Ghosts and Goblins Create Holiday Problems

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Halloween trick-or-treaters are cute in their costumes, but the tricks they can leave behind are anything but. There’s nothing quite like waking up on November 1 to find toilet paper cascading from your trees, eggs dripping down your windows, your jack-o-lantern smashed on your sidewalk, and your mailbox and garbage cans dented, dinged and deposited down the street.
Halloween cleanups rank as one of the more unpleasant chores of home ownership. Here are

Halloween trick-or-treaters are cute in their costumes, but the tricks they can leave behind are anything but. There’s nothing quite like waking up on November 1 to find toilet paper cascading from your trees, eggs dripping down your windows, your jack-o-lantern smashed on your sidewalk, and your mailbox and garbage cans dented, dinged and deposited down the street.

Halloween cleanups rank as one of the more unpleasant chores of home ownership. Here are some tips to help speed clean-ups from neighborhood goblins:

  • EGGS AWAY - Eggs can damage painted surfaces and wood siding, so tackle this first. Use a solution of ammonia and water to scrub doors, windows, trim work and siding. Ammonia will help neutralize the acid in the eggs.

  • TP ON TREES - Use a long-handled branch trimmer to pull toilet paper down from your trees. A garden hose can be used to wash down the remnants.

  • SMASHED PUMPKINS - Pumpkin, while terrific in pie, isn’t so good for your sidewalks, creating a slick, slippery mess. Clean up the large pieces, then hose off with a detergent such as Pine Sol.

  • CRUSHED CANS - You may be able to hammer your garbage cans and mailbox back into shape, or this might be time to consider new ones. Plastic garbage cans on wheels are more durable and easier to manage. Plastic mailboxes resist denting, while a brick housing for your mailbox provides additional protection for all but the most aggressive goblins.

    You don’t have to lie in wait for trouble to begin. Taking a few precautionary steps can put the tricksters’ right out of business before the damage is done.

    Leave floodlights and interior lights on bright settings on Halloween to discourage mischief-makers. If it looks like you’re home, you’re less likely to be a target. Consider motion lights that light up when people get near the home. This can alert you when egg throwers are approaching your house, and help keep you safe all year long.

    Store garbage cans inside to prevent damage. Make sure cars, bikes and other objects are indoors, as well. When the majority of trick-or-treaters are done, bring your jack-o-lantern inside to thwart late-night vandals

    Create a looped tape of scary sounds to play on an outdoor boom box and frighten off unwanted guests. If pranksters were brave, they wouldn’t be throwing eggs in the dark.

    Finally, hold a Halloween party of your own, in your front yard. The treats may stop the tricks before they begin!

    Note: Tom Kraeutler is the Home Improvement Editor for AOL and host of The Money Pit, a nationally syndicated home improvement radio program. To find a local radio station, download the show’s podcast or sign-up for Tom’s free weekly e-newsletter, visit the program’s website at www.moneypit.com

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