Lights, Creepy Hands, Action: Halloween for Nothing

You can decorate and stage a spirited for Halloween for next to nothing and still have the spookiest spot on the block. I should know, we have been doing this for decades. Start with a scary backdrop. We bought heavy drapes that had seen better days at a local thrift store and dyed them, badly (and on purpose) with gray and black dye. We then ripped them up a bit to make them look tattered and old and well, scary. Once a year, we haul them out and hang them up on the front porch overhang. Trick or treaters must part the drapes in order to get to our front door. That’s the first step in cheap Halloween décor, set the stage for scary.

Next step, get some scary music. We use an old CD player and a CD we have had for ages that simply plays scary sounds. Woo-woo. We don’t bring out the CD player but a couple of times a year and the CD gets used once a year so the wear and tear is pretty low. You can use your Smart Phone but then you would have to position it close to the front porch somehow. Easier to hide an old CD player under the plants and Halloween décor in your front yard somewhere. And you don’t risk some intrepid preteen ripping off your phone.

Get witchy. Or scare-crow-y. Take an old shirt and pair of pants or a long black dress and stuff them with paper or plastic bags or even other clothes. Top with an old hat and/or wig. It’s a make your own witch or crone or scare crow. We also used an old rubber mask with a haggard witch face to complete our witch. We used to prop ours up on an outdoor bench until one year my daughter dressed up as the same witch, sat still on the very same bench and scared the life out of the kids who came calling, thinking it was the same old witch we’d propped up. Epic scare.

We line our driveway with old tin cans that we’ve punched holes in and place dollar store lights inside. We have also created a little cemetery with foam core headstones and rubber rats strategically placed. I confess I forgot to pick up one of the fake rats one year and a week later walked out front to pick up a package and nearly did a backflip before I realized ratty wasn’t real. So not funny. Since then, I’ve gotten rid of my rat décor. It just isn’t worth the fear factor it creates for me personally.

I have talked about pumpkins before this entry and want to reiterate that you don’t have to cut them open to decorate them and use them later for food. Old hats, wigs, stick on face parts, you can reuse that pumpkin and get a lot of meat from it. I advise to wait until the day of Halloween or the day before to buy your pumpkins. They are usually on sale then and you can often get the ugliest and most deformed squash at that time. The more deformed the better.

Now, you don’t have to dress up much to scare the kids. My advice is when the doorbell rings, open it incredibly slowly, let the door creak…curl your hand around the door and slowly, slowly open the door. I usually have green makeup on my hands which makes kids go nuts. Creak, creak, slowly now. By the time you open the door with a bowl of candy and a smile on your face, the neighborhood kids will be quaking with fear.

And isn’t that what All Hollow’s Eve is all about?

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