How to Plan Ahead to Decorate Your Home for Halloween

Don't forget your Scary Sound CD to set the Mood!

Harvest time Brings Thoughts of the next Holiday in line this year.

Pumpkins are dissappearing from the fields and appearing at local Fruit and Vegetable Roadside Stands
Pumpkins are dissappearing from the fields and appearing at local Fruit and Vegetable Roadside Stands
Pumpkins make me think of Halloween approaching
Pumpkins make me think of Halloween approaching
Those fields of greenery all of a sudden grew into 7-8 foot high Sunflower plants
Those fields of greenery all of a sudden grew into 7-8 foot high Sunflower plants
Plants topped with Giant Sunflowers suddenly appeared roadside! We roamed the rows of Sunflowers every year with our children and their friends!
Plants topped with Giant Sunflowers suddenly appeared roadside! We roamed the rows of Sunflowers every year with our children and their friends!
Kids love to run among the many scarecrow exhibits!
Kids love to run among the many scarecrow exhibits!

Harvest brings celebrations, Halloween and Thanksgiving

As I drove down the winding roads the through the canyons and backways of Santa Clarita, CA, I passed several farms with horses, cows and goats and pastures, around the bend where my favorite Fruit and Vegetables Stands display their fresh produce, I see the Pumpkin Patches are being harvested already. It was only last week I was pointing out to my girls the huge orange "fruits" growing amist giant shapely leaves along the ground in acres and acres of flat lands below the mountain slopes. Like majic the small plants in rows and rows along the hillsides have grown up into giant Sunflowers with their yellow heads topping the six or seven foot plants. Our children roamed through the rows and rows of sunflowers for many years as they grew up looking at the unique scarecrows and displays the various childrens' groups and schools in our areas set up for competitions. This always set the stage for family comparisons as to whether or not their favorites achieved the First Prize Blue Ribbons, or runners-up or if a display was too gross or very funny....

With the appearance of fresh pumpkins, gourds, squash and apples, the reminder that autumn is just around the corner and days are becoming shorter and the nights sky appears earlier and earlier. With these signs comes memories of years past when the entire neighborhood comes out into the darkness to visit us by the firepits and drinking Hot Apple Cider and some dads "bring their own beverages" as the parents escort their children through the neighborhoods to collect candies and treats while dressed in imaginative and brightly colored costumes. I am already smelling the scent of burning wood, hearing the crunching leaves under the running feet of children everywhere and thinking about how to decorate for the holiday next in line this year, Halloween!

Recipes for Halloween Fun!

Scary Creature Halloween Pie

Cast your vote for Halloween Pie

Ingredients

  • two deep dish pie crusts, Marie Calendars ReadyMade
  • 4 cups Black Raspberry pie filling, Substitute fresh or frozen berries*
  • 1/2 Cup Granulated Sugar, Orange colored sugar
  • 1 large egg white Beaten egg white, Substitute milk for eggs
  • 1 cup ground pecans or pistachios, Substitute vanilla wafers for nuts

Instructions

  1. Preheat Oven at 425F Lay first pie crust into large pie pan, crimp edges, add layer of nuts or "Nilla Wafers" in bottom of crust.
  2. Add pie filling, if using fresh berries mix first with 2/3 cups sugar and 3 tablespoons lemon juice, then add into pie crust. Save two large berries for creatures eyes.
  3. Cut top crust into wild creature form, using serrated edged knife, as shown in photo. Save small amount of pie crust dough for eyes. Put tentacles/body lattice first, add creature head on top, centered.
  4. Put two raspberries for creature eyes, then add pie crust dough over the eyes as heavy lids.
  5. Baked pastry dough as directed by package for fruit pie. Brush pie crust top with beaten egg whites, then sprinkle granulated sugar on top. Bake Approximately 30-40minutes, until lightly browned, cool 30 minutes before serving.

Halloween should be Fun for Everyone - Always Keep the Scariest Displays Above the Eye Level of the Little Children!

