Simple Steps for an Extra Safe Halloween

Simple Steps for an Extra Safe Halloween

National Safety Council | October 21, 2022 | Safe Halloween

Kids love the magic of Halloween, but costume and traffic safety are essential for trick-or-treaters. These tips can help make a safe and happy holiday for everyone.

Costume Safety for a Safe Halloween

To help ensure adults and children have a safe holiday, has compiled a list of Halloween safety tips. Before Halloween arrives, be sure to choose a costume that won’t cause safety hazards.

● All costumes, wigs and accessories should be fire-resistant
● If children are allowed out after dark, fasten reflective tape to their costumes and bags, or give them glow sticks
● Opt for nontoxic Halloween makeup over masks, which can obscure vision; always test makeup in a small area first to see if any irritation develops
● Remove all makeup before children go to bed to prevent skin and eye irritation

When They’re on the Prowl

Here’s a scary statistic: Children are more than twice as likely to be hit by a car and killed on Halloween than on any other day of the year. Lack of visibility because of low lighting at night also plays a factor in these incidents.

Keep these tips in mind when your children are out on Halloween night:

● A responsible adult should accompany young children on the neighborhood rounds
● If your older children are going alone, plan and review a route acceptable to you
● Agree on a specific time children should return home
● Teach your children never to enter a stranger’s home or car
● Instruct children to travel only in familiar, well-lit areas and stick with their friends
● Tell your children not to eat any treats until they return home, and take care to avoid any food allergies

Safe Halloween Tips for Motorists

NSC offers these additional safety tips for parents – and anyone who plans to be on the road during trick-or-treat hours:

● Watch for children walking on roadways, medians and curbs
● Enter and exit driveways and alleys carefully
● At twilight and later in the evening, watch for children in dark clothing
● Discourage new, inexperienced drivers from driving on Halloween

Visit the National Safety Council website for more great safety ideas!

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45 Halloween Party Games for Adults

45 Halloween Party Games for Adults

45 Halloween Party Games for Adults That’ll Make This Year’s Bash the Best One Yet

Good housekeeping | BY AMANDA GARRITY AND MONIQUE VALERIS | Updated: Oct 11, 2022 | Halloween Party

Get ready for a spooktacular time with these activities and entertainment ideas (including drinking games!) for any Halloween party.

From trick-or-treating and baking spooky delicious desserts to assembling creative costumes, if you’re like most people, Halloween is usually all about your kids. This year, switch things up by settling on an array of Halloween party games that are perfect for adults.

You and the 21+ folks in your circle can celebrate the spookiest day of the year with exciting twists on traditionals games. But if that’s not your style, take the liberty of arranging a pumpkin carving contest or wreath-making session to put your creativity on full display. And if all else fails, there’s nothing like a good Halloween-themed drinking game (just make sure there’s a designated driver).

Halloween Party

Whatever you decide, this roundup of Halloween party games for adults are full of humor and a dose of fright — just what you need to make this year’s event one to remember.

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Not Sure What to Wear on Halloween? Google Just Ranked the Most Popular Costumes of 2022

Not Sure What to Wear on Halloween?

Not Sure What to Wear on Halloween? Google Just Ranked the Most Popular Costumes of 2022

Expect to see a few familiar scary faces (and some pop culture favorites!) on Halloween, October 31. | By Nashia Baker | October 18, 2022

If you’re like Martha, dressing up for Halloween is probably one of your favorite parts of the spooky holiday. And on October 31, you certainly won’t be alone: Your neighborhood’s streets will be filled with trick-or-treaters (and their parents!) in costumes fit for the occasion.

When you do step out in character this year, you might notice a few recurring themes. According to Google Trends’ 2022 FrightGeist report, which highlighted the most-searched Halloween costumes across the United States, a few familiar monsters will prowl the streets, candy baskets in hand—but there will likely be some creative pop-culture references and beloved superheroes, too. As for the look you’ll see in droves on Halloween night? Google users searched most for a witch costume.

The runner-up spot was claimed by a famed movie and TV character: Spider-Man was the second most-searched costume. Rounding out the top three is an ancient, extinct creature that, on any other night, exists in fossil form only: Halloween enthusiasts plan to don plenty of dinosaur costumes in 2022.

