10 Outdoor Halloween Decor Tips and Ideas
The spookiness of Halloween starts in your yard! Outdoor Halloween decor is just as important a part of planning a Halloween party as indoor
decor. And can be a lot more fun because you have a lot of space to work with and don't have to worry about getting things dirty.
Here, you'll find 10 great tips for planning your outdoor Halloween decorations, including practical tips like how to set things up, and creative tips
like theme ideas and more. Looking for more outdoor decor for your home this Halloween? You'll find even more tips and information at
Halloween Central, including:
You'll also get some great Halloween decor ideas from our visitors at the bottom of this page.
My Top 10 Tips for Creating
Scary Halloween Decorations
1. Let it Go a Bit
Ha! One of my favorite outdoor Halloween decoration tips. Get lazy in the weeks before Halloween! Let the grass grow a bit
long to give your home an un-kempt appearance. Let dead and dried leaves dot the lawn. After all, a house with a well-cared-for lawn is rarely a
2. Use Large Yard Props Large props in the yard
are the outdoor Halloween decorations that will get the most attention from the
street-- because they're the most visible. Make a mummy
or ghost or witch, or put together a large display for maximum effect.
3. Go Extra Pumpkin-y
Most people make one or two Jack o' Lanterns for Halloween. But making and lighting many, many more of them
creates a show-stopping effect. Group pumpkins and Jack o'Lanterns together in different sizes, colors, and shapes. Search for other vegetables
to carve, as well. Jack o'Lanterns can be made from squash, melon, gourds, turnips, and other large vegetables. Go nuts, and really mix it up.
Pumpkin Tip: Want to fill your yard with pumpkins for Halloween? At the pumpkin-selling lot, ask for their ugly and rejected pumpkins.
Many times you can get these for free or a huge discount. Strange shapes and deformities (even rotten spots) will give your Jack o' Lanterns
tons of character. And you can have dozens of them.
4. Add Small Details
Something as simple as garden stakes with painted wooden ghosts or pumpkins on them dotted around the garden can
create a wonderful effect. Or orange twinkle lights draped over bushes. Or luminaries in the path. Just because an area is not the centerpiece
of your outdoor Halloween decor doesn't mean you shouldn't decorate it!
5. Build a Clear Pathway
This is both a practical Halloween decoration tip and a pretty one. Using luminaries (buy them or, even better, make
your own from paper bags or label-free coffee cans), creepy graveyard-style plastic fencing, garden stakes, "bloody" rope, etc., create a path for guests and trick or
treaters to walk up. A decorative Halloween pathway will both look great, and keep dozens of kids from trampling your grass and plants.
6. Choose a Color
If you're looking for more of an elegant outdoor Halloween decor theme than an outright scary one, it's a great idea to go for a
single color. Buy white pumpkins and decorate your yard with elegantly-streaming ghosts. Or buy orange lights, tons of pumpkins, and make
everything in your yard orange. This is my favorite way to decorate for a more subdued event, like a Halloween dinner party.
7. Pick a theme
If you go all-out, any Halloween party or decoration theme
will look great in your yard. But in general, the best and most
attention-getting outdoor Halloween decor will be based around one consistent theme. A Halloween graveyard. A crime scene. A zombie
or mummy attack. Hell rises up. You get the idea.
8. Make a Spider Infestation
If you don't have a lot of money to spend or time to set up, I love the idea of a spider infested from yard. Pick up
loads of cheap cotton spider webbing and plastic spiders of all sizes (some are up to 5 feet across!). Stick plastic spiders all over the front door,
the windowsill, etc. The more the better. A fun but simple outdoor Halloween decor idea.
9. Start a Craft Project
You can create a lot of fun outdoor Halloween decorations at home-- even full sized ones. Get some old clothes and
bandages and make a Halloween mummy
. Create your own gravestones
for a Halloween graveyard. Cut black cats and bats from
sheets of black foam. Make ghosts
from white plastic bags and newspaper. These projects are a heck of a lot cheaper than buying your
props at a shop, and a lot of fun to make, too.
10. Decorate the Windows
When planning their outdoor Halloween decor, a lot of people leave the windows undecorated for Halloween... and that's a real shame! Adding creepy decorations
to the windows can create a really great effect. Of course, you can always buy stickable plastic window inserts or bloody handprints and words for the windows. But I love
the idea of making your own Halloween window decorations!
Here's a Halloween window decoration idea: Glue creepy black-fabric silhouettes (reaching hands, knife-wielding maniacs,
ghosts, black cats, etc.) to semi-sheer white fabric and hang them in front of the windows. Point an odd colored light through the windows to
highlight them (green works well). Roll down and turn on at night.
Creating Halloween Ambiance Outdoors
Putting together ultra-spooky outdoor Halloween decor is about more than individual decorations or themes. It's also about general ambiance. A
dark night, of course, can help. But the rest you have to do yourself. The following things are generally the best ways to create a creepy
Halloween ambiance in your yard. Use them all or pick and choose which ones work best for your theme.
Install Special Lighting
Lighting is probably the thing that will make the biggest difference to your outdoor Halloween decorations. For instance, a huge and creepy
white ghost in your yard is going to be scary. But it'll be much scarier --and a lot cooler-looking, too-- if you have a spooky green light shining on
him from below.
