Inspired awfulness: $89 faux hay
Over the last decade, as Halloween has joined Thanksgiving and Christmas in a holiday marketing trifecta, home decor companies have devised ever more-spooky products designed to scare the money out of your cold, bony hands. Some of them, however, are frightfully silly -- especially because they can be easily replicated at a far lower cost.
Take, for instance, Grandin Road's Faux Hay Bales, above. They are made from PVC on a collapsible wire frame for easy storage (although they may not be sturdy enough for all adults to sit on). A 3-foot-long version is 18 inches deep and 14 inches high and costs $69. The 40-inch-long version is 14 inches deep and 16 inches high. That will set you back $89.
By contrast, a 4-by-2-by-2-foot bale of real yellow straw is a mere $7.95 at Stephen's Hay & Grain in Glendale. Although you will have to pick it up or pay a hefty delivery charge, it does make excellent mulch later. (Plus it's not that tasty to critters that may really give you a fright.)
Almost as absurd as faux hay: For $16, Pottery Barn will send you its Chalkboard Rock Vase Fillers, below left, a set of four puny poly-resin rocks and a piece of chalk to write scary messages.
For $6, I bought a can of Rust-oleum Chalk Board paint and sprayed rocks of the same size from my yard. I still have three-quarters of the can left. I used a white charcoal pencil from an art supply store to write on them, but a piece of chalk works just as well.
I'm just saying.
-- David A. Keeps
Photo credits: Grandin Road, Pottery Barn, David A. Keeps