Exterior decorations are one of the most fun ways you can show your enthusiasm for the holidays. Most holidays have some traditional motifs: a big shamrock on the door for St. Paddy's, hearts for Valentine's day, a nice wreath for Easter, and, of course, Santa's sleigh at Christmas. But Halloween is one holiday during which you can get truly freaky with your outdoor décor. Here are five easy ideas to transform any normal residence into a unique haunted house.
Want to make your front yard look truly haunted? These ghosts will flap and flutter in the breeze while seeming to float by themselves. For this one, you'll need a white plastic tablecloth for each ghost you want to make, fishing line, a few grocery-store plastic bags, and a tree or another structure from which to hang them. Stuff each plastic bag with newspapers, then tie it shut. That's your ghost's head. Put the bag in the center of the tablecloth and tie the tablecloth so that it covers the ghost head, with the rest of it hanging down. There's your ghost! Shred the edges to give it a raggedy look, then hang it from a tree limb with fishing line and watch the ghosts flit to and fro all night. Use a spotlight for maximum impact.
Have you ever seen Snow White? If you have, it's certain that you remember the terrifying, haunted forest she runs through when she's escaping the Queen. Arguably, the forest was even scarier than the main villain. If you have any trees in your front yard, it's easy to recreate these evil woods. All you need is some cardstock and a spotlight or a strand of lights. Draw a pair of eyes on the cardstock. Draw them big and scary; these are haunted tree eyes! Next, nail them up. Voila! Spotlight them at night so they won't be lost or fill them in with white or yellow lights to make it look like your trees have glowing eyes.
This one is easy and will look amazing at night. Take a large round flowerpot and spray paint it black. Ta-da! You've got a cauldron. Now to go the extra mile: set it up on top of some logs with a strand of orange lights wrapped around them to imitate the look of glowing flames. Fill the cauldron with fake spiderwebs and throw in some solar-powered LEDs. When night falls, it will look like your cauldron is overflowing with glowing mist. Lean a broom up against it with a witch's hat on it to suggest the brewer could swoop in at any time or throw in a hissing cat silhouette to suggest her familiar is keeping watch.
Sometimes you don't even need to go outside to decorate the inside of your house. For this, all you need is some cardstock and a pair of scissors. Pick a few monsters with recognizable silhouettes (a few ideas: a ghost, a witch, a cat or Frankenstein's monster). Draw their outline on the cardstock large enough to fill a window. Don't forget to cut out the eyes and mouth for an extra scary appearance. Hang it in a street-facing window of your house and backlight it so the world can see your house's spooky new tenants. There a few ways you can do this: just turn on the lights or hang a strand of orange or purple lights in the window for a more festive air.
This one might be a little intense for kids. But if you want some really scary decorations--no cutesy pumpkins or friendly ghosts--than this one is for you. You're going to make a realistic looking fake body wrapped in a trash bag. All you need is big opaque garbage bags, newspaper, and duct tape or string. The first step is to stuff the trash bag nearly full using newspapers. Make it coffin-shaped, a little wider at one end than the other. To shape it into a body, form a ball the size of a head at the thick end, then tape around where the neck would be with duct tape or tie it with string. Make a wider ring of tape for the shoulders, then keep taping in rings all the way down to the feet, getting narrower and narrower as you go. All that's left is to display your victim wherever you want (propped up on the porch, hanging from a tree, or simply lying in the yard) and hope nobody calls the police.
There are a hundred ways to decorate your house to reflect your true love of the scariest holiday. Any of these five ideas will be enough to have those neighborhood kids calling your house the Halloween House well into November, so get out there and put your own personal spin on them. Happy Halloween!