It's a good idea to use special lights (spot lights, strobe lights, etc.) to light up and draw attention to any of your large Halloween yard props.
You may also want to think about using strings of Halloween-themed lights anywhere that seems a bit under-decorated, such as in trees or
bushes or around the front door. Stobe lights pointed at a scary Halloween prop --such as a zombie in a Halloween graveyard-- can give the
illusion of motion. Low green lighting around the yard can lend an eerie sensation. Or the occasional flash of light followed by a clap of thunder
can create the illusion of a thunderstorm.
Moving "Flame" Hanging Light
I love the idea of this lamp! While it might look a little cheesy in bright daylight, the moving fabric "flame" looks surprisingly realistic at night. The perfect thing for a Halloween yard graveyard or other outdoor Halloween displays.
Simple Halloween Luminaries
Buying paper luminaries like this is cheap. But while they're cute, homemade ones are cheaper, more original, and a lot more fun.
Print paper bags with spooky shapes (or cut-outs) fill with tea-light candles, and use everywhere as outdoor Halloween decor.
Blood-Covered Old Lantern
If you're planning on building a Halloween graveyard in your yard this year (or any other big outdoor Halloween display) you've got to have creepy lanterns!
I like this one, but it's also ultra easy (and cheaper) to buy an old lantern at a flea market and spatter it with red paint.
Fabric Ghosts Lights (10 count)
While this string of lights isn't long enough to cover much space, it looks great in smaller areas: above a Halloween doorway, across the edge of the buffet table... you get the idea.
Porch Light Covers
I think these inexpensive porch light covers are such a simple, fun outdoor Halloween decor idea. They slip over any outdoor porch light or lamp post light, and are smiling and festive. And if mischievous kids steal them during the night, you haven't lost much.
Comes with: two ghosts, a skull, and a pumpkin.
100 Purple and Orange Double Light Set
These are as simple as you get. If you need a little extra lighting anywhere in your outdoor Halloween decor but aren't looking for anything too crazy, these subtle orange and purple lights and fun, pretty, and classic.
Vampire Skull Candle Holder/Lantern
This tealight lamp is so freaky looking, especially with the spooky, flickering light of a real flame. A great way to create a creepy ambiance.
x3 Creepy Peeping Light-Up Eyes
These eyes light up at random moments to give trick o' treaters or party guests a scare. Can be used inside or out. Tuck in some foliage, behind the sofa, or a dark corner of your living room.
Another one of the Halloween special effects I love most is fog. You can get Halloween fog machines that make low-lying fog, or
machines that create a general foggy atmospehere. Low-lying fog looks wonderful in a Halloween graveyard (light it up with eerie green lighting if
you can-- the effect is wonderful!) or around the base of a few ghostly yard props.
You need special fog juice to keep a fogger going, and will need a heavy-duty fog machine to fill a larger area with fog. So you won't want to
keep your fogger going all the time, or you'll have to invest in gallons and gallons of fog juice. But a large jug should last you quite a while if
you're only using your fogger for a couple of hours at a time.
Creating creepy outdoor Halloween decor isn't just about what people see... it's also about what they hear. Have speakers
piping out scary, low music, an occassional scream, spooky laughter, or thunder. Even if you don't go all-out decoration-wise, sound will do a
lot to create ambiance for your Halloween party.
Of course, you can always go out and buy a ready-made CD of Halloween sounds or music. But there are also lots of
places online to download this sort of thing for free or at a very low cost. Do a search and see what you find!
Blood-Smeared Halloween Graveyard Lantern
This creepy-looking Halloween lantern makes any Halloween scene a bit creepier.
I'd say this is a good choice for people who are short on time, as it would be pretty easy to make something similar at home.
Nifty Spiderweb Gun
Using little gluestick-type things, this webcaster gun makes ultra realistic-looking spiderwebs for your Halloween yard decoration.
Works with an air compressor.
Halloween Horrorscapes CD
I always suggest that you find free (or paid) downloads of creepy Halloween sounds and music. But if you can't find or don't have time to download anything, this CD is spooky and a lot of fun.
Very creepy and realistic effects for a haunted house! Includes moaning, screaming, thunder, electrocution, chainsaws, etc.
Fog Machine With Timer
Good fog machines can be pricey. I like this one because it's got a built-in timer and is less expensive than most.
Spooky Shadows Light
Create a truly unique and spooky environment with the Spooky Shadows light this Halloween and transform your home into a haunted house. The frosted rotating dome casts shadows on any surface to
This little strobe light can be mounted anywhere to give a VERY creepy ambiance to your Halloween yard decoration set-up.
Smoking Skull Fogger Machine
This smoking skull is so creepy, and all it takes to fill it with creepy fog (perfect for a graveyard) is water.
Cannon Strobe with Thunder
If you want to create the ambiance of a thunderstorm (or Hell rising up or something similar) this strobe light has both light AND sound.
You a Demented Decorator, Too?
Show off Your Freaky Halloween Decorations!
Have an awesome ability to create a spooky Halloween scene? Here's the place to show off your Halloween decorations --body parts, graveyards, homemade zombies, bloody living rooms-- and let other visitors vote on their creepiness factor.
Or browse around to see what other people have done to freak out their guests on Halloween and get a few demented ideas of your own...
Go from Outdoor Halloween Decor to Halloween Party Central.
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