It’s fun to get into the spirit of Halloween because there are no sticky rules when it comes to costumes, candy (and what time of day you consume it) or decorating your home.
Halloween was once known as “All Hallows’ Eve,” an evening where people would light bonfires and wear costumes to ward off ghosts. All Hallows’ Eve (meaning saints) is celebrated on October 31st and precedes the Christian All Saints’ Day or All Souls’ Day (November 2), which commemorates the faithfully departed (the souls of Christians who have died).
Nowadays, we take our kids trick-or-treating, throw parties and deck out our homes in spooky décor.
When it comes to decorating your home for Halloween, it helps to have a theme. Your theme can be classic, the stuff of nightmares, organic, elegant or a style nod to National Lampoon’s Griswold family. For many neighbours, it’s a cut-throat competition of who can outdo the other with inflatables, expansive graveyards and live zombies lurking in dark corners.
Here’s a helpful guide to dressing up your house this Halloween.
Remember when Halloween was a little bit scary but mostly witches and a few Draculas? Keep things kid-friendly with a carnival atmosphere. Set up stations for gummy worm counting, pumpkin bowling and a wrap the mummy contest. Hold a scavenger hunt for candy or rent a popcorn machine and host an outdoor screening of the 1966 staple, It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. For the adults? Serve headless gingerbread men and caramel apple cocktails.
The stuff of nightmares
Cue up the colony of bats, rats and bloody mannequins. Glow-in-the-dark paint, ghosts made out of chicken wire and a black-light spotlight add an extra creepy factor to ghouls suspended in trees. Create your own “shelf of gross” with a collection of mismatched jars featuring submerged fake teeth, rubber snakes and gelatin brains. Plastic bones and a bag of topsoil are just the fixings to suggest recent escapees from the graves in your yard.
If ghouls and goblins aren’t your jam, how about going the organic route? Arrange odd-shaped gourds, corn stalks bundled with raffia ribbon, potted mums and ornamental cabbages. Line your pathway with the buttery glow of paper bag lanterns, weighted with stones and lit with battery-operated tea lights. Stencil pumpkins with silhouettes of ravens or owls in flight and fill vintage galvanized wash basins with McIntosh apples for the taking.
Griswold family approved
This no holds barred, everything-goes design is one that allows for strobe lights, a spooky soundtrack of revving chainsaws and spiderwebs sticky enough to catch small children. Don’t feel limited to just your front step — the Griswold vision is all-encompassing. Use scrap wood or Styrofoam on stakes to create your own tombstones. If you’re really ambitious and mechanically inclined, rig up a flying witch on your rooftop or one of these spiders.
If going overboard isn’t your game, try going glam and embrace home décor that walks the line between eerie and elegant. Skip the plastic pumpkins and opt for white pumpkins that you can leave plain or decorate with beautiful designs. Use empty wine bottles as spooky candle holders and throw in some gold or silver accents (like cups, candle holders or even spray painted pumpkins) for good measure. Don’t forget a rustic Halloween wreath for the front door.