Related: 15 Last-Minute Costume Ideas for Halloween

Creatures of the past and champions of the present aren’t the only costume themes that have captured trick-or-treaters’ interests this year: Google users are also planning on dressing up as characters from Netflix’s Stranger Things, which clocked in at number four (not Eleven!). And if you were considering being something more fearsome, think again. The fifth most-searched pick, a fairy, proves that ethereal and whimsical options are trending, too.

Want to see how your Halloween costume ranks on Google Trends’ list this year? Discover the 20 most-searched costumes, below—and visit FrightGeist for the full list.

Click here for the full list…

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How Long Do Carved Pumpkins Last?

How Long Do Carved Pumpkins Last?

Martha | By Lauren Wellbank | Updated August 01, 2022 | Carved Pumpkins

Plus, How to Make Carved Pumpkins Last Longer

You don’t want a moldy, bug-infested Jack-o’-Lantern to be your scariest Halloween decoration.

Carved, painted, or simply stacked on your front steps or porch, carved pumpkins are the quintessential Halloween decoration. But, like all vegetables, gourds eventually decay, and that begs the question: How long do carved pumpkins really last? And is there anything you can do to prolong the life of your creative gourd?

If you don’t take the right steps in caring for your pumpkin, they can become a haven for mold, bugs, and other frightful pests. Fortunately, our experts share a few tricks for keeping your prized Jack-o’-Lantern looking fresh throughout the spooky season.

How Long Carved Pumpkins Last

As soon as you carve a pumpkin, the clock starts counting down to its inevitable decline, says Ashley Renne Nsonwu, host of the show Ashley Renne on Smart Healthy Green Living. “You have anywhere from three to five days max before they start to soften and get moldy,” she says. That’s because once the insides of the pumpkin are exposed to the elements, the rotting process begins.

Source an Unblemished, Local Pumpkin

Make sure you start with the best-looking pumpkin you can find. “Look for ones with the least amount of bruises and blemishes,” says Renne Nsonwu. “You’ll have better luck if you get them locally. Less transport means less bumping and bruising—and as a bonus, it’s more eco-friendly because the pumpkin has a lower carbon footprint!”

Carve Immediately

If you want your pumpkin to last more than five days, Renne Nsonwu says you’ll need to make sure you’re getting the timing right. “You’ll want to get your pumpkin within a week of when you plan to carve it,” she says.

Consider the Weather and Your Location

n addition to picking the right pumpkin, factors like weather and geography will impact how long it lasts, according to Kevin Busch, VP of operations of Mr. Handyman, a Neighborly brand. “The colder the climate, the longer your pumpkin will last,” he says. That means those who live in areas that are already experiencing chillier temperatures will see their pumpkins remain in good shape longer than those who live further south.

How to Make Carved Pumpkins Last Longer

To extend the life of your pumpkin just a little bit more, Renne Nsonwu says you should clean it out well and disinfect it with a solution.

Castile Soap

“Some swear by bleach, but I’m not a fan,” she says. “Bleaching your pumpkins means you can’t compost them later!” Instead, she says to make a Castile soap spritz, which will delay the decay process.

  1. Combine 1 tablespoon of Dr. Bronner’s peppermint soap ($10.79, with 6 drops of peppermint oil in an 8-ounce spray bottle.
  2. Fill the bottle with water.
  3. Thoroughly spraying your pumpkin inside and out.

Vinegar and Petroleum Jelly

Another method that Busch swears by includes spraying your carved pumpkin down with a white vinegar solution. After you have spritzed on the vinegar, he suggests applying petroleum jelly or vegetable oil to the exposed areas and the interior of your pumpkin. “This will create a barrier that won’t allow the pumpkin to dry out, and also protects [it] from external humidity, rain, or other elements that can jumpstart the rotting process,” he says.

Skip Carving

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Decorating Pumpkins

The Best Paints to Use for Decorating Pumpkins | By Blythe Copeland | Updated August 17, 2022 | Decorating Pumpkins

From spray paints to acrylics, experts weigh in on the top tints for every Halloween Decorating Pumpkins project.  

Decorating pumpkins may be a traditional Halloween activity, but trading your X-Acto knife for a paintbrush has its benefits: Painting pumpkins is easier and safer for young kids, presents more design freedom for adults, and leaves you with an autumnal decoration that lasts until you trade your fall décor for holiday lights.

