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Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Don't Eat The Pumpkin- 8 Tips For Keeping Critters Away From Your Halloween Decorations

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By Grace Chen

Halloween is almost here, and along comes the excitement of decorating your yard. Many fall favorites are derived straight from the farmer’s market or garden center, including bright orange pumpkins, stalks of Indian corn, and bales of hay. However, if there is someone that enjoys your Halloween decorations more than you, it is your furry neighborhood animals. Here are some tips for keeping your Halloween decorations safe this year.

  1. Fencing: If small critters are your problem, sometimes all it takes is a little fencing to keep them out. Surround outdoor displays with decorative fencing to help keep rabbits and other critters from accessing them. Metal is preferred, as rabbits will chew through wood and plastic fencing. Larger fencing can be used for larger animals; however there is a good chance that this will ruin the look of your display.Don't Let Critters Eat Your Halloween Decorations

  2. Hot Sauce: Most animals don’t like spicy food, so if you make your Halloween edibles spicy they will leave them alone. Spraying Indian corn and pumpkins with a light dosing of hot sauce or cayenne pepper can help keep many of the nibblers away. Don’t forget to reapply if it rains or if there is a heavy dew as the moisture will wash the hot sauce away

  3. Scarecrows and Movement: Scarecrows are designed to keep birds and animals away because the movement spooks them. Since scarecrows are a popular fall decoration, you could always set up a few of your own in strategic places around the yard. Consider making bed sheet ghosts that flap in the wind, flying witches, or vampire capes. Animatronics can also create enough movement to scare away uninvited visitors. One year-round option for scaring away critters is the Rocking Bamboo Fountain, also known as shishi odoshi or the "Deer Scarer".

  4. Predators: You can find predator urine or musk at your local garden store. Spray this around the perimeters of your decoration to discourage animals from coming by. If smaller animals are your problem, sometimes a life-like predator decoration will also be a deterrent – try a fluffy black cat or a creepy owl to keep with the Halloween theme.

  5. Lights and Sounds: Playing Halloween music and installing flashing lights will do more than set a spooky Halloween mood. It can also help with scaring away smaller animals that are frightened by the commotion. However, if you live in a suburban area you might find that the pests are not deterred by this method.

  6. Shellac: Spraying pumpkins and other vegetables with shellac will give them a hard shell that discourages nibblers. You can also do this after carving to help preserve your pumpkin.

  7. Moth Balls:Most animals hate the smell of mothballs, so scattering a few around your display can help discourage them from visiting. However, mothballs are poisonous, thus they should not be used in yards accessible by pets or young children.

  8. Go for Reusable: If you are willing to sacrifice some of the realism of your Halloween display, going for reusable decorations will deter any nibblers. Ceramic or plastic pumpkins, fake floral arrangements, and other reusable decorations can create a fun display without being at risk of being eaten. As a bonus, you will be able to reuse the decorations year after year.

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