Living with wildlife in Florida

Florida is home to an amazing array of wildlife many of which are protected by Federal or State laws and regulations. From birds and fish to reptiles, Florida has it all. Florida’s wildlife and human populations are encountering each other more often than ever before. As people develop more open space and wildlife habitat is reduced and fragmented, conditions are often created which force wildlife and human interactions. Such contacts between people and wildlife can result in conflicts if you aren’t careful.

Most conflicts with wildlife can be resolved by making simple changes, such as, removing food attractants. Understanding wildlife behavior and their habits can help you appreciate and coexist with wildlife while reducing negative impacts. Here’s what you need to know about living safely in, “Wild Florida”.

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  1. Be Alert
  2. Don’t hand-feed wildlife
  3. Install motion-sensitive outdoor lighting: Keep the house perimeter well-lit at night – especially along walkways – to keep any approaching wildlife visible.
  4. Do not approach an American alligator- The American alligator is Federally protected by the Endangered Species Act as a Threatened species.
  5. Reduce the chances of conflicts with alligators by swimming only in designated swimming areas during daylight hours.
  6. People concerned about an alligator should call the FWC’s toll-free Nuisance Alligator Hotline at 866-FWC-GATOR (392-4286). SNAP uses contracted nuisance alligator trappers throughout the state to remove alligators 4 feet in length or greater that are believed to pose a threat to people, pets or property.
  7. The best way to keep snakes out of a house is to seal cracks and openings around doors, windows, water pipes, attics, and foundations.
  8. To help prevent scavenging from Raccoon, use metal trash cans fastened to a pole or other solid object.

 

The best way to stay safe is by following the practices above. Remember, in some cases, feeding wildlife is illegal in Florida. In fact, if a citizen witnesses someone else feeding raccoons, bears, foxes, alligators or Sandhill cranes, that person can file a report by calling 1-888-404-FWCC. The call is free and a reward is possible for information leading to an arrest.

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How to Choose the Perfect Management Company

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There are many choices when it comes to association management companies.  While finding the right company for your community may seem challenging, we’re here to make it easier. Here are the main aspects you should look at when considering a management company:

How long has the company been in business?

The management of your association can directly impact the property values in your community so it is important to engage a qualified and experienced management company. If a company has been in the business for a while, they will be able to provide more references, quality vendors, and a high level of confidence in their abilities.

What is the average tenure of the Community Association Managers?

Experienced managers that hold professional designations bring a higher level of professionalism to the position.  They have the knowledge, dedication, and commitment to their industry and will be both a benefit to community and a resource to the boards in which they serve.

Does the company participate in education for both employees and board members? 

Reputable management companies invest in and provide education and training for both their employees and the board members in which they serve.  It should be the management company’s priority to provide educated, professional and accurate training, advice and guidance on important issues relating to Association Management to their board members.

What services does the company offer? 

It is important that the management company offers the services needed for your community.  Understand what type of company, their mission and values and make sure you know what services are included prior to signing the contract.

Can you visit their office?

Being able to visit your community association management can be a relief. It provides a higher level of connection and allows you to gather insight about the company and how they are able to meet your community’s needs.  Your management company will effectively be part of your team and getting to know them and the culture of the company can make the difference between a decent experience and a great one.

How do they manage associations similar to yours?

Any management company should be able to provide names of HOA and condo associations they manage as well as specific references you can contact.  These communities should be well-run and similar in size and type as your community. If your community is unique in many ways, find out what they will be able to do specifically for the quirks in your community.

What is their communication style?

Clear communications between the board and the management company is the basis for a productive and successful relationship.  Ask about responsiveness, find out if they have any additional support teams, and how the management company typically communicates with the board to determine if this will meet your expectations. Make sure to get any necessary contact information to make it easy for your residents to know who to call.

Final Thoughts

Finding a good fit for your community can be a rewarding venture. Make sure to go into the meeting expressing the expectations and priorities of the board and any and all requirements you will have.  In your initial meeting, have these main aspects in mind and you will have an easier time determining the capabilities as well as the “personality” of the management company and identify if they would be a good choice for your community.

