Kiddos seem to gravitate toward pirates and outer space hereos for their dressup costumes. If the costume includes a sword, knife, or other accessory (even a fairy princess requires a wand!), insist on short, soft, and flexible. It's an eye or other body part you'll save.

Consider a flu shot. The CDC recommends one every year. You might save yourself weeks of sniffling and achey joints while you fight off the flu bug the old-fashioned way.

Your yard needs a checkup before the snow season arrives. Aerate the soil to allow nutrients and water to reach the roots. Put out grass seed in bare spots, and next spring, you'll never know they were there.

It's time to think about spring. Bulbs like to winter over, so begin your plan. Choose a well-drained location in a sunny spot. Come spring, your new bulbs will be your first arrivals for the new season.

Over the summer, rot around windows can go unnoticed. Poke the trim with a screwdriver. If it goes through, it's time call in a repairman before winter hits. (Or if you're handy, whip out the caulk and reseal the weak spot.) Your house will be watertight all winter long.