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Photo by H.S. Cooper ©

Photo by H.S. Cooper © “ScareKrow”

Aww! You don’t scare me! 🙂

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Photo by H.S. Cooper ©

Photo by H.S. Cooper © Eek!

Digging out the Halloween decorations, I have to chuckle… a few are from Washington, some Virginia, some Florida, some Texas and, quite honestly, some I can’t recall what state they came from!

Halloween has always been one of my favorite holidays. Especially since there are bowls of chocolate everywhere you go and it gives me an excuse to watch Harry Potter movies all month! But for those who have never camped in October, you might be surprised how popular of holiday it is in campgrounds.

Many campgrounds have Halloween activities from carving pumpkins to haunted hayrides. Some have designated site trick-or-treating for the children and most parks encourage families to decorate their campsites. A few places we have been have even held decorating contests.

One year we were in Virginia and the campground celebrated Halloween every weekend in October. Folks were encouraged to decorate. Normally we keep our outside items at a minimum, but that year we decided to go “all-out” and we based our theme on a children’s Halloween party. We decorated our picnic table with costumed “children” having a Halloween party. The table included plates, cups, candy (emptied and resealed wrappers, of course!), plastic toys (spiders, bats, pumpkins) and orange Halloween lights. And the table was even webbed-over by a few rather ambitious spiders adding to the design. The “children” were dressed up, such as a skeleton, scarecrow and, of course, Frankenstein. Our little creations were easy to make – we created their bodies out of recycled water bottles, two-liter soda bottles and one-gallon tea containers. All their costumes were purchased from the local thrift store for less than ten dollars. When the party was over – the “children” went into recycle bin and their clothes get washed and donated back to the local thrift store.

Photo by H.S. Cooper ©

Photo by H.S. Cooper © Little Frankie

One year we spent Halloween in Washington and that year it was a little too wet to put out decorations. Although that was an unforgettable Halloween for us – we hiked to Sol Duc Falls in Olympic National Park. It was 31 degrees! Oh, and did I mention that we were camped beside a cemetery and the week before they had an attempted grave robbery? No? Well, I’ll have to save that for another time! 😉

Another year we were on the road, exploring scenic Highway 391 in the Eastern Sierras. That was another October of extreme temperature changes for us. We went from 19 degrees (our hose froze) outside Bridgeport (we were visiting Bodie SHP) to over 100 degrees at Death Valley NP. Traveling from the “cool” ghost town to the hellish landscape of Death Valley was certainly an experience!

And then there was there year that we were in Florida and the monkeys…oh goodness, I could go on-and-on! I wonder what memories we’ll make this year? Although I do know it will involve at least one bag of KitKat’s! 😉

  As we travel the country, we pick up an ornament or some little momento that we can hang on that year’s Christmas tree. Yet that tradition has left us with a box of ornaments that don’t get displayed each year.

  Well, that was our excuse for going from a 3 ft. tree to a 6 ft. one anyway. 🙂 Yes, there is a 6 ft. Christmas tree in our fifth-wheel!  And we absolutely love having a large tree again.

   In fact, I’m thinking we could have gotten a 7 ft. one… okay, well, maybe not. At least not this year! 😉

  So if you have been like us, thinking you can’t get one in your home-on-wheels, think again! Just make sure it is a narrow tree and properly secured to the stand.

Halloween Spider

The area we are currently staying is big on Halloween! The campground is booked every weekend and has numerous Halloween activities from carving pumpkins to haunted hayrides. The children can trick-or-treat and families can enter weekly campsite-decorating contests.

Of course, when you are a full-time RVer, your storage space is limited. Fortunately, when it comes to being creative, we have plenty of space! 😉

Initially we discussed doing scarecrow “people” around our campfire… lounging in the chairs, roasting fake marshmallows over a fake fire… But after some brainstorming, we decided to base our theme on a children’s Halloween party. We decided to keep it simple, festive and child-friendly.