How to Tell if There are Microscopic Guests in Your Home

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Dust Mites are microscopic, pest like insects that make their homes in household dust. They typically go unseen by the naked eye and pass their time by eating dead skin flakes and dander.

Are Dust Mites in MY Home?

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You may be thinking that dust mites are only common in extremely dirty households but Dust Mites occur naturally and can appear in nearly all homes, especially if you’re in a humid climate. Dust Mites love tropical weather because they absorb moisture in the air instead of drinking water. They thrive in older homes and lower income residences where mold may be present.

How Do Dust Mites Affect My Health?

Environments with excessive dust mites can cause an array of issues for people sensitive to allergies or anyone who has asthma. Dust Mites are known by the American Lung Association to trigger asthma attacks. These allergens can cause an immune system response inducing either milder symptoms, like an occasional runny nose, watery eyes, and sneezing or severe symptoms resulting in coughing, congestion, facial pressure, or a severe asthma attack.

How to Detect & Evict Your Tiny Unwanted Guests

sylvie-tittel-673971-unsplash.jpgDust mites love to live in your bedroom, snuggled in your bedding. They also like persisting deep in the stuffing of sofas, chairs, mattresses, pillows and carpeting. Keep in mind that Dust mites are NOT bed bugs and while unpleasant, are generally not harmful.

Here’s our general plan for keeping Dust Mite populations low:

Cover mattresses and pillows in zippered dust proof covers. These covers are made of a material with pores too small to let dust mites and their waste product through. They are also called allergen-impermeable.

Avoid fabrics that cannot be washed in hot water. Cold water isn’t as effective. Dry cleaning kills all dust mites and is also good for removing dust mites from living in fabrics. If possible, it’s best to avoid wall-to-wall carpeting, curtains, blinds, upholstered furniture, wool and synthetic fibers, down-filled covers and pillows in the bedroom. Switch traditional stuffed animals with washable ones. Consider replacing carpeting to help alleviate allergies in your home.

Use a certified filter with your central furnace and air conditioning unit. This can help trap dust mites from your entire home. Freestanding air cleaners only filter air in a limited area. Avoid devices that treat air with heat, electrostatic ions, or ozone.

Keep the humidity in your home less than 50 percent. This can be done with a dehumidifier and/or air conditioner.

Maintenance

Wash your sheets and blankets weekly in hot water. You have to wash them in water that’s at least 130 degrees Fahrenheit or more to kill dust mites. Non-washable bedding can be frozen overnight.

Have someone without a dust mite allergy clean your bedroom or wear a filtering mask when dusting or vacuuming. Try to stay out of the bedroom for a while after dusting and vacuuming as it stirs up dust. When dusting, use a damp mop or damp cloth to reduce the amount of dust stirred up.

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Vacuuming is not enough to remove all dust mites and their waste but it can help. CERTIFIED vacuums with high efficiency filters are scientifically tested and verified as more suitable for making your home healthier and can keep dust from flying back into the air. Make sure it has a double-layered micro filter bag or a HEPA filter.

Minimize cluttered areas in your home. Stacks of papers, books, and piles of junk – anything can collect dust and if it isn’t being used or cleaned frequently, is likely the perfect dust mite home. Regular de-cluttering will help control the allergens present in your home.

 

Even if you find that you have Dust Mites, it doesn’t mean your home isn’t clean. According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation if America, dust mites live in almost every home in most areas of the world, no matter how clean. The goal should be lower their effects and reducing their numbers rather than trying to completely rid your home of them. Start in the bedroom and work your way out throughout the rest of the home.

Further Reading:

American Lung Association: https://www.lung.org/our-initiatives/healthy-air/indoor/indoor-air-pollutants/dust-mites.html

Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America: https://www.aafa.org/dust-mite-allergy/

Your Stress-Free Holiday Hosting Guide … With an HOA

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Planning a party for the holidays is stressful enough without the added concern of HOA guidelines and policies to add to the mix. Before you throw in the towel, here’s our tips to stress free hosting for the holidays.

