Owl party decor

Nothing like spooky owls to get your home ready for Halloween

Owlish entry Greet guests with a carved pumpkin owl.

To make one, select a large pumpkin for the body and a smaller one for the head. Use a small saber saw to cut a hole in the top of each pumpkin; clean them out, and save one of the pumpkin tops. Turn the small pumpkin so the hole faces down, and draw eyes and a beak on it with a marker. Using a linoleum cutter, scrape out the eyes without cutting completely through the rind. Use a knife to carve a beak shape, then push beak out slightly without breaking it off. Cut two triangles out of the saved pumpkin top to make ears; attach to the head with wooden skewers.

Turn the larger pumpkin so the hole faces up. Cut U-shaped wavy feather lines on one side of its body. Carve another cavity at the bottom for a battery-operated lantern. Place skewers around the top hole and use them to attach the smaller pumpkin head. Coat a terra-cotta pot with black paint, then insert florists' foam, owl, and curly willow branches.

Tree tabletop. Manzanita branches placed in florists' foam-lined containers look like miniature haunted forests. Adorn them with small owls (available at florists' supply stores) to complete the effect.

Owl goodie bags. Fill small brown-paper bags with candy. Cut a 4-inch circle out of brown construction paper; fold it in half over the top of the bag and secure with double-sided tape. Use paper punches (one large, one small) to cut the eyes and pupils out of colored paper, and glue on. Cut out two triangles for the ears and one triangle for the beak, then attach with glue.

Mantel as roost. The mantel is a natural spot for owls of all sizes to perch among manzanita branches. Here they protect their nests and eggs.