Many transformations occur during the month of October. Leaves begin to turn various shades of orange and red, while the weather gets decidedly cooler. In the meantime, neighborhoods across the country begin to look quite different, with many homes decked out in the garish garb of Halloween.

Decorating for Halloween has become big business, with consumers spending a collective $10.6 billion in this category in the United States in 2022, according to a survey conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics and the National Retail Federation. Decorations, particularly outdoor decorations, were the second most popular way to celebrate Halloween (number one is with candy, of course).

Halloween is an opportunity to pull out all the stops for this fun fall celebration. The following tips can help to turn any home into a Halloween haunt to remember.

Shop smart. Advice that future you can use: The best time to buy Halloween or any type of holiday decorations is the day after the holiday when prices get slashed (pun intended). You can save anywhere from 50 to 70 percent when buying late in the season. And as always, shop sustainably for objects you will want to use year after year. Avoid disposable decorations like plastic thread cobwebs, which can harm backyard birds.

Simply set the scene. Start with a scene setter if you would like to decorate both inside and out. Scene setters are plastic or paper backdrops that can be tacked up on walls to make a house look completely different, particularly under low light. A scene setter is an investment of time and money, but it can be reused each year and really make a room take on a new look quickly.

Set the atmosphere with lights. It’s possible to make a big impact with minimal effort. Lighting, or lack thereof, can create a spooky atmosphere. Swap existing porch lights with yellow or even black lights so everything glows. Candles flickering can add mystery. Place some battery-powered or electric candles in windows for an eerie feel. Swap out your typical curtains with purple or black ones to drape the house in eerie appeal.

Keep it safe. However, if you will be welcoming trick or treaters, don’t let the darkness overtake your entryway. Line walkways with colored fairy or string lights. Keep the porch and front yard clear of tripping hazards, such as garden hoses, decorations and toys. Sweep away leaves and branches to prevent tripping or slipping.

Wait on the carved pumpkins. Halloween would not be Halloween without jack-o’-lanterns. But pumpkins often begin to degrade shortly after they’re first carved. Use artificial pumpkins if you want to decorate early or avoid the whole, messy affair of sculpting fruit; otherwise, wait until a day or two before Halloween to add freshly carved pumpkins to the Halloween scape.

Spooky silhouettes. Back-lit silhouettes made of cardboard or another thick paper can cause visitors to take a second look. Prop them up in windows or place them at the end of dark hallways to create the feeling that someone is watching.

DIY floating candles. Simulate the look of levitating candles with an easy craft. Take toilet paper or paper towel cardboard tubes and use hot glue on the top to make it look like beads of dripping wax. Paint the tubes with white chalk paint, as this type of paint is thick and covers easily. Glue a battery-powered tea light to the top for the wick. Poke a hole through both sides of the tube and thread some fishing line through. Use your mounting device of choice to attach the fishing line to the ceiling indoors or outside to hang each candle. When the lights are dim, it’s very difficult to see the fishing line and the candles will appear to be floating.

Paper roll treat holders. Another use for those cardboard tubes is to transform them into monster treat holders. Great for party favors or to give out to neighborhood trick-or-treaters, this is also a fun all ages craft. Cover the bottoms of the rolls with masking tape so treats won’t fall out. Paint the outside of the cardboard rolls and let dry. An alternative is to cover the rolls in colored paper for less messy fun. Then use markers or paper cut-outs to form faces of the monsters. Fill the rolls with treats, then stuff a piece of tissue paper in each top to add even more personality to the creations and hide the treats inside.

Handprints. Use window-safe paint to create bloody or ghostly handprints on the inside of windows. This is a design touch that will enhance both the interior and exterior of the windows.

Haunted archway. Make an arch using PVC pipes or buy one from a garden center, and thread through jack-o’-lanterns, creepy masks, doll parts, or dead and dried flowers to create an ominous arch that greets visitors.

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