Decorations

Does your HOA have guidelines on when you can put up holiday decorations and when you need to have them down by? Are there policies on lawn ornaments, inflatables, or lights? As a community member, keeping safety in mind and decorating to the enjoyment of all residents is part of the responsibility. Knowing these regulations will also prevent any Holiday mishaps from happening and prevent violations from the HOA.

For more HOA friendly tips, check out our article on Holiday decorating here.

Parking

When guests start arriving, cars will start adding up in front of your house. Is street parking an option in your community or is there a designated visitor lot for non-residents? Talk to your neighbors ahead of time so traffic doesn’t come as a surprise. Some communities make special exceptions for Holiday parking, make sure to ask your main office about any details.

Noise

Keep in mind that most communities have a noise ordinance one made by the HOA and another by the city. Nothing disrupts a party like someone knocking on your door with a noise complaint but luckily most HOA’s have a guideline on what types of noise and – how much – is acceptable.

Location

Does your community have a Clubhouse that would fit your guests more appropriately? It may be easier to coordinate, provide more room for guests and parking, and a buffer for noise between your party and your community. Each community will have their own set of Clubhouse policies so make sure you take a look at those in advance and keep an eye on how long you have the room booked for. Always book for a little longer than expected for adequate clean up time.

Pool & Outdoor Amenities

Not all Holiday parties have to be Winter Wonderland themed. If you’re planning on a tropical theme and it includes pool access, coordinate with your main office to let them know how many guests will be attending to make sure there won’t be any code violations. Each community has their own pool area max capacity and food and drink policies so make sure you’re well aware of those before planning. It’s always good to give your community a head’s up on any parties to ensure everything goes more smoothly.

Keep the Community Aware

Whatever party you are planning to have, regardless of theme, keep your community board in the know. This can make it easier for you to plan and can even help you organize your resources better. They may have specified parking areas you weren’t aware of or ways to reserve certain amenities to guarantee they will be available for your party.

Decorating with Flair… While Keeping it Fair

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Decorating is one of the most fun aspects of the holidays. It’s the time of the year when your lawn goes from the same everyday style to a winter wonderland. If you’re in a community with an HOA or are looking to keep everyone in your neighborhood happy, this one’s for you.

Keep it Tasteful

It’s very easy to get carried away with holiday decorations, Christmas and Halloween especially. Keep in mind, that while it’s on your own lawn, everyone in the neighborhood will be subjected to anything you place on display. If your Holiday lights create too much light pollution, you may need to keep them off during respectable hours so as to not wake any of your neighbors up. Lights that blink or are too bright can be subject to local ordinances as well. These rules vary by city or county and violations could result in ticketing and fining.

As tempting as going extreme Holiday decorating is, it’s not worth giving yourself a record.

Talk With Your Neighbors

If you’re new to the area or want to start decorating this year, try asking a community member about decorating policies for your community. Talking with the people who live around you creates a sense of Holiday cheer and helps you stay in good graces with people you could be living next to for a while. It’s not always possible to please everyone but stick with a good balance of your own tastes with your communities.

Community Policies

Does your community have an HOA? Does that HOA prohibit year round decorations, lights, or signage? Some communities are more lenient for the Holidays and are worth the quick chat with your association members to find out. Keep in mind that these rules and regulations are contractually enforceable in your neighborhood.

Keeping the Peace

There are a multitude of ways to celebrate this Holiday season. It may be Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or maybe nothing at all. Many neighborhoods are multi-cultural, and part of being a good neighbor is to respect everyone’s right to celebrate how they choose.

This is the time of year to think about each other.

If you have a theme for your front yard, be polite and kind about your presentation and do your part to keep peace in your neighborhood for the Holiday season.

Bottom Line

The best way to keep your Holiday Decorating stress-free is to research, talk with your neighbors and community members, and to be thoughtful in your planning.

