Whether you are eager to out-spook or out-charm the neighbors this Halloween, we have expert Halloween decorating ideas from a professional holiday decorator to get you to your personal best. We’ll even tell you how to store an entire graveyard in your garage, or storage space, once the night is done.
There are no limits or obligations to Halloween, of course. But if you do want your yard to look more Martha Stewart and less Freddy Krueger, choose a theme and stick to just a few colors and types of accessories. That way, it's more likely to look cool rather than cluttered, advises Bob Pranga, a professional decorator to the stars who at this time of the year morphs into his holiday persona “Dr. Halloween” (aka Dr. Christmas in December).
“Look at it as best you can with a little symmetry as opposed to ‘hey, here’s a corner, let’s Scotch tape a witch there’,” said Bob, whose decorating clients have included Tiffany & Co., Nancy Reagan, Shaquille O’Neal and Kate Hudson, according to his website. “Maybe for design, you just stick with ghosts, pumpkins and bats and you have white, orange and black.”
You can see an example of a theme his company did for Halloween below that looks eerily elegant and can be executed on a budget.
For a house, he recommends starting your focus on the front door and fanning out from there. Groups of corn stalks, when they fit with your theme, piled on either side of a front door “create an entrance,” he advised. “People love entrances.”
You could do budget décor by buying inexpensive items and being smart about how you use them, or just getting one or two more expensive accessories, such as jointed skeletons made of thick plastic above, as chosen by a family that decorated its own yard. “Buy something that you really like,” Bob said.
Because there are so many ready-made accessories out there these days, there is a great need to know how to store them, said Nonnahs Driskill of Get Organized Already.
When you are ready to take down the decorations, see if any of the bulkiest items are among the cheapest and consider getting rid of them. Her example is large plastic pumpkins that retail for a couple of bucks but can take up half a storage bin.
She also urges people to make sure what they’re packing up is actually in workable condition. Don’t stash broken lights with the promise to fix them during the busy holiday season next year. “Those things are so easy to buy again.”
Consider using clear bins so you can see the contents and opt for an orange colored lid to make it easier to ID Halloween items in a flash, and label the box. Consider putting lighter costume items at the top in case you need to dress up for other events throughout the year, such as children’s plays.
Nonnahs has another organizing technique that she admits is “pretty advanced” for if you have more than one holiday bin. Number them and before you put items in, group them on the floor with a number and take a photo. You can email the photo to yourself with an obvious subject line “Halloween Storage 1” for easy retrieval next year.
Most importantly, have fun, as the family who decorated their house below clearly did. We dare you!
Haunted house photo courtesy of Between Naps on the Porch