This scary photo is of an 1800's couple in formal attire including Top Hat, but when you move past it, the photo changes to a skeleton couple...very spooky! Also the skeleton head in the black shroud has a red light inside with a motion sensor that t
This scary photo is of an 1800's couple in formal attire including Top Hat, but when you move past it, the photo changes to a skeleton couple...very spooky! Also the skeleton head in the black shroud has a red light inside with a motion sensor that t

Bubbling Eyeball Soup and a Cauldron of Hot Apple Cider for the Parents! Keep the hot drinks and candle flames to the back of the table so kids won't get accide

You can see how the transparent tablecloths allow the lights to show through and highlight the decorations as I begin to set up the table displays.
You can see how the transparent tablecloths allow the lights to show through and highlight the decorations as I begin to set up the table displays.

Pets will come to your Halloween site with their families!

When setting up for Trick or Treaters, Tie  some black ribbon onto Dog Bones or treat for the families who like to take their pets along!
When setting up for Trick or Treaters, Tie some black ribbon onto Dog Bones or treat for the families who like to take their pets along!

Witches Groceries for making Potions and wicked brews!

Many interesting details in the witches kitchen display, glass jars with "gummie eyeballs", a meat wrapper like in the grocery store but instead of hamburger or steak it has a label that reads Fresh Vampires' Brains, and has  gooey brains packaged!
Many interesting details in the witches kitchen display, glass jars with "gummie eyeballs", a meat wrapper like in the grocery store but instead of hamburger or steak it has a label that reads Fresh Vampires' Brains, and has gooey brains packaged!

You write down your ideas and Develop them into a Plan

When you start to map out your display area, think of the direction you want your "Trick or Treaters" to travel, should they end up at the front door, or the side of the garage, where do you want to give out the trick or treat candies, how do they rejoin their parents, do want the parents to stay with the smaller children or enjoy the scarier areas with the older kids?

Essentially you want to direct the "flow of traffic" by setting up tables, partitions or even bales of hay to create a walkway up to the place where the kids will be knocking on the door. In this Hub I will be explaining one of the areas I set up last year because it was one of the most successful I had ever created. Of coarse once you start doing this, the response is so enthusiastic, you tend to want to improve on it every year, so they always get better and better.

Halloween Décor can be as "Cute" or "Scary" as you choose it to be.

Making a Halloween Display for the Trick or Treaters must capture the interests of all ages, toddlers to teens.  Some children are afraid of scary costumes so the live displays must know to back away, we want the night to be fun for EVERYONE!  See th
Making a Halloween Display for the Trick or Treaters must capture the interests of all ages, toddlers to teens. Some children are afraid of scary costumes so the live displays must know to back away, we want the night to be fun for EVERYONE! See th
I always set the most "scary" exhibits up high out of the sight and the reach of little children.  Same with lit candles, keep them to the back of the tables so children with costumes aren't reaching over the candle flames.
I always set the most "scary" exhibits up high out of the sight and the reach of little children. Same with lit candles, keep them to the back of the tables so children with costumes aren't reaching over the candle flames.
Some displays are more suttle like the mirrors behind Greg in this photo, they reflect transparent holographic ghostly images, others can be very startling like the moving,  talking head inside the crystal ball which has a motion censor and starts up
Some displays are more suttle like the mirrors behind Greg in this photo, they reflect transparent holographic ghostly images, others can be very startling like the moving, talking head inside the crystal ball which has a motion sensor and starts up

Setting up your display area for Good and Safe Viewing!

So keeping in mind that the display area should be set up so it directs the flow of "traffic", I first map out the direction I want the guests and "Trick or Treaters" to walk around. In this set up I decided to have everyone walk up the driveway, see the displays and the little ones' went to see the "Ghost Duck" while the older kids visited the scarier places. Parents had to hold the hand of the smaller children as they climbed a small ladder to look inside the back of our pick- up truck parked on the far side of the driveway. The "Ghost Duck" was our pet duck, DAISEYDUCK, whom you have probably seen in pictures from my past Hubs on Environment and secret gardens and Fairy Gardens. She is a Pekin Duck and is all white so when we shine Black Lights on her and her display, she lights up like a ghost, all the kids like to pet her and she is swimming in a small kiddie pool in the truck bed so she happlily quacks through all the attention. It was the least work and the greatest attraction of the night! We themed the display as a deserted Luau, with a Luau shed with tropical flowers and grass skirts and leis, and of coarse DaisyDuck swimming amist it all!

