Do you want to make a Halloween yard? Halloween yards are a fantastic way of celebrating Halloween! If you are having a Halloween party, a specially decorated yard is even better, since this will help set the mood for your guests.
For a great Halloween yard, it helps to have a medium to large sized yard. But even small yards will work. To get started, you need a plan for your yard. Do you want major props and decorations in your yard or just a few things scattered here and there? Do you want a fully developed yard, or simply one specific area containing your Halloween decorations? You will also want to consider whether you want a particular theme for your Halloween yard, or something more general. A special theme might be a haunted house look, ghosts and witches, or something along a fall seasonal yard that includes some Halloween items.
When you have some ideas nailed down, you might want to sketch out a rough draft before actually buying or making props, and before starting to put out all of your decorations. Decide where and how you want the yard to look. Figure how and where things will fit, and if you might want to change something. It’s much easier to make changes on a piece of paper, than to pick up and move several armloads of props and decorations. It’s easier, still, to see how your plans will look on paper, and whether or not you want to make changes, than trying to arrange as you go. This can get confusing and very frustrating.
Once you have at least a basic idea of what you’re trying to accomplish, you’re ready to assemble a host of decorations and props. If time is a factor, you might want to go out and buy what you need. This will save on time, and could even save some money, if you don’t forget to look beyond the traditional stores. There are usually some great items to be found in thrift stores, yard sales, and flea markets. Don’t overlook any possible source. This allows you the best possible prices, and a neat assortment of things from which to choose.
Or, you may choose, instead, to build everything from scratch. Yard decorations are not hard to make. Groundbreakers are decorations made to be partially buried, like zombies, vampires and other “living dead” props that you want to appear as though they are coming up out of the ground. And these are a great idea! They are usually unexpected and can cause quite a fright for your visitors, especially if they are partially concealed behind something your guests must pass around. You might even consider adding some movement and sounds to your props, to further the scare factor enjoyed.
Tombstones are also a great idea to use. You can make them with relative ease, using Styrofoam sheets, cardboard, etc. And, with these, you can build a grave quite easily. You may dig a hole, place solid objects (i.e. rocks, cans, etc.) and cover them up. This allows your “grave” to be raised above the ground, appearing more realistic. If you’d rather not do any digging, simply use sand, potting soil or other dirt, to pile into a grave-shape, adding more realism to your gravesite. If you choose a buried grave, or one actually above ground, you want to pack it down carefully, especially if you think visitors to your yard might happen to walk across them. You don’t want any guests to accidentally fall. And, even without accompanying graves, a yard full of tombstones makes the perfect “graveyard.”
Another good idea is to buy or make skeletons to place around your yard. Dummies are not a bad idea either, and are quite easy to make. Simply take old clothes (the older and more tattered the better!) and stuff them with whatever you have handy. Add a mask, and you’re all set. Then, prop them up around your yard, in whatever poses and actions you think will best fit with your theme yard. You might even want to use skeletons or dummies to be temporary drivers for your vehicles. Prop one up in your car, truck, open trunk, or on top of a tractor, the list is endless. Just take a look around your yard. What do you have that would work well with this idea?
Ghosts are really easy to make, as well. Take white fabric (old sheets work really well!) and cut or tear them into the size appropriate for the size of your ghosts. Find something of substance and cover with the sheet. You may use a ball, stuff newspapers, almost anything that achieves the size of the “head” that you want. Then, place the object in the center and draw the edges and corners of your fabric around, allowing the excess fabric to hang down for the flowing effect. Once you have a good selection to work with, simply hang them anywhere you can find space. Use tree branches, edges of the house, antenna of a car, off the mailbox. Just use your imagination.
Other decorations to consider would be bales of hay, stuffed scarecrows, pumpkins, scattered straw, monsters, spider webs, witches, etc. Use whatever materials you have at hand, and decorate it all to your heart’s content. You might want to scatter all of the decorations, place them all in one central decorated place, or design a type of haunted yard that your guests must wind through to reach your door. If you want to have at least a little something, but don’t want to go to the time, work and expense of an elaborate set-up, a simple Halloween flag hung by your door is decorative and appealing. It’s all up to you, depending on what you want to do, what materials you have to use, and how you want your yard to look.
As you work your yard plan and carefully place your decorations, there are some cautions to keep in mind, both in the building and in the maintenance of your Halloween yard:
1. Lights and/or candles – use caution in anything that could pose a fire hazard. Keep a close eye on any of these things. You also want to make sure that any moving or heavy props will not pose a danger to your guests, either in accidentally falling, or in any instability that might cause a fall if a guest gets a little too close. Protect your guests, as well as your own home and family.
2. Pets – anything not securely fastened to something is sure to attract the attention of your (and your neighbors’) pets. If it is enticing enough, you can be sure some animal will take some time to explore, chewing here and there, and carrying off anything of personal enjoyment.
3. Theft – unfortunately, in our day and time, even the basic yard decorations will likely attract the attention of those you would prefer would move on down the road. As long as you have something of value and interest in your yard, there will be those people whose only interest is in stealing what you have, or in wrecking the entire scene. Plan some type of security for these things. Or at least prepare yourself for what might happen. This is one time when having pets (loud barking dogs!) would be to your advantage. If it is only for a short time, you might want to tie your dogs close to your decorations, but out of chewing range. The pets should alert you to any potential problems from unwanted visitors. (Just be kind to your pets!)
Anything you choose to do with your Halloween yard is sure to attract the delightful attention of kids of all ages. Let everyone enjoy your imagination and Halloween spirit! Use your own imagination and creativity. And let the child in you out for some happy playtime. It’s Halloween, and any holiday is a time to celebrate the season! You are only as limited as your imagination! Just use your best judgment and have fun!