Last minute spooky decorations for your home

There’s something about Halloween that seems to bring out the spirit of creativity in all of us. From crazy costumes and ghoulish decorations to spooky snacks and creepy parties, this is one holiday that screams fun.

The big day is nearly upon us, so have you got your decorations planned? Fear not. With these easy yet creative decorating ideas, you can pull together a spooky display well before the trick-or-treaters turn up.

Make your front yard a spooky sight — Adding decorations to your front door, walkway or yard helps signal to costumed kids in your neighbourhood that you’re ready to shell out candy. Make sure your driveway, walkway and steps are clear of any obstacles, including slippery, wet leaves, and that it’s well lit, for safety. Then add some of these simple decorations to get the fun started:

• Mummify your front door: Wrap your door from top to bottom in white streamers, overlapping to make it look like a mummy. Cut circles from white construction paper and smaller ones from black to create eyes.

• Make a Harry Potter-sized spider. Stuff black garbage bags with something light (such as those leaves littering your lawn) and tie into the head and body of a spider. Cut another bag into strips for legs, or stuff several into skinny shapes and attach them to the body. Add paper cut-outs for eyes and fangs and then dangle the creepy crawler from a tree, or simply place it in a menacing position on the lawn.

• Add eerie eyes to your garden. Cut eye shapes into empty toilet paper or paper towel rolls. Crack some glow sticks so they glow, pop one into each roll and place them in your shrubs to peek out at trick-or-treaters. So easy!

Bring the Halloween spirit inside — Even if you’re not hosting a huge Halloween bash, it’s fun to bring the frightful feeling of the holiday into your home for a night. Here are some quick ideas to add fun-house flair to your décor:

• Hang glowing ghouls all around. Here’s another quick and easy idea for your glow sticks: Crack them so they glow and insert into white or pale-coloured balloons. Blow them up and draw on faces with black marker. Hang your glowing ghosts up and turn out the lights for a creepy effect.

• Add horrible handprints to your windows. Create “bloody” handprints by placing your palm on a plate of white craft glue mixed with red food colouring. When dry, peel the prints off and they will cling to a window to haunt your house. Create gory drips or splatters the same way.

• Create a pretty pumpkin bouquet. Not all Halloween decorations have to be scary. For a creative floral display, cut the top off a pumpkin and scoop out just enough seeds and pulp to be able to insert a small potted plant, such as a chrysanthemum. Or, drop in a short vase or empty, clean tin can and add a fresh flower bouquet. Can’t resist the spooky theme? Use roses turned black for your bouquet.

Carve up a jack-o’-lantern in no time — You can place carved and lit-up pumpkins indoors, in a window, on your porch or front walkway to add bright touches to your Halloween decorations. Get a head start with a pumpkin-carving primer from Martha Stewart, download free stencils, widely available online, or try one of these tips:

• Vampire pumpkin in a snap. Carve a mouth opening big enough to insert fake vampire teeth into. Scoop out just enough goop to pop in the teeth, add eyes with markers, paint or even thumbtacks, and voilà!

• Raid the Christmas decorations. Rather than the traditional candle (or safer flameless option), try using strings of white LED Christmas lights (the ones that don’t get hot) to illuminate your pumpkin creations. (Warning: They may get goopy.) Feeling more ambitious? Make a pattern of small holes with your drill and insert each light for a fancy effect. 

• Use cookie cutters as stencils. Rather than downloading and tracing stencils onto your gourds, press your cookie cutters into service. Push a cookie cutter partway into the outside of a scooped-out pumpkin, then follow up with your knife or other carving tool to cut out a perfect shape. Repeat all over the pumpkin for a fabulous patterned look.

No time to carve a pumpkin? No problem — While carving jack-o’-lanterns is a classic Halloween activity, there are lots of reasons to forego it. It’s messy, takes time and can put you at risk from a slippery knife. Luckily, there are great ways to decorate pumpkins without scooping gooey guts or reaching for bandages.

• Meet Mr. Pumpkin Head. Do you have little ones in the house that play with Mr Potato Head toys? Simply borrow some of the spud’s features and accessories and use them to make faces on your pumpkins. (Your local dollar store or party store may even have pieces created just for this purpose.) You can also dive into your costume drawer and use any mask, fake moustache, hat, etc., to add personality to your pumpkin.

• Go for a gothic pumpkin. Pumpkins are now widely available in white, as well as the traditional orange. Slip a black lace or fishnet stocking over a white pumpkin to create the creepy feeling of an old, dusty attic.

• Weave a web around your pumpkin. Here’s a super-quick idea: simply wrap kitchen twine or string around a pumpkin to mimic a spider web. Add a plastic or home-made spider or two and you’re done!

With very little time and effort you can pull together some of these quick, easy decorations to help you celebrate a fun, haunted holiday.

Happy Halloween!

— SmartMoves, Canada Post.