Halloween rivals Christmas these days when it comes to celebrations and decorations. One of the best ways to get festive and attract trick-or-treaters is to create a boo-tiful lawn display. You don’t even have to break the bank! It’s easier than you think and it can be a lot of fun. As the daughter, granddaughter and niece of professional landscapers in northern New Jersey and Long Island, I am offering a lifetime of advice on how to create a scene that will bring the neighborhood to your yard. See below for some helpful, easy tips on creating an awesome Halloween display.
1. Make a plan for your Halloween display.
Preparation is the key to staying on budget and creating the scene you envision. Consider the amount of space you have. Obviously, a small porch and entryway is different from a grandiose lawn. Then, decide how much you want to spend. Even if you have a big front lawn, you can consolidate the scene by choosing one or two large items that carry a big punch and won’t cost as much as decorating the whole area. Give some thought to the type of scene you’d like to create. Will it be creepy, friendly or funny? Once you have an idea in mind, start window shopping to see what’s available and fits the bill, literally and figuratively. Make like a professional landscaper and plot exactly where you’d like to place items.
2. Go shopping.
Once you know what type of scene you’d like to create, you can head to craft stores such as Michaels or A.C. Moore, where you’ll find scarecrows, ghosts, witches and other Halloween favorites. Many of these characters have large stakes in them, so you can stick them right into the lawn or dirt. You might also find decorative outdoor items at big-box stores such as Costco, Target or Walmart. Nurseries and garden centers or local farms are great places to find bales of hay, pumpkins and fall flowers, such as mums or decorative cabbages.
3. Get crafty.
Feeling crafty? Many items for your outdoor Halloween display can be created by hand. Some easy ideas include making ghosts out of white garbage bags or decorating fake pumpkins. You could also paint or carve messages onto real pumpkins, such as your family name, house number or a Halloween greeting. Check Pinterest and other websites for endless inspiration. And get the kids involved for a fun family project!
4. Work in the yard.
Now is your chance to bring those plans to life. Start following through on the ideas you had previously written down. There are some tips you should keep in mind. For starters, think about how the display will look in a picture. Make sure you can see all the elements from the street. You can make use of various heights. For example, put a stack of hay on the ground in front, a tall scarecrow behind them and hang a ghost in the tree behind the scarecrow. You might also surround the hay with pumpkins.
5. Make it selfie ready.
The neighborhood kids (and parents alike) will want to take pictures of your scene. Make it easy for them by leaving space for people to fit into the scene. For instance, you can strategically pile hay stacks to form seats. You might also include strings of light–many stores sell pumpkin, spider and other Halloween-themed ones. Be safe with any efforts to add a wow factor. Obviously, you wouldn’t want to use anything flammable or dangerous. But on the day of Halloween or at your annual Halloween party, you might want to include dry ice or black lights with some glow in the dark décor to catch people’s eye. Others like electronic decorations that make spooky sounds or project images on the wall of a house or garage.
6. Think ahead.
How long would you like this scene to last in your yard? Many landscapers include decorative cabbages, hay and mums, which have appeal well into November. They add Halloween decorations but place them where they are easily removable without disrupting the focus of the landscaping. After Halloween, the decorations can be removed while the fall elements remain. You can also add Thanksgiving items, such as large cornucopias or a turkey. Keep in mind that landscaping requires maintenance. Aside from removing or adding elements to meet your seasonal needs, you’ll also need to remove rotting pumpkins, wilting flowers and stinking cabbages.
7. Enjoy the final scene.
Make sure to step back and appreciate your hard work. Admire the beautiful display you’ve created and enjoy Halloween with your family and friends. And take lots of pictures too!