Dressing up’s the name of the game on Halloween, but it’s just as much fun to dress up the front of the house.
With some imagination and a mix of purchased and handmade embellishments, you’ll be setting a suitably spooky stage for Halloween visitors.
Victorian-age Halloween decor is a trend this year. Look for old-fashioned typography and paper decorations to string across the entryway, and gothic elements like wrought-iron fences, ravens and owls to create a vintage vibe along your walkway.
Martha Stewart Living has some downloadable templates to make your own gravestones. Target’s got a selection of great-looking plaster gargoyles.
You’ll find a variety of vintage-y outdoor decor at Pottery Barn, including caged-crow string lights and luminaries, antiqued mirror sconces, and lighted twig gates and spider webs.
Christine Hanlon, contributing design editor for the magazine Style at Home, created a “haute Halloween” look in the October issue by sticking to a chic black, white, chartreuse and purple color scheme.
Black spray-painted and white gourds, pots filled with tall ornamental grasses and black and white feathers, and natural raffia wreaths tied with amethyst ribbon set a sophisticated stage for the night’s festivities.
Fairy light strings in white – or orange and purple, if you want a dash of color – add a welcoming touch to your Halloween entrance.
Pier One has pretty light-wrapped pumpkins and trees, and a metallic pumpkin wreath, to welcome revelers.
Set the scary stage
If a haunted house look is what you’re after, consider draping Spanish moss, found at many nurseries and craft stores, along your railings. Spirit Halloween sells it by the boxful.
The retailer also stocks realistic-looking cemetery fence sections, and well-stocked graveyard kits with elements like skulls, tombstones, spiders and rats. Use burlap or cheesecloth to wrap posts and railings.
Grandin Road has some awesome zombies that seem to emerge from the ground, and a scary hanging man cocooned in cheesecloth for the tree branch.
Change out your porch light for a dramatic orange or red bulb, and frame the doorway with spider webs or crime-scene tape. Greet intrepid trick or treaters with an audio loop of spectral moans, crunching footsteps, thunder and howling wolves.
Feeling crafty? Go to DIYNetwork.com for instructions on how to make your own tombstones, lawn spiders and ghosts. Many of the projects are simple enough to involve even the younger family members.
In recent years, the iconic jack-o’-lantern has been reinterpreted in some very cool ways.
The triangle cutout face is a classic, but you can now find patterns for everything from flames to filigree. Martha Stewart Living offers instructions for creepy snake designs and pretty layered leaf patterns.
Better Homes & Gardens will donate money to worthy charities including the Humane Society, Big Brothers Big Sisters, and Rebuilding Together when you download a template for one of their custom-designed stencils.
Paint the pumpkin white and add a silhouette of a black cat, eyes or other Halloween image. Finish with construction paper ears and whiskers to make a creature.
Go bold with a graphic stripe or swirl motif. Add glitter to a gourd painted lime green or purple.
Stack several, and carve each pumpkin with either trunk or branch sections for a full-size glowing tree.
Or carve a message into each – whether they’re words of warning or welcome, you’ll be making a statement.