“When we carve pumpkins, if we get a week out of it, that’s pretty good—but a painted pumpkin can last months,” says Marc Evan, founder and co-owner of Maniac Pumpkin Carvers. “A carving is going to rot in as soon as three days, sometimes even quicker. The nice thing about a painted pumpkin is it could theoretically last the entire season and look great through Halloween.”

But choosing the best type of paint to use when decorating your pumpkin matters. Some are too translucent, while others are too oily, making them take longer to dry. Here, experts convey the best paints for decorating pumpkins so you can have a festive final product.

How to Pick a Pumpkin to Paint

The first step in designing a painted pumpkin is looking carefully at its shape. “Painting a rounded surface is a little more difficult than a flat surface like canvas,” says Becki Thomas, art manager at Painting with a Twist. “Try and choose a pumpkin with the smoothest surface possible, and plan your design, keeping the pumpkin’s natural ridges in mind.”

Next, clean your pumpkin so that the paint will stick to the surface. “It’s a good idea to wash the pumpkin and dry it really well,” says Evan. “That way, you’re not putting paint on a fine layer of dirt—you’re putting paint right on the skin of the pumpkin.”

Use Acrylic Paint for General Decorating Pumpkins

“I love to paint pumpkins with chalky acrylic paint,” says Roma Stiff, senior creative project designer for Michaels. “The coverage is good, and the matte finish gives an updated home décor look and feel. The paint comes in a variety of home décor colors and is just enough to do a project!”

Choose Acrylic Over Oil Paint for Decorating Pumpkins

Thomas agrees and recommends acrylic paint instead of oil-based when painting pumpkins. “It’s quick-drying, easy to use, and clean-up is a breeze,” she says. “Because acrylic is water-based, if you mess up, you can wipe it off with a rag and start over! Oil-based paint takes a long time to dry and can be fumy. [With oil,] you’ll also need paint thinner to clean the paintbrushes.”

Work in Layers

Most acrylic craft paints will require more than one coat to prevent the bright orange of the pumpkin rind from showing through, but acrylic’s fast-drying properties—and low cost—let you layer several applications for solid coverage in the shortest amount of time. “It’ll work for big shapes and tiny stencils,” says Thomas. “Have a few different brush sizes ready to go, and you’ll be able to paint anything with acrylic.”

Wear Protective Clothing

One caution from Thomas: “It does stain clothing, so make sure to wear an apron or an old shirt and to protect the table you’re painting on.”

Use Spray Paint for All-Over Color when Decorating Pumpkins

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The History of Halloween

The History of Halloween

Halloween 2022

HISTORY.COM | UPDATED:OCT 3, 2022 ORIGINAL: NOV 18, 2009 | Halloween

Halloween is a holiday celebrated each year on October 31, and Halloween 2022 will occur on Monday, October 31. The tradition originated with the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain, when people would light bonfires and wear costumes to ward off ghosts. In the eighth century, Pope Gregory III designated November 1 as a time to honor all saints. Soon, All Saints Day incorporated some of the traditions of Samhain. The evening before was known as All Hallows Eve, and later Halloween. Over time, Halloween evolved into a day of activities like trick-or-treating, carving jack-o-lanterns, festive gatherings, donning costumes and eating treats.

Ancient Origins of Halloween

Halloween’s origins date back to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain (pronounced sow-in). The Celts, who lived 2,000 years ago, mostly in the area that is now Ireland, the United Kingdom and northern France, celebrated their new year on November 1.

This day marked the end of summer and the harvest and the beginning of the dark, cold winter, a time of year that was often associated with human death. Celts believed that on the night before the new year, the boundary between the worlds of the living and the dead became blurred. On the night of October 31 they celebrated Samhain, when it was believed that the ghosts of the dead returned to earth.

In addition to causing trouble and damaging crops, Celts thought that the presence of the otherworldly spirits made it easier for the Druids, or Celtic priests, to make predictions about the future. For a people entirely dependent on the volatile natural world, these prophecies were an important source of comfort during the long, dark winter.

To commemorate the event, Druids built huge sacred bonfires, where the people gathered to burn crops and animals as sacrifices to the Celtic deities. During the celebration, the Celts wore costumes, typically consisting of animal heads and skins, and attempted to tell each other’s fortunes.

