Archive for October, 2010

Home Boo-tiful: Get Out Your Halloween Yah-Yahs

I’m just a fuddy-duddy. Give me a couple of carved pumpkins, a weak porch light, and I’m fully decked out to scare the kiddies. But I understand the need to outdo your neighbor when it comes to demonstrating your willingness to go overboard for the holidays of your choice.

I personally like to spiff up the house for Bruce Springsteen’s Birthday (September 23), Hug an Australian Day (April 26), King Kamehameha I Day (June 11), Watergate Day (June 17), and my favorite, National Pancake Day (September 26). But I realize a lot of readers love Halloween more, so here are some pictorial ideas to spook your imagination:

D.B. Cooper


This battery powered skull and bones set commemorates Halloween and, at the same time, the exploits of Cooper, who leaped from a Boeing 727 with $200,000 in a briefcase on November 24, 1971.

Hungry Heart


Speaking of Springsteen (everybody’s got a hungry heart), or Lord Tennyson (always roaming with a hungry heart), this appetizing tabletop Halloween decoration ought to get your guests a-bobbing for apples. Lay your money down and play your part.

Stormin’ Norman


“Gee, I’m sorry I didn’t hear you in all this rain.”  Come on in. Take a shower. I think you’ll find these bath towels extremely fluffy and absorbent.

Pity Potter


Outdoor Urbanite has a nice presentation of this literary theme and other decorations I know you can’t live without.

Frighty Night Lights


Ok, you can outdo the neighbors, right?  Take your best shot outdoing this family!

Gnome Body Knows the Trouble I’ve Seen


I already took my digs at garden gnomes, so I’ll leave you to your own commentary on this grand prize costume from Inhabitots.

Take the Halloween challenge:

1. Post links to your own favorite decorations, or

2. Find another blog that mentions Tennyson, Springsteen, and D.B. Cooper, along with actual Hitchcock movie dialogue in a single post.

Odd Plants in Time for Halloween

My trusty friend Erin is a USDA Research Ecologist, which means she studies the “evolutionary dynamics of weed invasions”.  She wanders the land mapping the outburst of nature as it renews itself in its sundry shapes, sizes, and colonies. In thinking of her this Halloween season, I felt it necessary to observe some unusual plants that have found their way into many a state-side garden. Feel free to plant, water, prune, and sniff as necessary.

Smells Like Halloween Perfume


The poor Rafflesia–more commonly called “a stinking corpse lily”–is on the endangered list in native Southeast Asia. People in the United States have grown them in their yards. The blossoms can weigh 25 pounds and smell a little like decomposing flesh, hence the plant’s nickname. Trick or treat!

Go Ape!


Monkey cups made The Daily Telegraph Top-Ten Ugliest Plant list. The chimplantzee grows a perfectly natural sac for carrying your Halloween candy!

Bugle Corpse


The corpse (or carrion) flower is known as an aphrodisiac, but you may have to wait six years between blooms. (Sounds a lot like life to me.)  But this gorgeous, alien-looking plant does live 40 years and the blooms last for three days.

Nipped in the Bud


The South American Cow’s Udder (or nipple plant) is related to the tomato, but is poisonous to humans.  Will Barnes has great images of a number of udderly delightful earthly gems.

Meet the Beetles


Africa’s parasitic Hydnora smells foul to us, but its budding flower attracts swarms of carrion beetles.  The surprise is on them. The beetles drop down the hatch into the anthers where they’re coated in pollen, then they descend the rest of the way down where they fertilize the plant. The fruit itself has 20,000 tiny seeds which are eaten by baboons, moles, and porcupines who then tote them around Africa, dropping them nether-wards everywhere to grow anew. I did not make this up.

Talk to the Hand


Actually, you should meditate on the hand–the Buddha’s Hand.  The flower is on Chicago Now’s list of ugly plants, but I find it quite sufficient in the freeing of earthly attachments. And, like all good things for Halloween, it’s edible!

Recent Comments

  • Kid's stuff:Bedroom furniture for dreamers

    Hey Woodrow,

    You've put together a great post here. Hardwearing and long-lasting bedroom furniture is so important when you have young children, and choosing pieces which can handle the rough-and-tumble that comes with having little ones is key!

    Best wishes, Alex.

  • Awesomely Oddball Lawn and Garden Accessories

    I plan to do this. What was your process in painting the bottom...outside portion of the tub?

  • Poor staging can crush your home sale

    Woodrow, you have once again 'nailed' the essence of the issue of staging your home for sale with easy to understand pics and words. These are definitely rules to live by, oh wise one! I know I"m soaking up the knowledge you share--- now excuse me while I wring myself out. Can't wait for the next issue.

  • To everyone, a room of one's own

    We've recently bought a house which needs A LOT of work and I'm trying to convince my other half to let me build a "room of my own" for the house, one where I can put my games console and beer fridge. She's not gone for it yet though. The most I've managed to get is an office I can work out of ... not quite the same ... LoL.

    Mine would certainly be like the car boot room in the first image :)


  • Home designs you haven’t seen before

    I wonder how far the folks in the Rock House are able to drive in their car? Maybe down to their boat? It's so true that home is where you are at the moment.