32 Awesome Halloween Decorations and Props You Can Get at Target

damedeeso/iStock via Getty Images
damedeeso/iStock via Getty Images

It’s never too soon to start preparing for the best holiday of the year—which is Halloween, of course. And whether you’re planning a Halloween party or a haunted house, we have good news for you: Target’s Hyde & EEK! Boutique has created a number of incredible decorations and props that will help take your shindig to the next level. Here are a few of our favorites.

1. Light-up Pumpkin

A light-up pumpkin lamp from Target.
Target

Let's start with the classic symbol of Halloween. If you love the carved pumpkin look but don’t want to deal with the mess of actually carving a pumpkin, consider this 5-inch-tall prop, which lights up. At just $5, it's wallet-friendly. There’s also a version with pointy teeth, and a 9-inch version in teal.

2. Animated Light-Up Pumpkin Decorative Halloween Prop

For a more interactive version, check out this pumpkin, which—in addition to lighting up—emits spooky noises when motion activated.

3. LED Skull Plasma Ball

An image of a clear skull with tubes coming out of it.
Target

This steampunk-esque skull is perfect for the mad scientist space in your haunted house. Those brave enough to touch it will see a plasma filament reach up to meet their finger.

4. Crashing Witch

A cloth figure of a witch wearing green and black striped tights that looks like it's crashing into a wall.
Target

This quirky witch adds a little levity to your Halloween decor. The 9-inch-tall figure can lay flat against a door or wrap around a column either indoors or out.

5. Life-sizeD Skeleton

A poseable skeleton standing in front of a white background.
Target

This 5-foot-tall skeleton is both poseable, and, at $40, affordable. If you want to spend $5 more, you can get a life-size skeleton that also lights up with a green glow.

6. Werewolf Skeleton

A werewolf skeleton posed as though it's attacking in front of a white background.
Target

Human skeleton just too boring? Try this werewolf skeleton, which is just over 5 feet tall.

7. Victorian Style Telephone

This phone looks old-fashioned, but motion will cause it to ring—and when you pick up, a voice states, “I know who you are!” followed by a creepy laugh.

8. Eyeball Wreath

A wreath made of fake eyeballs
Target

Trick or treaters will know your house has the best candy when they see this eyeball wreath, which uses orange LEDs to create a creepy glow.

9. Opera Singer Tombstone

If you want your Halloween decor to belt out a few tunes from the beyond, there’s this animated opera singer tombstone prop, appropriately named Ophelia Payne. This unique decoration uses motion sensors to know when to sing a ghoulish tune for unsuspecting trick-or-treaters.

10. Pumpkin Halloween String Lights

20ct LED Pumpkin Halloween String Lights
Target

Sometimes you just want to go back to basics, and these pumpkin string lights are as simple, yet effective, as they come. Each set comes with 20 toothy jack-o’-lantern lights, perfect for adding classic Halloween ambiance to both indoor and outdoor displays.

11. Tree Decoration

Tree Face & Arms Halloween Decoration
Target

Make sure to leave no area of your property undecorated with this face and arms kit that turns any tree on your property into a spooky Halloween display.

12. Punny Tombstones

36" Ben A. Live Foam Tombstone
Target

Add some laughs to your Halloween display with a foam tombstone prop crafted in the memory of a poor departed soul named Ben A. Live. At 36 inches tall, this punny piece of spooky decor also sports a grinning jack-o’-lantern at the top to cap off the lighthearted decoration. If you want more than one punny tombstone, grab this one for Imma Gardner. You can round out your display with this set of cemetery props, which contains 18 pieces.

13. Serving Tray

"Happy Halloween" Wood Serving Tray
Target

You can’t serve snacks at your party without a seasonal tray, right? And this one is as classic as it gets, with a trio of jack-o’-lanterns ready to add the requisite scenery to your Halloween shindig.