When the celebration was over, they re-lit their hearth fires, which they had extinguished earlier that evening, from the sacred bonfire to help protect them during the coming winter.

Did you know? One quarter of all the candy sold annually in the U.S. is purchased for Halloween.

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Should everyone in Michigan get auto insurance?

Should everyone in Michigan get auto insurance?

In the state of Michigan, owning a car is a good idea. When you are a car owner here, you will have an easy and convenient way to get around the state and enjoy all that it has to offer. When you are going to drive a car here, you also need to carefully assess your auto insurance needs.

There are various reasons why you should always get an auto insurance plan:

Protect Your Car

A reason that all people here should have an auto plan is so they can protect their car. If you are going to buy a car, you will want to know that it is covered in the event there is an incident of theft or an accident. When you are insured with auto insurance, you will have support in these cases. It is important to select a collision and comprehensive plan to ensure you have full coverage. 

Meet Auto Insurance Obligations

You also should obtain auto insurance coverage to meet any of your insurance obligations. People that live in Michigan will need to have liability coverage in order to drive their car on a public road. Further, those that have taken out a loan when buying a car will need to have comprehensive and collision coverage. If you remain properly covered, it will ensure you are in good standing with your obligations. 

Get The Right Coverage For Your Needs

It is always a good idea for someone here to get auto coverage. As you shop for insurance, discussing your insurance needs with the Shield Insurance Agency is always a good option. Our team of insurance experts at Shield Insurance Agency will give you the guidance to build your next plan. This can help ensure you are properly covered and in good standing with any obligations. 

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Shield Insurance Blog - Now that you are moved into a new home, check out this list of things to do

You Moved Into a New Home | By Margaret Heidenry | Jun 14, 2022 | Moved Into a New Home

So you’ve moved into a new home—yay! Maybe you’ve even celebrated with your first takeout meal in the middle of your fabulous (and empty) living room floor. But before you get too comfortable and go into a flurry of unpacking all those carefully labeled boxes, check out this list of things to do right after moving into a new place. It’ll set you up to be sitting pretty for years to come.

1. Take photos

Photos of bare and unadorned rooms? Yep. If you’re renting, these are essential when the time comes to get your security deposit back. Photos are also important if you bought a new home, since a fair amount of time may have passed between the inspection and when the previous owner finally took a powder. If any damage occurred in the interim, or the movers scratched a previously pristine floor, document it. A gallery of pictures taken before your furniture makes it inside will be worth a thousand words—and maybe more than a couple of bucks—should you need to point out damage.

2. Check your belongings for breakage when Moved Into a New Home

If you hired movers to either pack or move your belongings, “you have a limited amount of time to report any suspected damage or missing items,” says Kevin Gallegos, vice president of Phoenix operations for Freedom Financial Network. “Make sure that if a major appliance was moved”—such as a refrigerator, washer or dryer—“they still function as they should. Review your contract to determine liability coverage if you discover a problem.”

3. Figure out when and where to leave your trash

As you unpack, you’ll be eager to get rid of the trash, so finding out from your landlord, homeowners association or neighbors when and where you can do that is key. “You won’t want to miss pickup day when you’ve got piles of cardboard lying around,” says Desmond Lim, founder of Boston’s moving website QuikForce.

4. Change the locks once Moved Into a New Home

It’s your home now, but who else had the keys when the previous residents lived there? No one wants even the slightest question about safety lingering over a new home. This makes swapping out locks as soon as you can “one of the most important things homeowners can do when they are settling into a new property,” says Marty Hoffmann, vice president of marketing at Kwikset.

5. Register your car

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A Bond is a safe investment when you compare them with stocks

What is a Bond? | Stacy Rapacon | Aug 18, 2022 | Bond

An investing novice might know just one thing about bonds: They’re boring. Which is precisely why you need them in your portfolio, and should get to know them better.

“Bonds are safe investments when you compare them with stocks,” says Tim Kim, a Certified Financial Planner and analyst with Francis Financial in New York City. “The main role [they play] is to further diversify your investments and act as a safety net for your portfolio when the market isn’t doing too well.”

They can also provide a steady stream of cash payments. But don’t confuse safety with simplicity; bonds can actually be pretty complicated. “They are a different breed [of investment],” says Certified Financial Planner Vid Ponnapalli, founder of Holmdel, N.J.-based Unique Financial Advisors. “Bonds are a little more loaded when compared with stocks.”

