How to Decorate Your Backyard for Halloween to Be the Go-To House

Maybe you like being scared. You play spooky smartphone games with the lights off, screeching with delight with each pop-up that makes you jump. Now, you want to bring it home. It’s time to learn how to decorate your backyard for Halloween to make your address the go-to destination in the neighborhood.

If you participate in Halloween, you’re not alone. About 70 percent of Americans share your passion. In contrast, almost half don’t want to fork out cash for decorations for Christmas. Is Ebenezer Scrooge in the building?

Of course, the breakdown of expenditures differs between the two holidays. Costumes are the top purchase. After all, who wants to dress up in the same costume year-after-year? Decorations, on the other hand, make up about one-third of what Americans buy for Halloween.

So, what do you need to know about how to decorate your backyard for Halloween? You’ve got questions; we have answers.

Step 1: Make a Plan

Halloween follows popularity trends like just about anything in pop culture. Social media fuels them with a fury. It doesn’t take much for something cool and new to go viral and become the thing that everyone must get.

That’s good news for retailers. Annual expenditure on the holiday nearly topped $9 billion in 2019.

It also means that you’re going to pay a price. That’s why it’s essential to have a plan to avoid getting caught up in the spirit of the holiday and spending a bit too much. After all, Christmas is right around the corner.

Your plan should include the following parts:

  • Set a budget
  • Do your research
  • Decide on your theme
  • Buy your supplies
  • Decorate your home

Let’s talk about each one in detail with tips to help you make informed choices.

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Step 2: Set a Budget

Being realistic about what you can spend is a vital step when considering how to decorate your backyard for Halloween. Keep in mind that Halloween flows with the trends more so than other holidays like Christmas or Thanksgiving.

That means you’ll likely be updating your decorations every year. No one wants to be yesterday’s news. Besides, you need to have something new with a scare as a factor. If we’ve seen it once, we won’t be fooled again. Hey, wait. That could be a song. It’ll never catch on.

Another thing to bear in mind is that Halloween is the domain of the DIY and homemade items. You see that with costumes and decorations. Perhaps, it harkens back to the rustic roots that make it an excellent fit. Many of the memes are classic with longstanding traditions. And we can’t forget the fact that adding something new to the mix is another way to scare someone.

Suprise is a key element that you have when you go this route. It also gives you the opportunity to switch out the oh-hum parts of your display with something new that will get everyone’s attention. Christmas lacks this factor on a lot of scores. With Halloween, you can play it to your advantage.

Step 3: Do Your Research

This part is our favorite of everything we need to do for finding out how to decorate your backyard for Halloween. Browse the blogs, Pinterest, and any of your favorite social media feeds to find inspiration. It will help with the next step. Also, think of it as a way to find an alternative, in case your go-to plan turns out to be too expensive for your budget.

You did set a budget, right?

The fact remains that the definition of “scary” evolves. We might think aliens as hokey now, but there was a time when it was frightening for all age groups. We still see the remnants of this time with the age-old bomb shelter stocked with freeze-dried goods.

We’d suggest toeing the line carefully between modern-day scary and things we can dismiss as fiction if just to prevent the kids from having nightmares. You’d don’t need to go wild about what you choose.

A list of the top phobias is an excellent place to start. Commercial haunted houses know this concept well. The most feared ones include:

  • Dark
  • Snakes
  • Heights
  • Spiders
  • Thunder and lightning

They are easy things to incorporate in your theme and make your backyard even scarier. The best way to use them is with the element of surprise. Set them up where your visitors won’t expect to see them. That will amplify their effect.

Step 4: Decide on Your Theme

Halloween means opportunities. There are so many different paths you can take with this starting point. Many themes start with common fears that we all have. We get a chance to confront them in a seemingly safe situation.

Things to consider include:

  • How scary to make it based on your expected audience
  • What concept you want to embrace whether it’s monsters, aliens, or something else
  • The elements you need to pull it off, whether it’s just decorations, automation, or live actors
  • The time and effort to pull off what you want to create
  • How lighting can enhance the effects

The first one is a vital consideration. Think about who in the neighborhood is likely to come trick-or-treating at your house. It’s likely a mixed bag. If you want to make it scary, consider having a kid-friendly time before pulling out all the stops for the older kids—and adults.

You can pick your backyard decorations to go with a specific theme, such as Dracula’s castle, an alien spaceship, and an old-fashioned haunted house. We love the latter because of all the possibilities it offers.

Think about how someone will go through your layout and make adjustments as necessary. For example, set up a scene to make a person pause and look. Follow it with a scare that will make them jump. The screams will create that sense of excitement for the next person waiting to get their treat.

You can always mix things up to add to the scares. That hairy spider or slithering snake works with any them and is sure to garner some screams.

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Last update on 2022-08-02 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


Step 5: Buy Your Supplies

We strongly urge you to look for DIY or homemade versions of any element you want to add to your Halloween decor. Unlike Christmas, Halloween is only one day, although some want to extend it, especially if it has the unfortunate consequence of falling on a weekday.

That means you’re likely to pay a lot more for your Halloween decorations, especially if they are the trendy ones for that year. Don’t fall for the hype.

It’s worth noting that some of the best Halloween tricks are the unseen elements. If you’ve ever seen the movie, “The Haunting of Hill House,” you know what you mean. There’s never a ghost or monster that you see stalking anyone. And that’s what makes it so scary. Imagination is your best tool when thinking about how to decorate your backyard for Halloween.

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Step 6: Decorate Your Home

Here’s the fun part when you see your ideas come to fruition. We’d suggest setting up everything a few days before it goes live to make adjustments or additions as necessary. Inevitably, something goes wrong or the lighting isn’t just right. Remember that you’ll likely have only one chance to make an impression. Make sure that it counts.

You might consider doing a dress rehearsal with a friend or family member who can give you the necessary feedback to make it right.

Tips for Pulling it All Together

The essential thing to remember is that you want everyone to play it safe—even if you want to scare them. Remember that your visitors are distracted because their attention is focused on what is going to jump out at them. To prevent injuries, keep the following things in mind:

  • Make sure any electric cords are taped down to prevent accidental falls.
  • Avoid using strobe lights, which are a potential migraine trigger.
  • Station actors wherever there is a hazard.
  • Roll with the flow and tone it down for kiddies.
  • Let your neighbors know what you’re planning.
  • Consider having a relaxing space for the parents while the kids explore the sites.

Final Thoughts

We must confess. If it weren’t for the gifts and yummy cooking, Halloween would oust Christmas as our favorite holiday. We’ll also admit that it has a certain macabre feel about it. After all, having a realistic arm hanging out of your trunk any other time of the year would likely get you arrested or at least stopped.

The holiday is all about facing our fears. We revel in the thrills that it incites. We love being scared and walking away from it, knowing all is well. That is the secret to how to decorate your backyard for Halloween and make it fun for everyone. Even if you’re not the target, you’ll enjoy making it a spooky experience for anyone who trick-or-treats at your house. Boo!