Tips and Tricks for Decorating your Home This Halloween

Ghosts, Goblins and Ghouls! Do you need a little inspiration for spooking up your home this Halloween season? AHS has many easy ideas to help your home stand out!

Did you know that celebrating the transition from the warm growing season to the dark, cold days of winter during the month of October is a two-thousand-year-old tradition? Originally called Samhain, “moving into the dark part of the year” naturally draws connections with the transition from life to death. Hence, the spooky part of today’s Halloween celebrations. It also sets the tone for decorating your yard or the inside of your home for Halloween (which, of course, can include haunted house décor).

Need a little spooky inspiration for your décor this year? Wanting to go with a not-so-scary look? You’re in luck! These creative — and easy — ideas can be as festive or as frightening as you’d like.

Related: Spook-tacular Crafts for Your Little Monsters

1. Make the Harvest Connection

The end of the growing season goes hand in hand with decorating your yard for Halloween. In fact, now’s the perfect time to relocate (and redecorate) that dingy scarecrow in your garden, since you won’t need it anymore this year. Don’t have one already? No worries. It's Simple.

How to Build a Spooktacular Scarecrow

  • Create a scarecrow body by attaching a 2x4-inch post to 1x4-inch block shoulders and 1x4-inch block arms.
  • The scarecrow’s head can be made out of a stuffed pillowcase with a string tied around the neck. Then, add an old hat and hay for hair and draw a face with a marker. (Bonus: If you’re not going for a happy scarecrow look, mark X’s for the eyes to give it a corpse look.) -
  • Use a short piece of 2x4-inch board for the hips with 1x4-inch boards for the legs, if you’d like.
  • Then, all that’s left is to dress your scarecrow. An old long-sleeve flannel shirt, jeans, gloves and boots are the typical look, but feel free to let your own personality shine through. The clothing (and scare-factor) possibilities are endless.

Speaking of harvests, the pumpkin has obviously evolved into the decoration of choice for Halloween. Long ago, it was the turnip. But turnips just aren’t cut out to be cut out (get it?). Instead, there are lots of ways to carve a pumpkin. In addition to the typical jack-o-lantern faces, you can make your house stand out with pumpkin lanterns.

How to Create Perfect Pumpkin Lanterns

  • Simply start by cutting a large hole in the bottom of each pumpkin (not the top, like in a jack-o-lantern).
  • Clean out all the seeds and mess, then cut out thick, vertical slices around the pumpkins.
  • Set the pumpkins over battery-powered candles on your porch, walk or driveway, and you’ll suddenly have a creative and nontraditional decoration.
  • For an extra “glow,” feel free to experiment with other carved patterns on your lanterns, such as Halloween-themed cookie-cutter light ports, to illuminate your yard.
  • And, of course, you can never go wrong with uncarved ornamental pumpkins, gourds, leaves and pine cones sitting on your porch.

Bales of hay and cornstalks along with pots of mums grouped around your trees or a post lamp really bring the fall season to your yard, as well. Old wagons and tractors (if you have access to them) can also help tie in the agricultural theme. Homemade front door wreaths made with leaves, pine cones and orange and black ribbons set the mood. And don’t forget about fake spider webs, spiders and bats hanging from the front porch roof, if you’re going for a creepy theme.

2. Bring Out the Spooks

Little short ghosts holding hands and dancing around in a circle. Screams “Halloween,” right? Fortunately, they’re also easy to create.

How to Display a Ghostly Gathering

  • Just take some head-size Styrofoam balls from the craft store, some garden stakes and white fabric.
  • Push the balls onto the stakes, put some hot glue on top of the heads to attach the white fabric, push the stakes in the ground in a circle and tie the corners of the fabric together to look like the little ghosts are holding hands.
  • To make them really stand out, place one of your pumpkin lanterns in the middle of their circle, to signify a fire.

A witch in the front yard is a simple spooky touch, too. If you have a patio umbrella, the base can be used to hold the witch up.

How to Make a Wickedly Festive Witch

  • Simply cut a PVC pipe that fits the stand to the height that matches a long black dress.
  • Then, use a PVC “cross tee” fitting (your local hardware store employees will know what you’re talking about) to attach short PVC pieces for shoulders and a short neck.
  • Hang a pillow from the shoulders as a torso and put the dress on the frame.
  • Attach gloves for hands and stuffing for arms, then use a Styrofoam ball for the head.
  • Put a black scarf around the neck, add a witches mask, wig and hat, and she’s ready to greet guests.

Related: 5 DIY Halloween Decorations

3. Make the Inside Boo-tiful, Too

First things first: If you want your house to look spooky, it should look spooky from the street.

How to Scare Them From the Street

  • The windows should be dark, if possible.
  • If you have a room upstairs with a front-facing window, a great touch would be to add an eerie “watcher” sitting there by candle light (yes, like in that thriller movie that you watch each Halloween). A Styrofoam wig holder head with a stringy grey wig slumped down and to the side and a pillow-stuffed torso wearing a sweater and sitting in a chair near the window will give the creeps to anyone that notices. Even in the daylight.

In addition, the dining room table is a great spot to show off your festive décor.

How to Dress Up Your Dining Room

  • At a minimum, the dining room table needs candlesticks and candles or small, ornamental pumpkins.
  • To take the spook-factor up a notch, construct your own mini haunted house centerpiece out of chocolate graham crackers and candies — like a Halloween version of a gingerbread house.
  • Then, make the room complete with spider webs from the chandelier and a tattered tablecloth.

The Halloween color theme of orange and black should also be used where you can, even with light bulbs.

How to Incorporate Fabulous (and Sometimes Freaky) Fall Furnishings

  • Curtains can be replaced with dull tattered sheets or cheesecloth.
  • A hollowed-out pumpkin can be used as a vase to display dried (aka dead) flowers.
  • Clear glass jars filled with candy corn can hold candles.
  • And bunches of fall leaves in arrangements with apples on end tables and coffee tables will add a special harvest flair.

Related: How to Make Your Fall Seasonal Home Décor Last Through Winter

The origins of Halloween, with the change of the seasons and the transition of life to death, give plenty of ideas — both scary and not-so-scary — for you to take advantage of in decorating for Halloween this season. Whether you want to go scary, tacky, festive or beautiful, though, we know you will have a good time doing it. Just watch out for black cats crossing your path and that uncanny woman watching you from across the street.


AHS assumes no responsibility, and specifically disclaims all liability, for your use of any and all information contained herein.

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