Halloween will be upon us very shortly, and depending on your neighbourhood, hundreds of ghouls and goblins will soon be knocking upon your creaky door.
First of all, buy candy. Then you’d better get busy decorating because parents and kids are very choosy today. They only go to the houses that are decorated, and if your house doesn’t make the A-list, they’ll just go sailing by, leaving you to gorge on your goodies in wretched (but yummy) isolation.
Second of all, concentrate on the front door, and on pulling in those trick-or-treaters. The first requirement is light.
You’d think low lighting would be spooky, but in fact, what you are looking for is lighting that attracts and says, “Come to my haunted home and I’ll give you candy, and maybe a couple of chills along the way.”
Lots of weird and spooky lighting is definitely good, but nothing overly bright. Cover the porch light with a ghost-like gauzy sheet. Then consider pulling out your holiday lights to light up your pumpkins. Forget the pumpkin disembowlment for this year (messy and time-consuming), and draw or paint on faces instead. Then wrap holiday lights in red, orange, white or black fabric and place them around pumpkins to produce a wonderfully spooky effect.
To fill it out a little more, use a few props on the front porch or near the door. Along with pumpkins and perhaps a few gourds or corn stalks, a scarecrow fashioned of old clothes stuffed with crumpled up newspaper is wonderfully easy to put together with things you have at home.
If you prefer another theme, you might also consider making your porch into a giant spider’s lair. You can buy the webbing very cheaply at a dollar store, and you might fashion large spiders from black balloons or garbage bags stuffed with paper, and add legs and red eyes. You can add silk-covered “prey” to the spider web if you wish.
I also enjoy the idea of a wreath of black flowers on the front door. These can be made by hand of construction paper, or you may buy fabric flowers and have the kids colour them black with magic marker.
And how about installing a deceased “lady” in a black dress seated beside the door with a bouquet of black roses? Again, old clothing stuffed with newspapers is brilliant.
Other themes will work too of course, like the graveyard with cardboard gravestones, or a convention of ghosts made of sheets draped over balloons, tied up under the head and hung from trees, for example.
Presto, you’re ready just in time. Have a great Halloween!