Whether it’s a row of twinkling pumpkins you have in mind or an entire winter holiday wonderland you’re planning, now is the time to start thinking about how you’re going to lay out your lights. If you wait until the weather is cold or snow is on the ground, the job will become much more complicated and dangerous.
Start by laying out a plan. For lights strung around a house, for example, you’ll want to measure the length you want to string up, including distances to outlets. Decide how you will bring electricity to your lighting system. Ideally a 240 volt electrical outlet (used in appliances) should be used; however, a 120 volt system may work if your lights are newer and more energy-efficient. Like your computer, a multi-outlet surge protector could be used if you have many different strings of lights in your plan.
Check to see if you have enough lights. If not, make up the difference with a trip to the store. While you’re at the store, pick up some metal hooks with screws on the end. Plan for a screw every 6-8 feet. If you screw the hooks in well enough, it’s a task you won’t have to repeat every year.
Begin at the end furthest from the outlet. First, screw the hooks in so they stick out horizontally and the hook faces up. Then, take the two or three wires that make up the string and divide them with your fingers so the hook can slip through divided part. Continue all along the outside trim of the house. If you’re putting trim around a window frame, encase the string in a U-shaped nail, lightly nailed into the frame. When you’ve connected the strings and reached the outlet, plug the string into the outlet and watch everything twinkle. Keep spare bulbs nearby in case one goes out.
After the holiday, carefully remove the strings and wrap them so they don’t tangle. Leave any hooks you’ve placed for next year.