Put the Scary Stuff out of the "Line of Sight" from the smaller kids!

Witches  Groceries for making Spells and Potions!
Witches Groceries for making Spells and Potions!
Can you see the Ghostly figures pearing out of the mirrors behind my husband?
Can you see the Ghostly figures pearing out of the mirrors behind my husband?

Small children enjoy the "Cuter" side of the Halloween celebration

Although my teenagers love skulls and eyeballs and gross stuff now, as little ones they didn't like to be scared, a "white pumpkin" was as weird as they could stand and little creatures like this piggy pumpkin were what they thought of as fun.  We ar
Although my teenagers love skulls and eyeballs and gross stuff now, as little ones they didn't like to be scared, a "white pumpkin" was as weird as they could stand and little creatures like this piggy pumpkin were what they thought of as fun. We ar
Smaller kids can't get past the large pumkins and decor to see the "yucky" stuff, so they can focus on cute puppy pumpkin and the friendly ghost from a distance...
Smaller kids can't get past the large pumkins and décor to see the "yucky" stuff, so they can focus on cute puppy pumpkin and the friendly ghost from a distance...

Setting up your Horror displays for Safe Viewing and Excitement!

  • While the little ones are ooohing and ahhhing over Daisy duck, the older kids have finished with looking at the various grotesque displays and had their Hot Apple Cider from the Witches' Kettle, which is set into a huge glass bowl filled with water and dry ice to make it bubble bubble and trouble, with fog! They then have no choice but to walk up the front path to the front yard and the sidewalk that leads to the front porch, to knock on the front door for their Treats.

  • To keep everyone from wandering through the display into other areas I line up tables along the front of the garage to block the entrance. I put blocks of wood some heightened higher with several bricks to raise areas for certain displays on the tables. These displays will be up and out of sight of the smaller children who don't need to be frightened by the gory stuff that delights the older kids and teens! I set up the raised areas for multi-dimensional exhibits which allows for more display areas, and higher interest.

  • Once I have the tables, wood blocks and bricks or cinder blocks in place, I cover everything with black bed-sheets, actually you can use any colors you have. I place strings of white lights on the sheets, (Christmas lights are great for this!), and then cover the lights with Halloween table cloths. I chose clear, transparent table cloths that I found at the costume store to show off the lights more dramatically. The way the bricks and risen areas are set prevent any heat buildup from the lights so it is fire safe. Next I place a couple of wrought iron shelves onto the tables which creates drama and more areas to set up ghastly displays.


Halloween Features bring back the neighborhood, year after year!

  • On the inside table I have a powercord Surge Protector to organize the electrical cords and I taped it securely to a table leg so no one will get caught up in it and bring down my slow cooker filled with Hot Spiced Apple Cider. This is a draw throughout the neighborhood which gets passed around by word of mouth and through-out the night neighbors with their own displays find their way to our yard to get a taste of the cider and express their admiration.

  • Be sure to drape the tablecloths down the front to hide cords and supplies and keep the tablecloth up in the back to prevent tripping and allow easy access to boxes of spice mix, cider and paper cups, etc., stored under the tables, also keep lots of extra bags of candies for the droves of trick or treaters as the word spreads down the streets about your yard!

  • One display had a large pot set in a huge glass bowl with water, colored with food coloring and dry ice for smoky mystery and gummy eyeballs floating wildly about! The Hot spiced apple cider was inside a Crock Pot decorated to look like a Witches Cauldron.