 

Why You Need An Association Management Company

 

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It can be overwhelming to manage community associations. There’s a lot that goes in to making sure a community is at its best and finding an experienced management company can be very beneficial to helping a community succeed and save time, stress, and money.

Essential Facts About Association Management Companies

Association Management Company (n.) is a third party company that saves you a lot of headache by managing the day to day operations for a community’s governance and policies otherwise known as an HOA as well as offer services to make your life easier.

Association Management Companies are not the HOA.

Residents may decide to share responsibilities for maintaining their community and agree on certain rules and proposals. The Homeowners Association is born and the board members are made up of residents within that community to create a budget, handle proposals, and assist with maintenance of common areas, etc. The residents pay dues to the HOA or Community based on a proposed budget.

Association Management Companies are outside of the actual HOA and are responsible for administering and enforcing the community’s policies and guidelines. They also communicate with the board, analyze financials, handle the day to day functions, and perform maintenance of common areas.

They Care.

The overall goal of Association Management Companies is to enhance a community and the homes within it. This is done by paying close attention to the physical aspects, like landscaping and amenities, and by listening to resident needs. Staying up to date on the latest technology offers the best to their clients and the residents within the community.

Association Management Companies Come With A Skilled Team

They have Accountants, Trained Customer Support, Web Designers, IT Specialists and more, devoted to supporting Community Association Managers and their communities. The team keeps up with the education, certifications and accreditations to provide the best service to each community they work with. Some of the ones to look for are:

  • Professional Community Managers (PCAM)
  • Certified Community Manager of Associations (CMCA)
  • Accredited Association Management Companies (AAMC)
  • Association Management Specialists (AMS)

Some Aspects Association Management Companies Take Care Of:

  • Perform regular inspections of the common areas and facilities for condition and maintenance needs.
  • Prepare monthly management reports summarizing significant events and actions.
  • Work with and monitor performance of maintenance workers and confirm they are properly insured.
  • Perform regular inspections of the physical appearance and condition member properties to assess compliance with policies, restrictions, and by-laws.
  • Follow up on complaints of violations or maintenance issues received for the community.
  • Issue violation notices and work to resolve a violation in accordance with guidelines and policies.
  • Provide assistance in obtaining property and liability insurance and in reporting and filing of insurance claims on behalf of the association.

Hiring an Association Management Company Will Give You:

Stress Free Management

Having someone dedicated to answering resident needs, address their concerns, assist with time consuming repairs and appliance replacements takes the stress off resident’s shoulders.

Fewer Legal Issues

Experience and knowledge add a lot to the table when it comes to keeping everything up to code and knowing how to properly plan and budget for maintenance, repairs and disasters to keep your property or community safe and hopefully out of the courtroom.

Great Service for Clients

Community Association Managers are good with people and generally want the best for their clients and the community’s association. This can mean helping you figure out the community taxes or advising you on how to handle certain situations. Experienced management teams will already have a large list of vendors they have good relationships with and make finding a handyman or electrician easy and reliable to hire.

 

Final Thoughts

Investing in association management is a great move and you don’t have maintain your community alone. Scenarios can change from situation to situation and choosing the right management group means everything. Why not contact Leland Management and have a conversation about your community needs?

 

 

 

 

4 Tips for Fall Lawn Care

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There are plenty of ways to care for your lawn this fall. Consider these tips when choosing to take care of your lawn this fall season.

Ditch the Bag

While mowing your lawn this fall season, consider taking the bag off of the mower in order to allow grass clippings to fall back into the soil. Doing so is an easy way to add free mulch to your lawn, as well as provide it with essential nutrients.

Prevent Compaction

Aerating your lawn in the fall is a great way to make sure that your soil doesn’t become too compact, making it hard for grassroots to grow deeply. Rent an aerator from a local garden center in order to add areas of your lawn where sunlight, water, and energy can get down deep into the soil. Aerate your lawn every year for the most impact while not damaging the lawn as well.

Add Some Seed

Overseeding areas of your lawn that have become thin or bare after a busy summer season can help the environment in many ways. Adding seed to these areas will help to decrease the chance of weeds growing in your yard and becoming a drain on local vegetation.

