As fall sets in, many families begin thinking about Halloween: the costumes, the decorations, the parties and, of course, the trick-or-treating. Although rubber spiders, plastic bats and other ghoulish creatures are part of the fun of the holiday, real pest invasions can be quite a fright. The National Pest Management Association (NPMA) advises homeowners to take precautions against creepy pests, which may look to take up residence during the cooler months. “Whether they are hiding in boxes of Halloween decorations that have been in storage the past year or looking for an easy way through a crack or crevice, creepy crawly pests can and do easily find their way indoors,” noted Missy Henriksen, vice president of public affairs for the NPMA. “Because real spiders, cockroaches and rodents are surely not the spooky décor most homeowners have in mind, we encourage them to take a few easy steps to prevent infestations.” The NPMA offers the following tips for pest-proofing your home against unwelcome pests this fall: * Check all decorations before bringing them inside for any pests that may have nested over the past year. * Seal all cracks and crevices around the foundation of the home. Mice, often in search of warmth, can fit through holes the size of a dime. * Check for gaps under exterior doors, and install door sweeps to close them. Spiders can fit through openings as thin as a piece of paper. * Trim branches or bushes that touch the home. These wooden pathways can provide direct pest highways right into the house. * Store firewood several feet away from the house. Wood that is next to the foundation of a home offers a welcoming environment for rodents, termites and other pests. * Properly cap chimneys, and keep flus closed when not in use. Certain types of nuisance wildlife see chimneys as a potential home-sweet-home.