When Halloween comes around, if you’re the type to turn off the porch light and hunker down until the nightmare is over, this article isn’t for you.
And if you’re the house with 45 inflatable decorations scattered in the yard, you may also want to skip this one.
Instead, these are tips for the sweet spot in the middle. Where you’re cleary making the most of the holiday, but doing so with a little more consideration and a little more originality.
Let’s get right into it:
Great Bales of Hay
What is it about a bale of hay that’s so spooky? Well, maybe nothing. But for whatever reason, they work great as a front porch decoration, especially in combination with other decorations you’ll see here.
Surprisingly, you can find hay bales in a variety of sizes, at a variety of decor stores that are likely in your area. And because I’m guessing you won’t need much nutritional value in these particular bales, don’t worry when you see “not for human or animal consumption.”
Although they are easy to overdo, and even easier to do poorly, ghosts are still hovering around as a Halloween staple. And for good reason – tastefully done, they can be a creepy or strangely classy addition to your front porch set up.
Laying somewhere between scary and cute, is this DIY project for hanging ghosts. They’re spooky, but not spike-your-blood-pressure spooky. And again, pretty cute, but not quite Nickelodeon cute, and certainly far from tacky. Take a look at the instructions, but feel free to get creative and do what feels best.
Spiderwebs: Tried and True
Artificial spiderwebs, that is. These are low-cost, easy to find, and – in moderation – work as a perfect finishing touch to your front porch. Drape them over other decorations, cover your front door, or add to the thrill of trick-or-treating by wrapping them around your doorbell. The more realistic, the better.
Light Up Your Path
The house that’s the talk of the town will typically go a few steps beyond decorating the front porch. A great place to start is the walkway leading up to your porch. Now, you may be picturing a line of brown lunch bags tossed over lights. Let’s stop doing that.
Instead, choose from what are now dozens of better options for Halloween-friendly path lights. These, too, can be as horrifying or juvenile as you want them. But in either case, they add a lot to the experience, and make the kiddos happy – which is really why we’re all here anyway.
Lighting Everything Else
Deep down, we all know it: the best way to set a mood is with lighting. And the best way to set a spooky mood? Halloween lighting. Typically, this happens with themed string lights, projectors and changes in the bulbs already on your porch (think: orange, red, blacklights, strobe lights).
With string lights, look for something that compliments the rest of the decor you’ll be putting out there. For example, if you’re really going all in on a haunted house vibe, skulls might be the ticket. But if you’re keeping things more playful, why not pumpkins? And as always, more traditional, non-themed string lights with the right colors or bulbs could work great on their own. You’ll have to decide what’s best here, if anything.
Note: Be careful with projectors. They can quickly fall into the “inflatables everywhere” category. Use your best judgement, but less is often more. In my opinion, a nice orange glow beats out a goofy, cartoonish witch on a broom.
Here’s an easy one. Try swapping out your usual welcome mat for a Halloween-themed mat. Of course, some are much better than others. If you’re creating a certain scene – something authentic – then a bland “Happy Halloween” mat might do more harm than good. But a mat that looks like a Ouija board? Now we’re getting somewhere.
Rapid Fire Round
Let’s wrap things up with a quick list of bonus tips that don’t require much explanation. Ready, set, decorate:
Witch’s legs sticking out from your welcome mat
Line your stairway with skulls or tiny pumpkins
Hand painted sign
Door hangers (like a wreath, but more terrifying)
Pumpkins, lots of them
Fog machines (in moderation)
Floating witch’s hats
Skeletons, of course