”. This special Halloween bun is baked with A1 steak sauce. This is a much tastier option than the one tested in Japan last year. They used black cheese, black ketchup, and black sandwich buns. Guess what they were made with? Squid ink! We’ll take the A.1. sauce, thank you.

While this is a hilarious marketing segment, it’s also a little disturbing to me. I don’t know if I could eat a black sandwich bun, even if it were 100% edible. I’m curious to see what some of our readers and customers think. I am quite the whopper fan, but this has me steering clear. Are you dying to try the “A.1. Halloween Whopper®” or will you order something else when you visit the king? Share your thoughts on this in our comments below. If you happen to purchase one today, send us a photo. I’d like to see if they actually turn out the way they look in the seasonal promotions.


Would You Try the Burger King "Halloween Whopper®"?

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Want to see a sneak peek at what this monster looks like? Check out this video!

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Outdoor Halloween Decoration Ideas

The exterior of your home represents your style and personality, which is why your holiday decor schemes are so important. You’re not only showing your festive side, you’re showing the curb appeal of your home to neighbors and trick-or-treaters. So many Halloween decorations work and look great, but there are a few unique ideas that will make your home be the one to stand out. Check out our list of Halloween decorations every home needs this year.

Life-Size Skulls & Skeletons

Skull Halloween Decorations for Sale

Create a spooky graveyard or zombie scene with life-size skulls or skeleton figurines. Leave the skulls in your garden area, and position the skeletons so they look like they’re scaling your home to attack! They will probably remind people of this scene from Army of Darkness.

Rusty Barbed Wire Garland

barbed wire halloween decor

Create the eerie look of an abandoned prison or haunted asylum with rusty barbed wire garland. This would be great around lamp posts and any unused structures in your garden. Don’t place this on things you’ll need like the mailbox. It would look sweet, but be mildly irritating.




Black PVC Trees with Orange Lights

Halloween Trees for Sale Online

Place these artificial Halloween trees so that they’re visible in the window, or leave them outside in the garden. They’re black with orange lights and perfect for creating a beautiful accent to your scary scenes.




Fabric Porch Banners

outdoor halloween decorations for sale

Black and orange are typical Halloween colors, but you can always include purple and green for added accents. Use orange and black banners on the porch for an elegant, yet festive look. These banners are great for indoors as well if you’re hosting a party.




Zombie Gravestones

yard headstone decorations for sale

Complete a zombie theme with zombie gravestones.  Scatter these headstones throughout your front lawn to make it look like an old, creepy cemetery. These would pair well with the life-size skulls we mentioned above.




Decorative Witch Boots

witch boots for sale

Use Halloween-themed witch boots on the porch or in your front hall for a cute, yet scary accent in your decorations.




Witch Door or Window Panel


scenic silhouette for Halloween

Cover large windows or your front door with a scenic silhouette. This frightening image will be the first to greet your guests and trick-or-treaters on Halloween!




Black Roses

halloween rose decor for sale

Place black Halloween roses in your bushes and throughout the front hall or foyer in your home. These small additions will complement any theme and are hauntingly beautiful.




Candy Corn Lights

candy corn lights

Use candy corn lights instead of traditional orange lights for bushes, lamp posts, and other lighting schemes. The subtle difference creates a fun atmosphere in the midst of frightening decor.


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