Automobile related accidents with pedestrians increase as much as four times on Halloween most frequently occurring between 4:00 and 8:00 PM. Below are a few tips for driving safely on Halloween night:
- Drive slowly. This is especially true in residential areas where there’s a lot of action. Keeping your speed below the limit gives you more time to stop in an emergency. Don’t pass stopped vehicles as they are most likely dropping off or picking up trick-or-treaters.
- Stay vigilant. Keep an eye on the sidewalks and curbs where kids are walking as they can change direction and be in the street at any moment. Be cautious at intersections or even when turning into driveways.
- Eliminate distractions. Do not use a cell phone or text while driving. Turn down the radio to help you concentrate on the road. Remember that many children are out early so stay alert on your way home from work.
- Yield to pedestrians. Many children may not know the rules for crossing the street safely or are too distracted and excited to notice cars. They may assume that you will stop. Give them the right away.
- Use signals. Let other drivers know your intentions by not neglecting to use turn signals when turning and stopping. Turn your lights on before dark to help pedestrians see your car. Use your hazard lights when stopping to drop off or pick up passengers.
- Be responsible. Halloween is a holiday for adults too, with a lot of parties where drinking will occur. Two thirds of the accidents on this day are alcohol related. Plan ahead and designate a driver.
Remember to be safe on the road for you, your passengers, and all the trick-or treaters that are out this night.
After the winter holidays have passed you’ll face the enormous task of packing and storing all of your holiday decorations for next year. Below are eight tips that will make the task go more smoothly than before and make it easier to decorate your home next Christmas.
- Christmas lights – At the end of the holiday season take inventory of your holiday lights. Throw away or recycle and strands that no longer work properly. Then, roll each good light strand in a ball and place each ball in a separate plastic bag. Place all of the bags of lights in a plastic storage container preventing moisture damage.
- Artificial Christmas tree – The original box your artificial tree came in seems like the most logical storage box. However trying to squeeze the tree back into the box will seem like an impossible task. You’ll have to smash and bend all the branches in order to squeeze the tree back into the box. Also, the cardboard box can deteriorate if subjected to moisture and could also be prone to insect infestation. Instead of using the Christmas tree box, consider purchasing a Christmas tree bag or a commercially available Christmas tree storage box.
- Christmas wreaths – Most department and home stores sell holiday wreath storage boxes of various sizes. Make sure you buy the right size storage box because you’ll damage the wreath if you try to squeeze it in a box that’s too small. Also, consider boot boxes. They often work well for medium-sized and smaller Christmas wreaths. Just remember, whatever you use to store your wreaths must be able to maintain the shape of the wreath until next year.
- Ornaments – Many holiday ornaments come in individual boxes. It often works best to just repack these ornaments in their original boxes and store together in a large container. Try using other small boxes for homemade ornaments or wrap them in tissue paper and store together in a larger box. For small ornaments, use an egg carton.
- Holiday linens – Store each Christmas linen in an individual Zip Lock bag if possible (or tightly wrap larger items in lager plastic bags or trash bags). Place all of your plastic-wrapped linens in a large plastic storage container to prevent moisture damage. Another option to consider is dedicating the top shelf of your storage or linen closet to holiday linens, towels, blankets, pillows etc. Place a few dryer sheets in between your items to keep them smelling fresh until next year.
- Decorations that you’ll have to reassemble next year – Before taking down Christmas decorations that you had to assemble in order to display, take pictures of them the way you set them up so you can remember how to do it next year. Then take everything down and or disassemble in the reverse order of the way you set it all up.
- Christmas candles – Wrap each candle in an old stocking, sock, tissue paper or a plastic shopping bag to prevent scratching. Store together in a box or storage container. Be sure to store away from heat sources such as an attic where heat could melt the candles.
- Label the storage boxes – Tape a detailed list of what is inside each box to the outside of the box so you can quickly determine what is inside when it is time to decorate next year. Clearly number the boxes so you know how many you have (for example, Box 2 of 9). Use the number order to identify which boxes should be unpacked first next winter. Box 1 should be prominently labeled and contain all the things you’ll need at the beginning of the holiday season like your advent calendar and the holiday greeting cards that you’ll be sending to family and friends if you bought them on clearance this year.
With these holiday storage tips and a little planning and effort, you can organize and store your holiday decorations in an efficient manner that will make them easy to find and display next year.
