Halloween Decorating Tips for Your Home

By: Julie Day

House with lots of Halloween decorations
We have a neighbor who’s really into Halloween decorating – so much so that each year, not only do they outdo themselves, but the other neighbors start to compete with decorations of their own. By the time Halloween rolls around, some of the younger neighborhood kids won’t even walk down that block!

Whether you’re into natural cornstalks and scarecrows, kid-friendly smiling goblins, or ghoulish zombies, Halloween offers an opportunity to pull out all the decorating stops! It’s really hard to overdo Halloween – one could argue that the more decorations you have, the more protection from evil spirits or tricksters – on All Hallows Eve.
Halloween tombstone decoration next to walk
And even if you think they’re ugly, they’ll soon be replaced by (hopefully more tasteful) Christmas decorations anyway. Besides, when else can you indulge your most fantastical, darkly tacky side?

Halloween House Decorating Theme Ideas

Here are some tips for turning your house into the spookiest haunt in the neighborhood.

Abandoned House

To turn your home in a creepy, deserted house:

  • Festoon windows with spiders and cobwebs.
  • Add a few broken-glass stickers to windows for a creepy abandoned haunted house.
  • Spiders and cockroaches home decorations

  • Darken the porch lights with black lights or yellow bulbs.
  • Hang the porch swing crookedly.
  • Prop some scraps of wood across a couple of windows for a boarded-up effect.
  • If the first frost has already killed off your summer flowers, gather some dead stems for spooky arrangements.
  • For a haunted feel, add some flickering electric candles in the windows with spooky silhouettes on the glass.

Kid-Friendly Goblin House

Have your children lend a helping hand with these craft projects:

  • Carve or paint pumpkins to decorate porch steps.
  • Ghost in chair on porch

  • Use sheets or plastic drop cloths to make white ghosts.
  • Make jack-o’-lantern scarecrows using old clothing, straw, and goofy hats.
  • Replace porch light bulb with a black light.
  • Decorate the porch with homemade decorations made out of white paper.
  • Make a “Halloween tree” with orange and black streamers, strings of orange lights, and homemade Halloween-themed ornaments.
  • Inflatable lawn decorations and battery-powered flickering “candles” make fun kid-friendly decorations as well.

Gory Scene

If you’re more into tricking than treating, try adding some of these creepy lawn ornaments:
Jack-o'-lanterns and ghoulish figure on front steps

  • Tombstones
  • Skeletons
  • Ghouls
  • Monsters
  • Rats
  • Spiders

Or, put together your own scary scene using old furniture, clothing and dolls.

Paint scraps of wood or cardboard to look like tombstones and hang scary-looking figures or silhouettes from the trees. Finally, use a smoke machine and scary sound effects on the stereo to creep out even the bravest of souls.

Harvest House

Create a picturesque autumn scene with these decorations:
Pumpkin, hay, and corn used as decorations

  • Bales of straw
  • Cornstalks
  • Scarecrows
  • Pumpkins
  • Gourds
  • Corn

Even if you go spooky for Halloween, be sure to keep a few pumpkins uncarved to enjoy through Thanksgiving!

Halloween Decorating Safety

Here are some tips to make your yard scary and safe, no matter what your Halloween theme.

Light Strategically

Pirate skeleton path lightingHalloween is all about darkness, but make sure there are some low lights to guide visitors along the path. These pirate path lamps light the way with a scary touch.

Keep Walkways Clear

Keep decorations off of walkways and securely tape down any power cords to make sure trick-or-treaters don’t trip over your tricks. If you’ve got low decorations or dangling wires from trees in your yard, form a barrier with tombstones or straw bales to keep visitors out of harm’s way.

Avoid Fire

Battery-powered candles work great inside jack-o’-lanterns, and solar or plug-in spotlights can be used to create creepy shadows and path lighting. Never leave lit candles unattended, even down inside a pumpkin, and if your neighborhood has lots of trick-or-treaters, steer clear of bonfires.

Make “Tricks” Just for Fun

Not so scary ghost decorationIf you have scary characters, surprise goblins, or dangling spiders; make sure they don’t actually touch or trip anyone or cause harm.

The very spirit of Halloween means that people are going to be a little less predictable, so it’s better to err on the side of “pretending to trick,” rather than risking hurting or really frightening someone.

Further Information

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