October 31st only comes around once a year, but the Halloween trick-or-treating can be unpredictable depending on which day of the week the 31st actually falls. Schools and churches – and sometimes entire communities – often band together to promote trick-or-treating on a night which won’t interfere with kid’s schedules the next day, but it’s not uncommon these days for trick-or-treating to happen on multiple days in some cities.
Decorate or Not to Decorate?
As a vacation rental homeowner, you should always assume your guests are not looking to spend their stay at your property answering the door and handing out candy. Decorating the exterior of your vacation rental home may not only be unwelcome (and judged “tacky”) by your guests, but it also gives trick-or-treaters the impression that the occupants of the house are participating in the celebration.
For more vacation rental holiday decorating recommended do’s and dont’s, check out our blog “(Vacation Rental) Home for the Holidays”.
Do remind your guests that Halloween is near and that they should be sure the porchlight of your vacation rental is OFF if they don’t wish to be disturbed by costumed candy-seekers. Some vacation rental homeowners go as far as to place a friendly sign near the sidewalk or driveway of the rental property, stating something to the effect of “Sorry, No Treats Here” to prevent any confusion.
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Valley vacation rentals are more popular than ever and with our cooler weather finally, within reach, the upcoming rental season could be the busiest yet. As a successful vacation rental homeowner, you’ve probably realized that many guests are looking for “a local experience” when they book a vacation rental in our beautiful desert.
When searching for places to visit and things to do, guests are bound to be inundated by the “top web hits” and not necesssarily the best, coolest, or even very “local” results. We’re sure your vacation rental guests will appreciate being alerted to the less “commercial” attractions.
For example, if your vacation rental is in the Gilbert area, the Riparian Preserve at Water Ranch is an amazing place for your outdoor-loving guests to explore. The preserve offers nearly 5 miles of hiking and equestrian trails and winding walkways and is open from 530am until 10 pm daily.
Park entrance is free, but the preserve does offer guided tours every 2nd and 4th Saturday of each month, October through April, at a cost of $10 per person. Check out their website here!
Stargazing vacation rental guests, in particular, tend to fall in love with our wide open desert skies and may also be delighted to know about the Gilbert Rotary Centennial Observatory located at the Riparian Preserve. The Observatory is open to the public most Friday and Saturday evenings, from dark until 930pm.
Some sky-watching guests go as far as to plan their travels according to anticipated meteor shower activity (shhhh…I know because I’ve done that – and I know I’m not alone!) Meteor showers for the rest of this year are listed below – let your guests know! The weather should be perfect!
Orionids: October 2-November 7 (peaks the night of October 21st)
Leonids: November 6-November 30 (peaks the night of November 17th)
Geminids December 4-December 17 (peaks the night of December 13th)
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It’s not even officially in the dictionary – yet – but Friendsgiving has become a favorite tradition for many over the past decade or so.
Phoenix has always been one of those places where it seems almost everyone is from someplace else. As a born and raised here in the 60s kid, and a lifelong resident of Phoenix myself, I was used to new acquaintances regarding me as someone of a “jackalope” upon finding out my roots. (If you don’t know, a jackalope is Arizona’s version of a unicorn, a jackrabbit with antelope horns!) It seems everybody had heard about people born here, but nobody had ever actually met one!
With the steady growth Phoenix has experienced over the past several decades, plenty of babies have been born here and being a “native Phoenician” isn’t nearly as rare as it used to be. People continue to relocate to the Phoenix area for jobs and school, many leaving behind the family and friends with whom they would normally spend holidays.
Thanksgiving + Friends = Friendsgiving
Going home for the holidays isn’t always possible due to work, finances and other obstacles – and there are many who just actively avoid family gatherings for whatever reason.
We all have something to be thankful for though, and who doesn’t love a feast with friends? This is where Friendsgiving comes in. Moxie Girl has a few ideas to make hosting your own Friendsgiving easy and fun!
When Are We Doing This?
Well, that depends… Are you ADDING a Friendsgiving celebration to a traditional Thanksgiving week? Or are you having Friendsgiving INSTEAD of Thanksgiving?
If your BFFs all have family nearby, it’s likely you will be invited to join one of them for Thanksgiving. (And you should! It can be fun to meet the ‘crazy relatives’ your friends have told you so much about.) If you and your buddies all have family plans, the Friday or Saturday following Thanksgiving is a better choice to hold your Friendsgiving event.
However, if your gang is comprised mostly of friends who are also ‘on their own’ for the holiday, it might make the most sense to hold your Friendsgiving on Thanksgiving Day.
What’s on the Menu?
One of the great things about in an official holiday is that you are free to make your own rules and create new traditions! Unless you are just DYING to prepare an entire feast ‘solo’ for your group, a potluck buffet is always the answer. You can organize your potluck in varying degrees of detail, but assigning specific dishes for guests to bring will ensure you don’t end up with six bowls of mashed potatoes, but no gravy or some other “oops!” in the menu.
And remember, since it’s your friends and your rules, the menu is your choice as well. Maybe you’d like a traditional turkey dinner? Or maybe you want an all vegan/vegetarian menu… how about Mexican food? Mediterranean food? Totally up to you and your friends!
Some Friendsgiving celebrations are specifically planned for the Friday after Thanksgiving and guests are asked to bring their family Thanksgiving leftovers to share with the group.
Another option is that your friends all agree to ‘chip in’ and purchase a premade meal from a local market or eatery, saving you all in the mess of cooking in exchange for a few bucks.
Speaking of Dishes…And Other Things You May Not Have Enough Of
Living on your own for the first time? Or just simply live alone? You may likely have more friends than you have place-settings or even places to put them! Disposable dishes and utensils may be the answer, and they certainly make for easier cleanup.
A more eco-minded solution is to ask your friends to bring their own place settings. You can even turn it into fun by having a place-setting ‘decorating contest’ for your guests to create their own elegant/wacky/colorful place at the table.
For several years, my family members all agreed to show up with full-sized platters to use as our ‘feast’ plates. Mine was actually an hors-d’oeuvre tray with little compartments so my gravy would not touch my cranberry sauce or my candied sweet potatoes and RUIN EVERYTHING. (Yeah, I’m kinda weird that way.) The giant platters made for some funny photos too.
You may also need some help with seating arrangements for dinner. Folding tables and chairs will do if you don’t have a formal dining table large enough to accommodate your group. Don’t have any? Ask around – anything that can be borrowed for the day is a good thing! And you may find that your guests have at least one folding chair or a set of old-school tray tables they can bring.
Plan for Fun!
This should be easy… What do you and your friends like to do? Thanksgiving day, post-feast, in my family finds us splintering off into smaller groups of football fans, movie watchers, board gamers or card players – even outdoor Slip n’ Slide fun in the backyard. Hey, it’s Phoenix!
So unless your friends are all into the same thing, prepare for a few different, but simple and fun, activities based on what you know about your group.
The weather in Phoenix is usually perfect in late November for enjoying outdoor activities. Perhaps start an annual tradition of a group hike or a bike ride – before or after your meal. If your friends are service-minded, Friendsgiving is the perfect opportunity to volunteer at one of the local agencies serving up a Thanksgiving meal to those less fortunate.
The point is that your new tradition can be whatever you want it to be. As long as it’s fun it’s likely to catch on, too, making your annual Friendsgiving get-together something to look forward to year after year.
So start putting together your plans for Friendsgiving now and check out our Moxie blog regularly for ways to make your holidays – and every day – cleaner, easier and more fun!