It is no secret the fall and winter holidays are fast approaching. It is a time when homes are filled with family and friends, overnight guests, sparkling lights, festive decorations, holiday trees, and tasty meals and treats. Many of us look forward to good times and special holiday moments, but this combination often comes with a risk. For example, the US Fire Administration reports structure fires increase during the winter holiday season and the dollar loss per fire is 34% greater than normal. Take some time to review the countless safety articles, holiday tips and other safety information that is available before the decorating and festivities begin. Doing your part to keep your family and home safe during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays will ensure enjoyment for all.
The holidays have passed for another year. Now it is time to pack up your holiday décor and store it in your garage until next year. One task is to store all those holiday lights from front yard light displays, the Christmas tree and other areas of the home. Below are a few ideas to help you pack up your Christmas lights so you don’t find a tangled mess of light strands in box next year.
- Plastic bags – Wrap each strand of lights in a ball and place each ball in an individual plastic bag (any type will do.) Then store all the bags together in a box in the designated space in your garage.
- Empty Wrapping Paper Tube – Begin by cutting a slit in both ends of a wrapping paper tube. Secure one end of the strand of lights by threading it through the slit. Then, wrap the lights along the tube. Thread the other end of the lights through the slit at the opposite end of the tube.
- Cardboard Square – Cut a square or rectangle out of heavy duty cardboard. Cut a slit in one side of the square. Then, secure the end of a light strand by threading it through the slit. Wrap the strand of lights around the cardboard and thread the other end of the strand back through the slit. Store all cardboard square together in a clearly labeled box.
For more holiday ideas, check out The Garage Plan Shop’s entire collection of holiday blogs.
Most of us think of the holiday season as a fun and enjoyable time of the year. But others think of it as stressful and sometimes plagued with illness and poor health. There are many simple things you can do to maintain good health throughout the duration of this exciting and busy time of year. The Garage Plan Shop recommends reviewing the following health tips for a happy and healthy holiday season.
- Wash Hands – Keeping your hands clean is perhaps the easiest and most important thing you can do to stay healthy and prevent spreading germs to others. During the holidays we find ourselves in more public places more often than usual. Grocery stores, airports, restaurants, and shopping malls are filled with germs. Experts recommend washing your hands often with soap and warm water. Scrub for at least 20 seconds and rinse well. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol based hand sanitizer. You can even keep a travel size hand sanitizer in your purse or pocket when you go out.
- Stress Management – The holidays are a wonderful time to have fun, be cheerful, participate in special activities and enjoy the company of family and friends. But don’t let all your extra activities wear you down mentally and/or physically. Maintain a relaxed and positive attitude about holiday activities. Manage your time between work, home and fun. Avoid over-committing to too many people and activities. Be sure to get plenty of rest. Finally, make sure to manage your holiday budget as over-spending will surly add more stress to the holiday season.
- Practice Food Safety – When preparing holiday snacks, cookies, meals and other edibles, keep you, your family and your friends safe from food-related illnesses. Wash your hands and food preparations surfaces often. Thoroughly clean cookware, cooking utensils, and dishes in between uses. Avoid cross-contamination by keeping poultry, seafood, meat and eggs (and their juices) away from ready-to-eat foods. Be sure to cook foods to their proper temperatures. Refrigerate leftovers right away. Do not leave perishable foods out for more than two hours.
- Dress Warm – For most of us, changing temperatures and colder weather coincide with the holiday season. Cold temperatures can cause serious health problems. They are especially dangerous for the elderly and infants and small children. Using several layers, dress warm whenever you go outdoors and stay dry. Be sure to cover your hands and head.
- Be Active, Eat Healthy – Moderation is the key to following a healthy diet during the holidays. Substitute your favorite piece of fruit for candy. Eat small portions so you can enjoy a small taste of all your favorite holiday meals. When it comes to dessert, choose one or two of your favorites from the plethora of sweets and treats at holiday parties. Make an effort to schedule a half hour of exercise every day. Also, encourage your family to participate in fun, healthy activities like ice skating, sledding or taking a walk through the neighborhood after dinner to look at holiday light displays. Organize an afternoon family game of football or kickball. Keep in mind, a little fresh air will do some good for everyone.
- Medication Management – It is easy to get off track, change your schedule or skip your daily routines during the holidays due to so many different special activities and gatherings. If you take daily medications, it is important to stick to your medication schedule. Take medications on time and as prescribed. Do not make changes in how you take medications. If you always take your medications with breakfast, makes sure you continue taking them with breakfast. If you are traveling out of town for the holidays, don’t forget to take your medications with you. It is important that you do not skip doses.
Following these simple tips will help you stay healthy and enjoy the entire holiday season.