Fertilize Organically

If you want your lawn to look better and be healthier, fertilize in the fall. This process will give your lawn plenty of nutrients to get it through the winter and help the grass grow stronger in spring. As a result, autumn is the single most important time of year to fertilize. If you decide to aerate in the fall, you should fertilize soon afterward in order to ensure that the nutrients will reach the soil.

All of these autumn lawn care steps must be performed like clockwork. If you seed and fertilize too close to winter, the soil won’t be able to take in nutrients. Aerate while it’s still hot out, and the process will not be nearly as effective. If you struggle to find time to work on your lawn this fall—or if you’d like to put your yard in expert hands—our lawn aeration service can get your lawn in the best shape of its life when spring arrives again.

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Tips for Recruiting BOD Members

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A well-rounded board of directors can offer vision and direction to an organization as well as provide essential skills. One of the best ways to enhance your community and make it the best that it can be is to volunteer as a member of the HOA board. Volunteering is a great way to share your talents and to give back to your community.  For HOA boards, member involvement is crucial to providing responsible and successful HOA management.  At times, filling positions on the board can be a challenge because homeowners have a lot of demands on their time, but having a stable and energetic board is one of the most crucial parts of a successful association.  Here are a few tips on how to recruit potential HOA board members in a positive and encouraging way:

Appeal to the Specific Talents of the Individuals in the Community

Sometimes homeowners feel like they wouldn’t benefit the community because they believe they do not have strengths or talents. However, a board does not simply only need someone who is good at accounting, it needs people with all manner of skills. Find people who like technology, gardening, party planning, or even construction and appeal to their specific skill.

Encourage Those Who Complain to Serve

If a community member frequently complains to board members about board decisions or community issues, they may just make a good board member.  The fact is that if a particular community member knows enough to complain, then they are paying attention to the board and its actions. If you find that they particularly often politely complaining, try to see if you can encourage them to get involved so that they can have an active hand in improving the community.

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Educate & Advocate

Homeowners may be more likely to volunteer for the board if they understand what’s expected of them once they’re a member. This can easily be done in 3 steps.

  1.  Create a board job description –  This document let’s potential board members know what is expected of them and reminds existing board members of their requirements.
  2. Develop an orientation process – Even an hour or two of education for a new board member and by-laws can make the difference between an aware board or an uninformed board. Take the time to make new board members comfortable with the organization, introduce them to key staff and lead volunteers, and refer them to where they can access more information if they need it. Encourage the members to participate in a Board Member Class, Leland Management offers free educational training for board members. This will make them feel included and proud that they will know what is expected and how to partake in their role.
  3. Outline policies on board involvement –  Boards are meant to “guide”  and bring resources and talents to aid the cause, not to micro-manage the community.

Keep board operations transparent

If homeowners feel alienated from the board and its dealings, they’ll be less inclined to participate in any manner. Encourage homeowners to attend monthly meetings, send out newsletters highlighting meeting minutes, keep fresh content on your community’s website to allow everyone to be able to see the calendar to know when the next meeting is at so they aren’t guessing.

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HOA boards do important community business that requires knowledgeable and involved members. Recruiting takes time and effort. Investing time in learning more about the expertise of your members, identifying those you want to encourage, and deciding your method of approach are vital to assembling a great board. Boards do not have to go it alone: association management services (Leland Management), tools, education, and guidance are available. A strong board can lead to a strong community, so taking the time to find real gems in your community will go far. Start improving your recruiting methods today by implementing the ideas listed above today.

Customer Service Importance & Tips

IMG_5074Excellent customer service is vital when it comes to operating a successful association management company. Why? Because our customers are ultimately the people who are keeping the business going, if they are not content then business will suffer. Customers are natural word-of-mouth marketers.

Supporting customers goes beyond having an email or phone number with people on the other end to respond. It is a mentality of how we want customers to experience our customer-centric product and services. We always want to ensure that we are guiding our customers every step of the way. Therefore, we want to make sure that all our interactions are always polite and cordial.