14. Eyeball Halloween Candy Bowl

Animated Light-Up Eyeball Halloween Candy Bowl
Target

If you’re looking to keep a far more literal eye on your candy hoard this Halloween, this bowl has got your back. Whenever anyone reaches in and tries to snatch up that candy bar you’ve been saving for yourself, a motion-detecting eye will open up and growl “I’m watching you!” at the unsuspecting thief.

15. Trick-or-Treat Painted Halloween Pumpkin Bundle

3pk Trick-or-Treat Painted Halloween Pumpkin Bundle Black/Orange/Cream
Target

This three-pack of foam pumpkins come decorated for you in various sizes and colors—just set them out to add more life to your Halloween-themed festivities.

16. Talking Skull

Animated Taking Skull in Cloche Halloween Décor
Target

Don’t be all doom and gloom this Halloween. This talking skull will start telling jokes when it senses movement—and because it’s battery-operated, it can be placed wherever you think it’ll entertain the most guests.

17. Inflatable Dragon

6' LED Blue Dragon Inflatable Halloween Decoration
Target

This huge, 6-foot-tall inflatable dragon is perfect for any Halloween-themed Game of Thrones display. It's equipped with LEDs, so it's just as effective at night as it is during the day. (There's also a dragon skull that looks like it came straight from the cellar of the Red Keep.)

More into dinosaurs than dragons? Try this 9-foot-tall costumed T. Rex.

18. Zombie

Animated Zombie Groundbreaker with LED Eyes Decorative Halloween Prop
Target

This motion-activated zombie plays creepy music, groans, and turns its head when someone walks by, its single flashing eye constantly on the lookout for BRAINS.

19. Monster Boombox

Animated Monster Boombox Halloween Décor
Target

With a fiendish face and catchy song, this monster boombox is just the type of decoration your Halloween party needs to make it truly unique.

20. Rotating Skull Projector

Animated LED Rotating Skull Halloween Projector
Target

Disco balls are so over. For Halloween, try this LED-equipped disco skull.

21. Skull and Crossbone

ight-Up Skeleton Crossbone Halloween Wall Decor
Target

Spooky decor doesn’t get much more classic than the skull and crossbone, and with this light-up version affixed to your wall, you can bring a timeless charm to any Halloween theme you’ve got your eye on.

22. Reaper Skeleton

5' Animated LED Reaper Skeleton Ghoul White with Chains Decorative Halloween Prop
Target

This skeleton reaper gives the perfect Halloween greeting to trick-or-treaters as it lets loose a horrifying wail and rattles its chains.

23. Giant Spider

Giant Spider Decorative Halloween Prop
Target

Hang this creepy, hairy monstrosity from the ceiling to give everyone a fright. Suitable for display both indoors and outdoors.

24. Alarm Clock

Animated Monster Alarm Clock Halloween Décor
Target

Creatures of the night will agree: There's nothing scarier than getting up in the morning. This novelty alarm clock pops open to reveal a monstrous face within. It’s more cartoony than frightening, and perfect for anyone looking to throw a fun Halloween bash for all ages.

25. Animated Succulent

Blood Succulent Artificial Halloween Plant
Target

Add some potted terror to your Halloween with these “Blood Succulents” that will be right in line with the season as your dining room table centerpiece or displayed on a windowsill.

26. Fishbowl

Animated Fishbowl Halloween Décor
Target

Just set this battery-powered skeleton fishbowl on a table to add a fun layer of character to your Halloween decorations. The two fish will swim along, among the flowers, tombstone, and skull in the bowl. And because the display uses batteries, you can move it wherever you want.

27. Crow’s Feet Serving Glass

Crow Feet Glass Halloween Serving Bowl Black Tall
Target

Containing both the bowl and the creepy crow’s feet holder, this display is a suitably fiendish way to serve candy this year.

28. LED Computer

Animated LED Computer with Skull Decorative Halloween Prop
Target

Your guests will think you haven't updated your computer in ages when they see this prop, which is straight out of the '80s. Motion triggers it to fire up and reveal a talking skull, which warns your visitors about mice.

