Make it a Festive Halloween

Madelyn Posey SWQ Autumn 2018

When I was growing up as a kid, there were a few houses that will forever stick in my memory as the place to go on my trick-or-treating route. They were always decorated, a little spooky, and the owners were in costume. Today, I try to be that house for the kids in my neighborhood. I spend one afternoon every fall gathering my spookiest items and decorate the inside and outside of my home.

On Halloween night we get dressed up (I am always a witch) and we sit out on the front porch and anxiously await the kids. It doesn’t have to take any money to dress up your place and you can add to your Halloween decor throughout the year. Often times I find old windows, shutters, even doors on the side of the road. I collect them and add to my Halloween stash!

At antique stores and garage sales I look for the unusual, the oddities that I know can create a spooky effect. Saving things like old curtains can even add to your decorations as ripped up fabric can make for an eerie backdrop.

To set the mood on Halloween I light candles in the house, on the front porch and down the front steps. A candelabra lit with drippy wax candles, and old lanterns are among the decorations. If you happen to have a staircase that meets your front door, consider turning off all the lights, and have candles line the edge of the stairs in lanterns or jars.

When someone knocks at the door, have someone open it while another is walking slowly down the stairs dressed in black with only a flashlight illuminating their spooky painted face. Maybe it is a vampire, a witch, or an alien that will greet the kids at the door.

Also don’t forget about how music can set the tone for spook. I like to find a pipe organ channel on Pandora and blast it as loud as my neighbors can take it. Nothing is creepier than a dark house with loud pipe organ music.

If you like Halloween as much as you did as a kid then be the house that kids will remember. We have now included friends in our tradition only requiring a costume in order to participate. So start collecting for your Halloween stash and you will be the house that is remembered for life!

On our front porch, I hung strips of old ripped up fabric and cobwebs. Its better to do this earlier in the month as it gives the leaves sometime to blow around and stick in the cobwebs. Don’t rake the yard until after Halloween. The more unkept it looks the better the show! Pumpkins (carved or not) line the stairs and an old lantern found at a garage sale is lit with a pillar candle. A candelabra with drippy wax candles is all that will light the porch. The old door and shutters were found on the side of the road and add a nice abandoned feel. Our porch chairs have also been made to look shabby by draping old scraps of fabric. I like to light small tea lights in each of the windows in the front of our house and leave the lights off. Skulls of all shapes and sizes can be found at your local craft store and sometimes even at garage sales! We sit in the chairs on the porch dressed as ghouls, witches, and warlocks. And don’t forget the organ music!


Whether you’re looking to throw a Halloween party or you’re in the mood to incorporate some spooky decor into your home here are a few ways to make your house look like the chicest ghost hangout around.

• Spray-paint fake flowers, sticks and vases for a dark sinister vibe.

• When nobody has lived in a house for years, homeowners will often throw sheets over their furniture to protect the pieces from sun damage and dust. You can do the same, and I guarantee your guests will be totally creeped out.

• Sprinkle dried Spanish moss on your furniture to make it look as though nobody has been around for ages. You can buy bags of moss at craft supply stores.

• Old photographs can be found at yard sales and antique shops. Nothing is creepier than old black and white photos of folks from long ago. You can even use old family photos if you have any in frames.

• Adding a meat grinder to the table decor is always a nice touch. This one came from my grandmothers house!

• Consider changing the lightbulbs in your home over to Edison bulbs. It will keep the light dim and sets people back in time. This one is from Historic Houseparts.