Creating an amazing customer experience is imperative to fostering an excellent reputation.  Here are some steps that can help increase customer satisfaction.

Be Clear with Rules

If there is something you want your residents to know, be sure to lay it out for them. Have a handbook available for everyone to access so they can reference it at all times. We do a great job of that here at Leland Management being able to provide all needed documents to the customers through what we call a resident portal. If you are straightforward from the beginning, there will be less chance for confusion, and less confusion means happier customers.

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Ensure Effective Communication with your Customer

It’s important your customers feel that if they need you, you are easy to reach and communicate with. Always respond to any outreach in a reasonable amount of time (preferably as soon as possible), no matter how big or small the concern. The response time should be within a few hours on a normal basis and if you know that it is taking longer to respond, you should make sure your customers are aware. Show your customers that you keep them in mind by letting them know when you’ll be out of town. Often customers need contact information for how to reach you in case of an emergency. At Leland, we ensure that we can be reached in normal business hours as well as have an emergency 24/7 hotline. We answer on average 5000+ calls per month and about 2500 emails and voicemails reach our resident support line.

Spend Time Building Relationships.

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Treat all of your customers as you would like to be treated.  Having a congenial business relationship with every customer is an integral part of successful association management. Be firm and fair, and don’t compromise on your responsibilities for the sake of avoiding unpleasantness. If you’re attentive, responsible and congenial in your customer relations, you’re set to build lasting relationships that will be valuable. Leland Management has been in business for over 20 years; building of relationships with all of our communities, treating all residents equally and fairly.

When it comes down to it, the best way to keep your customer satisfied is by maintaining a sense of order and organization. At Leland, we strive always offer the highest quality customer service to all of the board members and residents we serve.  We are continuously reviewing our standard and training so that we are able to develop our customer service program to be the best in the industry.
Continue reading “Customer Service Importance & Tips”

Community Halloween Decorating Ideas

When we think of Halloween, a few things come to mind, and one of those is the traditional haunted house! Hosting your own frightening funhouse may be a lot to under-take, but making it a block party or community event lends to plenty of helping hands, and Halloween fun!

Haunted houses have no rules so you can have free range to be as elaborate or modest as you like! Hosting one in a garage is a great idea; using inexpensive black drape and faux cobwebs to cover the walls, and playing eerie music can make a huge impact! Getting the whole neighborhood involved can make this a freakishly fun activity that can become an annual celebration to look forward to.

There are many ways to decorate for the Halloween season that can be very easy and won’t haunt your wallet.

Start by decorating your front door with a fun yet spooky mummy. It is super easy and cheap to make all you have to do is take white streamers and wrap them all the way around the door. Cut out big eyeballs from construction paper and voila we have a mummified door.

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This Halloween decoration may not cost you a dime! We all have empty milk jugs hanging around waiting to be thrown out, so why not use the milk jugs to spook up the outside of the house. Turn your milk just into Casper the friendly ghost! Draw faces on empty, clean gallon milk jugs and fill them with a ghostly glow lights.

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You will get a kick out of this, literally! Spice up your porch or living room with a pair of witch legs. All you need is a pool noodle and shoes, you put them in a flower pot or stick them in your bushes and BOOM you have pool noodle witch legs.

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Fill your trees or front porch with free-flying ghosts. Made inexpensively from balloons,  gauze fabric, and black tape these little Caspers catch the wind to add movement to your outdoor decor.

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Another way to get the whole community involved in the Halloween fun is a holding a classic pumpkin carving contest.  Have everyone in the community grab their pumpkins, and give them a few hours to create their Halloween masterpiece. In the end, select a panel of judges to pick the winners based on the criteria of your choosing.  Then, display the pumpkins for all of the night’s trick-or-treaters to see!

We LOVE candy and sweets on Halloween so what better way to round up the spirit than to have a community spooky bake sale. Come up with your best treats and set up a stand in your neighborhood.

Lets have a spooky Halloween together!