Last year, visiting a haunted house was on the Halloween agenda for one-fifth of Americans. Designing your own haunted-house inspired yard can really amplify the spookiness in your neighborhood, and creating the decor for it can get the whole family involved.
Everyone can help with easy-to-make ghosts, tombstones, and cobwebs. It’s a time for your imagination to take flight—the more outrageous the better. One of the best parts about Halloween decorating is that you don’t have to cut straight or paint evenly to have the spookiest yard in your neighborhood.
Leaves are not doing your lawn any favors. In honor of Halloween, the leaves can stay there—for that brief window of opportunity, because a spooky lawn is an unkempt lawn. In fact, you can use the leaves in your “tableau.” Rake leaves into a big pile. Place a pair of old boots sticking out of it. Voila! You have a dead body on your lawn.
Haunt your yard with as many floating ghosts as you want. All you need are balloons (mylar balloons
stay inflated longer) and yards of gauze or cheesecloth. Cut the cloth material at different lengths to drape in layers over the balloon. Use the balloon string to hang the ghosts on the front porch or from the trees. Personalize the ghosts’ faces with a magic marker.
Source: Darren and Brad (CC BY-NC 2.0)
Blow up orange balloons and paint scary or silly faces on them with a magic marker. Similar to the balloon ghosts, hang the pumpkins as you’d like using a thin string or transparent fishing line. You can also tie them down around hedges or on the ground level of the porch.
Tombstones can be made out of wood, styrofoam, or cardboard. You can find a tombstone template guide online for design ideas or do them in free form. After all, tombstones are old, worn out, and look spooky when lopsided. Paint your cut out using shades of gray and brown. Let the paint streak and drip, adding eerie texture. You can also try to dab at the paint with a wet sponge for additional texture—whatever will make them look old and decrepit.
With a magic marker or black paint, add some clever inscriptions. “I told you I was sick” may be trite, but it never fails to get a laugh.
Scatter around skulls and bones as though they are rising up out of the ground. If you decide to make tombstones, add the skeleton bones in the ground in front of the tombstone to amplify your makeshift graveyard.
Glass Jar Luminaries
Use recycled or store bought glass jars of all sizes and shapes to create luminaries. Making sure there is a large enough neck to insert a candle. Wash and rinse the jars. Then rinse again in rubbing alcohol and let air dry. Apply acrylic paint in Halloween colors of your choice to the outside of the jars. No need to be precise. The rubbing alcohol will leave the paint transparent in spots and streaks. With a magic marker or black paint, draw on faces. Tea lights are the best kind of candles to use, you can also use battery operated tea lights. They light the faces from the bottom up for an eerie ambiance.
Use rolled cotton or store bought polyester spider web material cut into 3-to-6-inch lengths. Hold the cotton and pull at the fibers. You can pull those fibers right, left, up, down, diagonally—it’ll keep stretching without tearing apart. The fibers allow you to stick the cotton to nearly all textured surfaces—front door frame, porch, trees, shrubs, and fencing. When you want to join two pieces of cotton together, attach it with a firm-hold (sticky) hairspray. Stick a few plastic spiders here and there for extra creepy look!
Simplicity is key when it comes to decorating your front door. Turn your front door into a giant monster or mummy. Use white party streamer paper to criss-cross a mummy-like pattern and use black and white paper to create the eyes. You can do a similar technique to create a frankenstein inspired door, using green streamer paper. For an even more simple door decoration that’s not as bold– cut out bats on black felt in varying sizes and scatter around your door with double-sided tape.
Not all Halloween decorations have to be scary. Create a festive wreath using black, orange, and gold ornaments in assorted sizes, mix it up with plain or patterned ones. You can also decorate the plain ones with a magic marker if needed. Using a glue gun, attach the metal top to the ball. Thread the balls onto a macrame ring at random until you have just enough room on the ring to close it up with Gorilla Tape. Place a bright bow to the top or bottom for an additional element.
If you want to create the perfect background, for Halloween night, change all your light bulbs, inside and out, to red ones. Before you know it, you’ll have the spookiest yard on the block!
About the Author:
Katie Kuchta is a gardening guru, outdoor living expert, and self proclaimed foodie. She can often be found cooking in the kitchen or on the hunt for the best tacos, follow her on Instagram @atxtacoqueen.