  • I replaced most of my light bulbs in lamps, outdoor spotlighting and lamps with black lights, stategically placing bright white lights in areas where it showed through the fog along each end of the pathway.

  • On the first table I decorated with the height of little children in mind so they can see the cute décor but not be frightened by the more wretched gore. The pictures display some ideas like the puppy and piggy pumpkins and "stuffed animal" faced ghosts and goblins.

  • On the walking pathway to the frontyard were mirrors with scary transparent ghosts that looked like they were staring at you from inside dsthe mirrors. The foggers were timed to go off sporatically and catch the kids by surprise as they walked into the darker area of the yard. There was a hugh green Frankenstein hung up on the front porch and spookie eyes and mouths with fangs in the bushes that lit up with a motion sensor as they walked past. One set up was a motion activated voice that made various halloweeny laughs of an evil sort of mad professor laugh. The bushes had orange strings of lights and the front porch was lit in Black Lights, there were scary faces peeking from all the windows and to backdrop areas I hung old costumes and capes from years past, and a large witches hats hung like one would hang any hat no being used. The entire yard had strings of spider webs strung around and as the night passes it got stretched out more and more looking more realistic. Rubber rats were placed on the sidewalk for the Jr. High girls to scream delightedly as they love to do when they stepped on them and my husband couldn't resist putting a wooden rattlesnake near the door to dare the faint-hearted to reach over and knock.

  • Use your imagination, but watch your budget, you can pick u all kinds of Halloween décor after the holiday on sale for next year, last winter we got fog machines that sell for $50. each for $7.00 and all kinds of scary masks made of rubber for $5.00 each, and all you have to do is put them on a ball or hairdresser's manniquin heads and set them on the table for outrageous displays...

  • Remember to add to the scary ambiance set up a CD playing scary sounds, creaky doors, wicked laughs, screams and chains etc.

  • We have a TV and couches set up in our garage so we played scary horror movies from long ago on the tv and had scarecrows and monsters sitting on the couches.

  • Setting up lawn chairs around a fire-pit can attract neighbors to sit a moment and talk with each other and you while sipping on some hot cider or hot chocolate with mini-marshmallows!

  • This year I plan to take more pictures, I really wish I had the ones of Daisy Duck glowing in the dark, so check back in a few weeks for more Halloween Ideas and FUN!


Halloween Doesn't Have to be Controversial!

Knowing the Common Resistance to this Holiday, can we see past the superstition and jus enjoy the kids having fun in a Safe Way?

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Comments 6 comments

Deborah-Lynn profile image

Deborah-Lynn 7 weeks ago from Los Angeles, California Author

I am saddened by the loss of our dear sweet friend, writer, mentor, and talented Poet...Charlie Campbell, CC may you be at rest. Much Love, Dee Dee


Carmen Borthwick profile image

Carmen Borthwick 7 years ago from Maple Ridge, B.C.

Awesome hub! I decorated for the first time in a couple of years for this Halloween. My kids are grown and have recently flown the coop, but new neighbours have little ones so its been fun. My favorite used to be setting up tombstones on the lawn and 'Jason' on top of the truck. Thanks for the post.


prettydarkhorse profile image

prettydarkhorse 7 years ago from US

i think i may start to think to decorate mine here too, very informative hub!! and very visual too,


Deborah-Lynn profile image

Deborah-Lynn 7 years ago from Los Angeles, California Author

Hi Ralwus, getting a couple of houses to decorate and "Spook" the kids together is double the fun! I hope you use enough make-up to hide your sweet "country-Santa smile" and white fuzzy beard, or you won't be a'scarin' anyone, can't imagine you transformed into a Vampire, lol!


ralwus 7 years ago

I ain't quite ready for this. I love this stuff. You have some really great tips. This year I and my dear friend Brigid plan on using dry ice for great effect. I a vampire, she the witch. Two houses apart. Oh what fun it is. thanks hun


Deborah-Lynn profile image

Deborah-Lynn 7 years ago from Los Angeles, California Author

How can Halloween get any better? But then I ask that every year!

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