How To: Decorate for Halloween

Halloween – it’s the one time of the year when homeowners purposely decrease the curb appeal of their homes. The one time when trimming the hedges and cleaning the clutter may actually increase the likelihood of people stopping in. But aside from procrastinating on that weekend yard work, there are a few things a homeowner can do to Halloween up their household to ensure all those little ghosts and ghouls don’t take their trick or treating elsewhere.

Jack-o’-lanterns

Like a Christmas tree on December 25, gutting a gourd for All Hallows’ Eve has become an integral part of the experience. Whether you choose to pattern your pumpkin in the classic form, sporting triangle eyes and a gap-toothed grin, or go for something more elaborate, any Halloween home decoration ideas should begin with a jack-o-lantern. When looking for a good carving candidate, be sure to check all sides of the pumpkin before purchasing to make sure there are no soft spots or mould. It’s also a good idea to set the pumpkin on a flat surface to ensure it will stand upright. When looking for carving ideas, a great place to start is www.zombiepumpkins.com. For a small fee, the site offers nearly 300 stencils along with instructions on how to get the most out your gourd.

Ghosts

Next to the time honoured tradition of adorning your home with an eviscerated vegetable, strewing up the odd spirit here and there is another great way to make your yard a little more supernatural. For those wanting to take a more DIY route from the ready made inflatable and wooden cut-out versions available in stores, spirits can be conjured up from household materials. For the apparition itself, cheesecloth or white sheet can be a good substitute. To give your ghost a skeleton of sorts, attach a dowel or two yardsticks to a broom handle, and insert into the ground. Stick a foam ball onto the top of the broom grimace, cut eyes and a mouth from black cloth or construction paper and glue on.

Headstones

In order to have your spirits rise from the grave, they’re going to need a grave to rise from. Domestic decoration diva Martha Stewart recommends carving tombstones from polystyrene insulation. For some design inspiration, Calgarians can take part in one of the city’s free cemetery tours by calling 403-221-3660 or emailing CalgaryCemeteries@ calgary.ca. Once you have your design, sand with medium-grit sandpaper for texture before painting a suitable shade. Use a thin brush and black paint to add details of your demons’ demise or any special messages from the hereafter. Finally, drive stakes or dowels into your chosen burial plot, then push the the base of your tombstone into them to create your ghosts’ not-so-final resting place.

Cobwebs

If you’ve ever watched any decent ghost stories, you’ll know that haunted houses and cobwebs go together like Halloween candy and stomach aches. Perhaps the simplest of all Halloween crafts, quality cobwebs can be made using nothing but plain old cotton balls. To give your yard or home that classic haunted house look, gather up any unused cotton balls or purchase a bag of fake stretchable cobweb material and string to maximum effect. To add a little gore to your webs, attach the odd plastic spider, bat or severed limb as needed. If using any candles, ensure that webs are kept clear of the flames.

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