Do you love driving around your neighbourhood during late October and checking out the ghostly and gruesome Halloween decorations? Thinking of upping your game this year? With plenty of time to get crafty before October 31, make this the year to go all out and enter the running for the street’s creepiest house!
Here are 8 spooktacular ideas for creating a spine-chilling Halloween home:
- Remove your doormat and use black duct tape to create a spider web on your front porch.
- Cut eye holes in empty toilet paper rolls, insert a glow stick in each and strategically place in bushes around your yard.
- Think large scale and drape spider webs from your eavestrough down to your front porch. Make or buy some massive spiders (you can find instructions for creating your own on Pinterest) and place the creepy crawlers in the web.
- Use some discarded Barbies or other dolls (you can find them at your local thrift shop) to create an army of zombie dolls. Use grey paint on their faces, mess up their hair and remove a few limbs for the full effect!
- Nothing says Halloween like swirling fog! Make your own fog machine with a few simple ingredients. You’ll need pure gylcerin, distilled water, an empty 2 litre bottle, a small tin foil pie tin and a couple other easy-to-find supplies to create your DIY fog machine. Check online for detailed instructions.
- Instead of a red carpet entry, offer your guests a faux blood-stained pathway! Cut 3-foot strips from an old, white sheet or drop cloth and lay along your front walkway a few hours before trick-or-treaters start arriving. Step in red paint with bare feet and add some bloodied footprints and splatter some more red paint for a little extra gore.
- To create the illusion of desperate folks trying to escape your home, cut out forearm/handprints from black bristol board and affix to windows. Use dim lighting for the desired effect.
- For a weird and whimsical look, shape chicken wire into ghostly figures, spray with glow in the dark paint and place on your front lawn.
You can find plenty of exciting ideas for Halloween decorating at http://www.countryliving.com/diy-crafts/g1370/outdoor-halloween-decorations/.
As a consumer, you take your time when making a major purchase, researching products, asking for opinions and weighing the pros and cons of the many different options available. When it comes to making life’s biggest purchase – a new home – you’ve likely done the same. You’ve visited the neighbourhoods you’re interested in and have an idea of the average market price. You may have toured a few open houses and have your mind set on the ideal floor plan and style of home you prefer.
It’s true – there’s a lot to think about and even more to understand when buying a home and what you see when you walk from room to room is just the tip of the iceberg. It’s for this reason that finding a seasoned professional to guide you every step of the way is a smart decision for house hunters. Even if you’ve owned a home before and feel confident in your ability to find “the right house”, a real estate salesperson has the breadth of knowledge and a special skill set that comes only with experience – they are dealing with the sale and acquisition of homes on a daily basis.
Here are just a few of the things that a realtor will be looking for during your hunt for a new home:
Wiring – Homes built up until the 1940’s were likely outfitted with knob and tube wiring. In the 60’s, aluminum wire became a popular choice. Both are considered a fire hazard and today many insurance companies will refuse to insure a home with one of these types of electrical wiring or will charge a higher premium. Your realtor will be able to tell if a home has knob and tube or aluminum wiring. Replacing the electrical wiring in an entire house can cost anywhere from $7,000 – $15,000.
HVAC system – A salesperson will be able to tell you the exact age of the furnace and air conditioner and may be able to tell you if these systems have been properly maintained.
Plumbing – Sump pumps, septic tanks, wells and sewer systems….your realtor will be able to explain each of these features in detail.
It’s no secret that Canada’s population is getting older. Census data released earlier this year by Statistics Canada show that, for the first time ever, seniors make up a bigger share of our nation’s population than children. By 2031, the agency predicts that nearly one in four Canadians will be over 65.
Finding suitable and affordable housing for seniors is already proving to be an issue in some municipalities. And if decreasing mobility is a concern, the challenge is even greater. For some families, the only option is to invite aging parents or grandparents home to live with them. If you will soon be welcoming an elderly family member into your home, here are just a few of the ways that you can make adjustments to create a more accessible living space for the new arrivals.
Anyone suffering from arthritis knows that it gets more and more difficult to squeeze and turn door knobs, so a simple first step in making your home accessible is replacing knobs with levers, which push down easily.
Installing grab bars and handrails is another easy way to make your home safer without making a major change. Every staircase should have handrails on both sides and there should be grab bars near toilets and bathtubs. If you do have the option to renovate a bathroom to make it more accessible, leave out the tub and replace it with a shower. When tackling a major renovation, be sure to enlarge doorways to 32-36 inches in case wheelchair access is needed now or in the future. Swing-away hinges may work to widen a doorway slightly if a temporary solution is needed.
