This year, Columbus Day will be celebrated on Oct. 13. Use your exterior windows to invite viewers in to "explore" your store by using maps, charts, compasses, spyglasses, sextants and binoculars as props.

For a simple, yet powerful Columbus Day display, feature a darkened window with only the light from a banker's lamp, secured on a table tilted 45 degrees toward the viewer. On the table, show floor plans of the store, or architectural drawings, and post your theme on the back wall, almost hidden in the shadows: "Discover OUR World."

As a promotional tie-in to your displays, have a scavenger hunt. Have greeters hand out various lists at the store's entrance at announced times during the day. The first shoppers who bring in the required items from each list receive a discount on all merchandise purchased on Columbus Day.

Create an oversized "Search and Find" word puzzle in your window with the words "Columbus Day," "Great Values" and the name of your store all circled in red. (Columbus would be pleased!)

For a little Halloween magic in your windows: wrap mannequins from head to toe in inexpensive black fabric and clothe only in accessories or lingerie. Create your own Halloween masks using old lampshades. Spray paint them bright colors, add animated facial features with markers and place them over the heads of your mannequins. Abracadabra!

Editor's note: Every month, noted image researcher and consultant Sallie H. Boggs, Ph.D., suggest ways to improve your store displays.