Halloween “Boo Bark” Recipe

Boo Bark RecipeA Sweet ‘n Scary Treat

This week fall blew into Austin with temperatures in the 90s falling to the jaw-dropping 40s in mere minutes! With the temperature shifts there’s no doubting Halloween is officially in full gear – our favorite time of the year! There’s no better way to enjoy the sweet days of fall than with a slice of this wickedly tasty Halloween treat!
Boo Bark Recipe

Foodie Tips:

❤ If using white chocolate try incorporating orange candy melts to create your own culinary masterpiece. Here’s a fun video on how you can make your own special chocolate swirls!

❤ The suggested ingredients (below) are super flexible. Use as many or as little as you prefer. Just ensure you have more chocolate than treats to ensure a good Boo Bark bond.

Time To Prepare:

About 2 hours (includes time for the Boo Bark to rest in and out of the fridge).

Boo Bark Ingredients


16-24 Ounces  Chocolate

Assorted Candies To Your Liking Including:
Candy Eye Balls (the eyes make the Boo Bark come to life!)
Candy Corn
M&Ms (you can create your own design here!)
Halloween Themed Sprinkles
Halloween Oreos, Sliced
Snickers Candy Bars, Sliced
Take 5 Candy Bars, Sliced
Boo Bark Recipe

What To Do:

1. Line a 9″ x 13″ baking pan with parchment paper. Make sure to include extra paper on the sides so that the chocolate doesn’t touch the pan.

2. Gather and prepare your ingredients.

3. If using Oreo cookies, scatter a few in the prepared pan.

4. Melt your chocolate. Place your chocolate into a microwave-safe measuring cup or bowl. Microwave in 30-second intervals, stirring often. Be careful not to overcook/burn the chocolate. Once it’s smooth enough to pour it’s ready!

5. Pour the chocolate into the prepared pan, working from the center outward. The Boo Bark edges do not need to be uniform.

6. Top the Boo Bark with your chosen candy decorations. Lightly press any larger pieces to ensure they bond with the chocolate.

7. Place your Boo Bark in the fridge for about an hour to set/harden. Remove from the fridge and let rest for about 30 minutes. Break the bark into bite-sized pieces with a knife and enjoy!

Check out some of the other Halloween-inspired ideas here at the Home Style Austin blog or on our hand-curated Halloween Pinterest Board!

~ Joe Paul ReiderJoe Paul Reider

Home Style Austin Founder
Austin Realtor®
Keller Williams Realty

Email: JoePaul@KW.com
Mobile: 512-222-3302
Web: JoePaulReider.KW.com

DIY : Halloween Scarecrow

How To Make Your Own Scarecrow

A Scary Good Project

Not since we made our life-sized “cocoon man” did we smile wider than this year – we scored high fives from a few neighbors for our scarecrow and making it was actually pretty simple! Let the haunting begin! 🎃


    • The material quantities below are approximations; you’ll want to adjust them to meet the needs of your own project and the size of your halloween cheer. My hallo-cheer is apparently XXL sized!
    • Make sure to secure your scarecrow into the ground – the Austin winds can sometimes be brutal. I just found a neighbor’s tombstone on my front porch this week!
    • To make the head we repurposed a latex halloween mask. We filled it with a few plastic bags to provide the support (plastic is rain-friendly vs. paper and also lets the light shine through). To add just the right amount of “creep factor” we inserted a strand of green battery powered LED lights – they are powered on a built-in timer and are outdoor friendly – perfect for a project like this!
    • We used wing nuts and bolts so at the end of the season we could un-tighten and rotate the arms for easy storage.


2 Pieces  |  1″ x 2″ x 8′ Pressure Treated Wood (about $4 at Lowe’s) 
|  Wing Nut and Bolt Sets (about $2)
1-2 Bunches  |  Corn Stalks (about $38)
50′ Spool  |  19 Gauge Steel Wire (about $3)
To Decorate  |  Cape ($5 at my local Goodwill score. Whoops – store)
1  |  Halloween Mask for the Head (ours was free)
1  |  Small Strand of LED Lights (for the head – about $5 at Big Lots!)
2-4  |  Stones About 4-6″ High (ours were free)
Things To Have Handy  |  A Craft Table, Scissors or Saw, Electric Jigsaw, Mallet (or Hammer)

What To Do:

1. Score your materials.
This seems obvious. But finding corn stalks in Austin can be a little daunting. We found ours at the Red Barn Garden Center. At $17/bunch we later confidently shook our heads in the YES direction when we saw how amazing these turned out – you cannot replicate the authenticity of corn stalks for that perfect halloween feel!