Area rugs look nice but they can actually be a hazard for the elderly, causing trips and falls. Avoid placing small area rugs or runners in hallways, bathrooms or bedrooms.
Household falls also happen when an individual can’t see where they are going. Be sure to change light bulbs as soon as they burn out and add additional lighting to dark staircases, hallways or rooms.
In the kitchen, make sure your cabinet door hardware is easy to grab (D-shaped handles on cupboards and drawers tend to be the easiest), daily use items are within easy reach and clutter is kept off the floor.
With just a few small changes, you can make your home safer for elderly relatives!
The month of October brings with it crisp, cool mornings, the vibrant colours of autumn and a slew of fun (and creepy!) events to the Haldimand area!
Grand Caledonia Half Marathon and 5K- October 7
Race day has almost arrived! Whether you’re planning to be a participant or a spectator, Caledonia Fairgrounds is the place to be on October 7 as the runners hit the rural roads of Haldimand! The L’il Pumpkin 1K race will take place inside the Fairgrounds for children 12 and under. Participants will earn their very own medal and a mini pumpkin to decorate and take home! Visit www.grandcaledonia.ca to register for the half marathon, 5K and 1K races.
Creepy Caledonia Ghost Tours – October 7, 21, 27
Discover all about Caledonia’s haunted history on a guided, lantern-lit walking tour of downtown, featuring local stories, legends and folklore. Cost is $5 per person, children under 3 are free. Free parking at the Fairgrounds. Event starts at 7 p.m.
21st Annual Cars in the Park Vintage Car Show – October 9
If you have a soft spot for all things automotive, don’t miss the Cars in the Park Vintage Show at Ruthven Park! In 2016, over 500 cars travelled to Ruthven Park for this event. Enjoy outdoor tours, trail walks, displays, door prizes, and tours of the Thompson Mansion. Admission is $10.
Ghost Walk and Dark History Tour – October 27
Tour the Thompson Mansion at Ruthven Park and keep your eyes peeled for playful little Bessie on the stairs, dread in the parlour and the ghost of a famous actor! Multiple tours will be offered from 6:30 – 9:30 p.m. Admission is $17 for adults, $10 for kids 13 and under. Parking is free with your tour ticket! Visit www.ghostwalks.com to register.
Ruthven’s For the Birds Festival – October 21
Our feathered friends take centre stage at this annual event! There will be fun activities for the whole family, including a Bird Census Walk, a birding workshop and much more. Festival begins at sunrise and refreshments will be offered. Visit http://ruthvenparknationalhistoricsite.com for more information.
Buyers have plenty of choice when it comes to choosing the type of home they will buy. You can purchase new from a builder, or shop around for a resale townhouse, single family home or condominium.
The latter is an excellent option for first-time buyers, young professionals and retirees or those looking to downsize. That’s not to say that all condos are affordable. A spacious unit in a well-appointed building can easily boast a price tag well into the millions with maintenance fees approaching $1,000 per month.
Whatever your price range, there are a few things to consider and research before settling on a condo purchase.
The first factor to consider is those condominium fees. Possibly one of the great mysteries of homeownership, these fees can turn an outright purchase into what seems like a rental, with monthly payments to factor into your budget for as long as you live at that address. If you have never paid condo fees before and the concept has you running scared, take a few minutes here to understand what they are and what they cover:
• The cost of keeping common spaces (elevators, indoor and outdoor gardens, lobbies and hallways, etc.) clean and in good working order.
• The upkeep of amenities such as fitness rooms, swimming pools, bowling alleys, theatre rooms, spas and party rooms.
• Snow removal, roof repair and insurance.
You’ll also want to think about the building’s amenities. Before you move into a condo, decide whether its in-house bells and whistles are perks you’ll use often enough to warrant the fees you’ll be paying for them each month.
A final consideration is the condo corporation’s status certificate. A status certificate is a prospective condo owner’s first look into the financial health of their potential investment. This comprehensive report gives all the details on the current fees that owners pay, any large fee increases that may be on the horizon and any liens or arrears owed by particular owner(s). Financial statements are also a part of the status certificate and will show the trends in expenditures and receipts of the past, and provide comparisons of a corporation’s actual and expected costs. To get your hands on a condominium’s status certificate, you must submit a written request to the condo board’s management company, plus a $100 fee. They have 10 days, as required by law, to provide the certificate.