In North Texas, the promise of a crisp, new season of sweater weather and cool evenings spent lingering by a fire is a slow burn. Trick-or-treaters are just as likely to arrive on your porch Oct. 31 sweating in flimsy, short-sleeved costumes as bundled in flannel and fur.
And let’s face it, our trees seldom drop more than a smattering of leaves before mid-November. While a wreath decked out in acorns and multihued leaves helps set an inviting mood, seasonal outdoor decorations and garden art roll out the welcome mat even further. Here are a few ideas for bringing autumn to your doorstep.
A carved jack-o’-lantern welcomes trick-or-treaters on Halloween, but decorative metal pumpkins make it easy to sprinkle playful pops of autumnal art throughout flower beds and porch planters, and the styles created by The Round Top Collection ( http://shop.thertc.com) are particularly effective at heralding the harvest season.
Jabo’s Ace Hardware in Keller carries one of the widest assortments we’ve seen of Round Top’s clever yard art, including fun finds like Trendy Pumpkins, variously sized and featuring patterns like plaid, argyle, checks, polka dots and chevron, plus several sizes of a new tall style that is ridged and oblong. Average pumpkin prices are $12-$24. 817-482-1000; www.jabosace.com. (You can find Round Top metal pumpkins at stores like Domain XCIV and Calloway’s, too.)
Creatures of the fall
Dressed brightly and poised on her fancy broomstick, Grandin Road’s new Coraline witch figure is a quirky, spirited character that carries a bit of Halloween magic straight into the Thanksgiving season without stopping to wiggle her nose. There’s a Seussian quality to her hand-painted features and fun-loving expression, and she is made of durable resin ($299).
More formal, yet equally playful, is the company’s limited-edition Mark Roberts Thanksgiving fairy, which captures attention with spiffy velvet togs, poseable limbs and a hand-painted resin face and hands; $49 (plus $19 for a stand).
Neither character is made to endure harsh elements, but parked on a porch table under a protective overhang, they easily bid welcome to trick-or-treaters and partygoers alike. 513-645-4444; www.grandinroad.com.
He won’t scare away any pesky critters making inroads on your vegetable garden, but a decorative Autumn Garden metal owl statuary, found at Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores, will inspire smiles from visitors with its large brown eyes, curly lashes, hooked beak and textured gray body. A garland of colorful corncobs and glittery maple leaves enhances the playful design; $23.99. It’s available online when shelf supplies run short. www.joann.com.
All in the extras
When extra color is needed, a garland can be strewn over an entry door, wrapped around a planted urn or integrated into a slightly tiered door adornment, and Pier 1 offers a variety of distinctive hurrah-for-fall looks. Favorite styles include gold and orange beaded, pinecone and faux berries, and faux mixed leaves; prices are $24.95-$39.95. www.pier1.com.
Burlap and buddies
Kirkland’s inexpensive burlap sunflower stems lend a fun, rustic feel to front-porch topiaries and potted plants, and can be added to wreaths and garlands, as well as any number of DIY fall arrangements. With blooms and leaves made of burlap, these quaintly durable sunflowers are 2 feet tall and come in red, orange and tan; $4.99.
Equally versatile (and more at risk of being touched and hugged by cheerful visitors) are the store’s similar-size Harvest Buddies Shelf Sitters, which might perch precariously in the curve of a wreath or easily accessorize porch seating and side tables; $9.99. Kirkland’s pumpkin berry lantern, an easy addition anywhere, speaks of fall evenings spent lingering outdoors with loved ones; $12.99. www.kirklands.com.