2. Build Your Frame.

We decided to make our scarecrow Texas-sized because large only makes it all the creepier. We used my arms as a rough guide for the arm length for the 1″ x 2″ x 8′ boards and made the scarecrow the full 8 feet tall.

I used my jigsaw to saw a point into the end of the vertical post, which I would later pound into my garden with a mallet. I drilled two holes at the cross-juncture, leaving about a foot for the head, then inserted the wingnuts/bolts and tightened everything to form the middle ‘T‘ of the scarecrow.

How To Make A Scarecrow By Home Style Austin
3. Secure Your Stalks.

Time to cloak your scarecrow frame; I did this to help me measure how long to build the arms. Your craft table will help you assemble everything without being hunched over the ground.

How To Make A Scarecrow By Home Style Austin

Using wire will help keep things in place!

To create the arms and hands, I started with the arms and used 5-7 stalks for each arm; I measured from the hands to the center pole then cut and removed the excess. Wrap the stalks with a piece of wire about 5 inches from both ends then affix to the cross beam. Repeat on the other side to complete the two arms. I inverted a bunch of stalks so the tops formed the feet then trimmed the excess to the desired height. Using the same wire-binding technique secure the stalks to themselves… then to the center pole. Make sure everything is secure so it doesn’t slide down the center pole.

DIY Scarecrow Project By Home Style Austin

Looks pretty scary, huh?

4. Make Your Head
See the crafting tip above to make your head. When the head is to your liking place it on top of the ‘crow body and set your LED timer (I set mine at dusk o’clock).

5. Mount Your ‘Crow.
Choose the location for your scarecrow. Using a mallet or hammer pound the center stake into the ground, making sure to avoid sprinkler lines or known rocky areas. I braced the base of the pole with some leftover limestone rocks from when my house was built and secured the center pole from the top with an additional piece of wire tied to a small screw I set on my house.

Enjoy and please email me with any questions about this project! I’m happy to give you some tips!

~ Joe Paul Reider

Home Style Austin Founder
Austin Realtor®
Keller Williams Realty, Inc.


DIY : Rainbow Butterfly Gift Box

Learn how to make a Rainbow Butterfly Box

Outside The Box …

To celebrate my friends’ tie-dye themed wedding, I crafted this rainbow-butterfly gift box inspired by the Texas Hill Country for under $10 (including the box). It was a snap to put together and made a high-impact presentation that the bride said she really liked. She may have been more impressed that this guy’s got some crafting talent! :)


  • All of the crafting supplies came from my trusted crafting friend, Michael’s. It must have been raining money yesterday because the floral stem was 60% off and while I was standing in line to pay I checked out their website and found a 30% off coupon. #Score!
  • I used a glue gun for this project. In a pinch you could likely make do by using some double stick tape to help fuse the ribbon to the box.
  • The time it took for me to complete this project was about 25 minutes, excluding a couple of rest breaks to chill a bit with my Dogs.

How To Make A Rainbow Butterfly Gift Box

1  |  Box With Removable Lid
A Few Yards  |  Wire Edged Ribbon (I used about 6 yards)
Assorted  |  Faux Floral Stems (I found one assorted cluster, shown above)
To Tie  |  Some Green Garden Wire (optional)


To Cut  |  Scissors
To Adhere  |  A “Loaded” Glue Gun
To Snip Floral Stem  |  Wire Cutters or Scissors (optional)

What To Do:

Step 1: Wrap Bottom Of Box.
I decided to decorate the box separate from the lid so that it would be easy to open and close and so it could be regiftable or kept as a keepsake. To get started, line the ribbon from the inside bottom of the box up over the top edge, down the side, under the bottom and around until it mirrors itself on the other side (like forming a big “U”). You can test-fit the ribbon to make sure you like where it rests on the box; the wire edge ribbon can be folded and smoothed on the edges to give a clean fold and help hold the ribbon in place.

Once you’re happy with the length, cut the ribbon. Line a small bead of glue along the edge of just the end of the ribbon and press the ribbon into place. Turn the box 180 degrees and repeat this process on the other side to create a criss-cross shaped ribbon design.

Step 2: Wrap Lid.

Using the same technique as the box bottom, repeat the process for the box lid. It’ll take a little finessing to align the ribbon from the lid to the bottom but in the end it was easy to do. You can also wiggle the ribbon along the top edges of the box if you’re off a bit, since the edges are not glued to the box. Once you’re happy with how the ribbon is decorated on the box you’re ready to prepare the top decoration.