So we’ve pulled together a primer of all you need to know about bonds—starting with the most basic question of all.

What is a bond?

Basically, a bond is an IOU, or a loan that you give to the issuer. When you buy bonds, you do so with the expectation of getting paid back—with interest—in a certain amount of time.

They are also securities that can be traded, similarly to stocks, on exchanges or over-the-counter (directly with dealers, such as investment banks).

Who issues bonds?

Companies issue corporate bonds. The U.S. government issues Treasuries. States and municipalities (cities or towns with a local government) issue municipal bonds, adorably nicknamed “munis.”

These three main types of bonds each come with different levels of risk and expected returns, based on the general stability of the issuer. Overall, we think of Uncle Sam as pretty reliable (since he can print his own money), so the risks of Treasuries are minimal—as are the returns. On the other hand, companies can come and there’s a risk they can go, so corporate bonds typically offer greater returns with greater risk. Munis fall in the middle.

How do you buy bonds?

You can buy Treasuries at

For other types of individual bonds, you can make your purchase through a brokerage firm, but understand that you’re buying secondhand. The investment banks that deal bonds get them new, then pass them on to you on what’s called the secondary market.

The difference between how much the dealer pays for the bond and how much you pay is called the “spread.” You typically won’t know what that is because dealers don’t have to disclose it. What you can and should know when buying a bond is its coupon rate (how much interest it pays) and when it matures.

What does it mean when a bond matures?

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Why private equity firms should seek political risk insurance in today’s geopolitical environment

Why private equity firms should seek political risk insurance in today’s geopolitical environment

Liberty Mutual | Published 09/30/2022 | political risk insurance

It’s news to no one that our world is in a state of turbulence, from the political climate to the actual climate. One of the numerous effects of political change is that organizations operating in international emerging markets face potentially significant business risks, from elections and coups to wars and sudden nationalizations.

Global economies are still rebounding from the social unrest and supply-chain issues of the COVID-19 pandemic, a crisis that led investors to consider adding inequality measures (such as the Gini coefficient/index) to country-risk profiles that traditionally relied on political stability measures. More recently, the Russia-Ukraine war has been producing global ripple effects, including reduced agricultural output to regions like Turkey, the Middle East & North Africa, and Bangladesh; a worsening of the continued energy crisis; and sustained and elevated inflation.

In fact, in a recent annual survey of PE and VC practitioners conducted by S&P Global Market Intelligence, 26% of respondents highlighted political upheaval as one of the top five risk factors of most concern.   

There is, however, a solution. Learn more about a well-established but underutilized tool that can help mitigate the risks private equity firms face investing in today’s shifting geopolitical environment: political risk insurance (PRI).

How political risk insurance can reduce the risk of geopolitical turbulence

First, let’s examine some of the specific risks a company funded by a PE firm faces in a volatile political climate. These risks include, but are not limited to:

  • Lost investment without compensation because the government seizes control of company assets. History is rife with examples of newly elected regimes forcibly taking ownership of privately controlled resources.
  • Forced abandonment of projects or equipment because the potential for politically motivated violence escalates to the degree that the business must leave quickly to ensure the safety of its team.
  • Management of breached contracts that occur when a supplier or vendor runs into the above or related problems.

“Foreign direct investment is crucial for developing countries,” says Amy Gross of Liberty Mutual’s Global Private Equity Practice. “For example, many countries where these emerging markets exist have a significant need for clean and sustainable energy sources. This need has driven a number of those initiatives—solar energy, wind projects, etc.—all requiring a capital investment of anywhere from $10 million to $2 billion. However, to attract that kind of capital, investors need to know that their political risk is mitigated.”

Based on the very real risks listed above, it’s no surprise that PE firms have been cautious about expanding their international portfolios. However, avoidance of overseas assets means firms are missing out on substantial business opportunities—investments that could be less risky if more firms leveraged political risk insurance.

Just as traditional insurance is leveraged by PE firms to reduce risk to businesses in a domestic portfolio, political risk insurance helps firms manage the unknown liabilities associated with investing in emerging markets across the globe. A risk management strategy that includes PRI gives private equity companies more dependable access to opportunities in the developing world and more confidence in valuation and pricing when it’s time to exit.

The challenges of PRI for private equity

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