Halloween Decorations

We decorated our picnic table with costumed “children” having a Halloween party. The table includes plates, cups, candy (emptied and resealed wrappers, of course!), plastic toys (spiders, bats, pumpkins) and orange Halloween lights. The table has been webbed-over by a few busy spiders.

Halloween DecorationsThe “children” include a skeleton, scarecrow, pumpkinhead, lady bug and, of course, Frankenstein. Our little creations were easy to make – we created their bodies out of recycled water bottles, two-liter soda bottles and one-gallon tea containers. All their costumes were purchased from the local thrift store for less than ten dollars. No item was over $1!

When the party is over – the children go in the recycle bin and their clothes get washed and donated back to the local thrift store.

No party is complete without a buffet table and decorations! So we decorate the tree above the Halloween party and a table behind it. Spider webbing, ghosts and an inflatable spider were quick, inexpensive decorations to draw attention to our main display.

Halloween Decorations

Halloween treeThe “boo-ffet” table was decorated with a Halloween tree. If you just want one decoration or a centerpiece for a Halloween party – a Halloween tree is easy to do. We purchased a trick-or-treat bucket (a pumpkin) at a Dollar Tree store. We filled the bucket with rocks and then arranged dead tree branches in it.  We decorated the tree with ghosts, spiders, bugs, skulls and Halloween-colored ribbons. After our tree was finished, we webbed it. For a creepy effect, we used a hot glue gun around our “ornaments” and left the glue drip around the tree and webbing. We then added our other table decorations (garland, white lights – from Christmas!) and webbing.

So even if your space is limited, use your imagination to take part in the Halloween fun at your local campground! 😉

Yes, you can bake Christmas cookies in a camper!

Decorating holiday cookies in the RV.

Like most folks, we have been busy this past week working on holiday cookies and candies and doing our holiday shopping.

Since storage space is limited in a RV and you have to make each item count. Often cherished holiday items and decorations have to make way for the essentials. New items (gifts) coming into the RV often mean something else has to go out the door to make more room.

When it comes to decorations, we have learned to adapt to limited storage. One of the first things we did was reduced the size of our artificial Christmas tree. After the holiday we will “bundle” our tree and place it in a storage bag. It easily fits down in one of our holiday storage bins. Ornaments and other decorations that are not breakable or fragile are placed in storage bags. Breakable items are wrapped and placed in a smaller storage container. Everything gets placed in our large Christmas decoration storage bin.

The only thing that we miss around the holidays is having a larger kitchen. Fortunately, there are ways to deal with the lack of refrigerator, freezer and  counter space in a RV.

All our candy and cookie recipes have been cut in half or even thirds. Favorite recipes that cannot be reduced are used as filler items for neighbor’s cookie trays. We also limit what candy and cookies we make, often rotating recipes every year or making them at other holidays throughout the year.

When it is time to make the cookies and candies we clear off the kitchen table and place aluminum foil on it (see photo). This becomes our additional counter space and makes decorating cookies much easier.

We keep one refrigerator bin free to place extra cookies and candies until they are ready to be given away. Candies that do not need to be refrigerated are placed in storage containers and set on the table for easy “snacking” access.

Shopping for holiday gifts is a little different when you are a Full-Timer. Not only do you have to keep in mind what the person would like, but also where will they put it and determine if it will be something worth hauling around the country!  This can really add to the stress of the holidays.

The past two years we have practiced Reverse Giving. We agree on a pre-arranged amount and buy and wrap our own gifts, however we “assign” who they are from. The surprise comes on Christmas day when what you “gave” the others is revealed! It works well for us because we know what we need or would like and if there will be adequate room for it.

Most of our friends realize space is limited in our fifth-wheel and send gift cards or gift certificates. When it comes to the flood of holiday cards, we decorate the area above our long living room slide with them. It allows us to display them without wasting our functional living space.

Holiday storage doesn’t have to be a problem in a RV. You just have to learn to make the most of your limited storage space.

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