Step 3: Form Your Flower Stem

I found a faux flower stem with assorted flowers and a butterfly already in a bunch. I wouldn’t need it entirely so I deconstructed it by cutting off some stems to my desired length. [Optional Step: I held the stems together by wrapping them near the base of the clustered stems a few times with the garden wire. You could use a small wire twist tie or just use some ribbon to tie a bow around the bunch to hold it together. I decided to go for durability so I used garden wire.]

With the remaining ribbon I tied a small bow to the base of the bunch. Congrats, this step is complete!

DIY Project : How to make your own rainbow butterfly gift box

Step 4: The Final Step
To adhere the flower bunch to the top of the box I made a couple of pea-sized globs of hot glue using the glue gun and pressed the flower bunch to the glue for a few seconds until it “set.” Your box is all done and ready to be filled with your surprise!


How To Update Your Front Door Wreath

Rather than toss the remaining flower stems I found a way to add some new life to a weathered wreath by tucking in the stems into the existing wreath. This is a great way to transition your wreath from season to season. I wound up using all the materials for this project – no waste!

How To Give New Life To Your Front Door Wreath

Enjoy and please email me with any questions or suggestions about this project!

~ Joe Paul Reider

Home Style Austin Founder
Austin Realtor®
Keller Williams Realty, Inc.

DIY : Creepy Halloween Curtains

How To Make Creepy Halloween Curtains

Scares ‘Em Good

Add a bone-chilling “creep” factor to your Halloween home with these easy-to-make Halloween curtains!

For this project we’ll be transforming pure white gauze into what appears to be time-worn curtains thanks to a few cups of Joe. Coffee-stained curtains will turn your patio, porch or inside “crypt’ from happy to “Oh, wow, that’s scary!” in just a few easy steps.


  • You can purchase your gauze by the yard at your local fabric store – we found ours at Jo-Ann Fabric & Craft. The eye screws and rope we scored at our neighborhood Lowes.
  • To make a single curtain measure the vertical height of the space you are decorating, double it and add a few inches to make sure your curtains will hang to the porch/floor. You don’t have to be precise with this step. Make enough curtains until you have enough for your space.
  • Since you’re not drinking the coffee you don’t have to use the “good stuff” – use a lower-end coffee and save a few bones. You can probably use tea as well, but I’ve always gone the coffee route. A 10 cup pot of coffee will yield about 4-5 curtains, depending on the size of your panels.


Assorted  |  White Gauze Panels
To Stain  |  One Large Bowl
To Stain  |  Coffee (or Tea)
To Hang  |  Eye Screw
To Hang  |  Nylon Rope
To Secure  |  Staples or Paper Clips (optional)

What To Do:

How To Make Creepy Halloween Curtains
1. Make Curtains.

In a large bowl pour several cups of prepared coffee. You can ice it down if you prefer so it’s not so hot as you wring the excess coffee from the curtains. Wearing gloves is a good idea as I had coffee-stained hands for a couple of days after this project! Lower your pure white gauze into the coffee and let it rest a few minutes and give it a good soaking. Using tongs, lift the gauze out of the coffee and gently “wring” some of the excess coffee back into the bowl. Let the curtain rest in your sink until you are all done staining the remaining curtain panels.

How To Make Creepy Halloween Curtains

2. Hang Curtains.

Choose your method for hanging. We chose to use eye screws and placed them every 6-8 feet in our frieze board around our patio. You could also use hooks suspended from a gutter or leverage existing plant hooks if you don’t want to drill new holes into your house. Thread the rope though the eye screws, pull it tight and tie it off well at each end.

Hang the coffee-stained curtains on the rope – about half on each side of the rope. Let your curtains dry an hour or two. The aromatic smell of coffee in the air is my favorite part of this project! I found over the years with the breezy winds of Central Texas that securing the curtains at the top with a few staples or paper clips will help keep them from sliding around on the rope. Using a glue gun you can also use a few dabs of glue here and there to keep the curtain into position.

How To Make Creepy Halloween Curtains
3. Add The Creep Factor

Using your hands tear the bottom end of the curtains to make them look like they have been blowing in the wind for years. You can also tear small holes in the curtains to give them the old look.

4. To Care And Feed
Your curtains should last you for years of Halloweens to come.  You can re-stain them every couple of years to restore the brown coffee stain effect that may be diminished from rainfall.

Have any questions about this project? Email me at JoePaul@KW.com.

Have a spooky and safe Halloween!

Austin Realtor Joe Paul Reider

~ Joe Paul Reider

Home Style Austin Founder
Austin Realtor®
Keller Williams Realty, Inc.