29. Dug Up Coffin

Animated Dug Up Coffin Decorative Halloween Prop
Target

Inside this 2-foot-tall coffin—which appears to be broken—is a skeleton that wakes up and glows green when people walk by. But he's more silly than spooky: He complains that they "don't make coffins like they used to" but is excited to "have a window now!"

30. Cat and Pumpkin Lantern

Cat/Pumpkin Silhouette Metal Lantern Halloween Decoration
Target

Keep your seasonal decor cute with this lantern, which has cat and pumpkin cut-outs against an orange insert. It's battery-operated, so you don't have to worry about a fire hazard.

31. Animated Black Cat Statue

Animated Black Cat Statue Decorative Halloween Prop
Target

This motion-activated kitty statue meows, yowls, and hisses just like the real thing.

32. Apothecary Jar

Transformation Potion Apothecary Jar Halloween Décor
Target

Place the Transformation Potion Apothecary Jar on your bar cart for a subtly spooky touch.

What's the Difference Between Stuffing and Dressing?

iStock
iStock

For carbohydrate lovers, nothing completes a Thanksgiving meal quite like stuffing—shovelfuls of bread, celery, mushrooms, and other ingredients that complement all of that turkey protein.

Some people don’t say stuffing, though. They say dressing. In these calamitous times, knowing how to properly refer to the giant glob of insulin-spiking bread seems necessary. So what's the difference?

Let’s dismiss one theory off the bat: Dressing and stuffing do not correlate with how the side dish is prepared. A turkey can be stuffed with dressing, and stuffing can be served in a casserole dish. Whether it’s ever seen the inside of a bird is irrelevant, and anyone who tells you otherwise is wrong and should be met with suspicion, if not outright derision.

The terms are actually separated due to regional dialects. Dressing seems to be the favored descriptor for southern states like Mississippi, Tennessee, South Carolina, and Georgia, while stuffing is preferred by Maine, New York, and other northern areas. (Some parts of Pennsylvania call it filling, which is a bit too on the nose, but to each their own.)

If stuffing stemmed from the common practice of filling a turkey with carbs, why the division? According to HuffPost, it may have been because Southerners considered the word stuffing impolite, and therefore never embraced it.

While you should experience no material difference in asking for stuffing or dressing, when visiting relatives it might be helpful to keep to their regionally-preferred word to avoid confusion. Enjoy stuffing yourselves.

Have you got a Big Question you'd like us to answer? If so, let us know by emailing us at bigquestions@mentalfloss.com.

The Reason You Should Never Rinse a Turkey

jax10289/iStock via Getty Images
jax10289/iStock via Getty Images

There are many misconceptions surrounding your Thanksgiving turkey, but none is more dangerous than the turkey-washing myth. Raw poultry can contain dangerous microbes like Salmonella, and it's not uncommon for home cooks to rinse their meat under cool water in an effort to wash away these pathogens. The intention may be admirable, but this is a worse turkey sin than overcooking your bird or carving it before letting it rest. According to AOL, rinsing a raw turkey with water is more likely to make you and your dinner guests sick than not cleaning it at all.

When you wash a turkey in the sink, there's no guarantee that all of the nasty stuff on the outside of it is going down the drain. In fact, the only thing rinsing does is spread potentially harmful microbes around. In addition to getting bacteria on you hands and clothes, rinsing can contaminate countertops, sink handles, and even the surrounding air.

There are three main ways to lower your chances of contracting Salmonella when dealing with raw turkey: Thaw your bird in the fridge, minimize contact with it before it goes into the oven, and give it plenty of time to cook once it's in there. For the second part, that means setting aside time to pat your turkey dry, remove the excess fat and skin, and season it without handling anything else. To reduce the risk of cross-contamination, wash your hands frequently and wash the plates, knives, and other tools that touched the turkey before using them again. You should also cook your stuffing outside the turkey rather than shoving it inside the cavity and creating a Salmonella bomb.

Once the safety aspect is taken care of, you can focus on making your turkey taste as delicious as possible. Here are some tips from professional chefs on making your starring dish shine this Thanksgiving.

[h/t AOL]

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