So, with Halloween fast approaching you may be thinking about really cool ways to “spookify” your house. All those little ghosts and goblins that come to your door will be amazed, and hopefully spooked by your efforts.
Creative decorating is so much fun around seasonal themes like Halloween, however, one thing you must always keep in mind is safety. This is especially true if you’ll be having a number of young visitors to your home.
Here are seven ways to make your house really “spooktacular” this Halloween and still make it very safe for everyone.
Step 1 – Giant Spider Web
Make an oversize spider web over your front porch using clothesline style rope. Be sure that the rope is secure and high enough off of the ground so no one will hit their head on it. Place a giant spider in the web and shine an outdoor light on the web to draw attention to it. If you can, shine the light so the web casts a dramatic shadow. Keep all electrical cords safely tacked to the ground and out of the way of walkers.
Step 2 – Jack O’Lanterns Galore
It is so much fun to design and carve pumpkins. Try lining your front porch or even your front walkway with a collection of hand-carved pumpkins. To light them up choose a battery operated tea light over a candle – this is a far safer option than a flame. Keep the pumpkins in a visible location and away from foot traffic so that no one trips.
Step 3 – Ghost in the Garden
This ghost is really cool and would look great stuck in a garden. Craft the frame for the ghost by using a paint roller extension stick and two wooden yard sticks. It is easier to drive the paint roller extension stick into the ground first and attach the yard sticks with wire. Be sure the stake is secure and the location you have selected for the ghost is out of the way of foot traffic. Push a foam ball on the pole for a head. Attach smaller balls to the yardsticks for the ghosts hands. Drape the cheesecloth over the frame until you’re happy with the look. Spray the head and hands with spray starch so that the cloth will stick – allow the rest of the cloth to flow freely. (If it is a breezy night it will look like it is moving.) Use black felt to create eyes and a mouth. If the area is really dark, light up your ghost friend with a low wattage outdoor spotlight. Be sure to place cords safely away from foot traffic and secure them to the ground.
Step 4 – Eyeball Lighting
Add some spooky lighting to your Halloween decor easily and cost effectively by making your own eyeball lights. With a string of Christmas lights, some ping pong balls and a few Sharpies, you will have some nasty looking themed lights. Simply turn each ping pong ball into an eyeball using the markers and use an exacto-knife to make as small “X” on the bottom of each ball. Set each ping pong ball on top of an individual Christmas light on the strand. Hang the lights securely and well out of the way of people and be sure you use the proper type of outdoor extension cord if necessary. Don’t leave the lights on for any longer than a few hours at a time.
Step 5 – Haunted Luminaries
Line the curb in front of your home with luminaries that are sure to grab the attention of passersby. Make your own luminaries byspray painting tin cans and metal punching them with eery images of ghosts or evil eyes. The key to safe use of luminaries, either homemade or purchased is to use a battery operated tea light inside as opposed to a real candle. Young trick o’ treaters tend to be very curious and may injure themselves on an open flame.
Step 6 – Dummy in a Rocking Chair
Set a rocking chair by the front door with a dummy sitting in it. You can easily make a really spooky dummy by stuffing old clothes and using a stick and a large foam ball for a head. Cover the head with a mask and the hands with gloves and secure the dummy to the chair using string or wire. Tie a piece of fishing line to the rocker and when visitors come close you can make your dummy rock. Be sure that the string is away from any walking paths and there are no stairs close by that someone could fall down as a result of being scared.
Step 7 – Fog Machine
DIY fog machines are a popular way to add ambiance to your spooky display. The key to using these machines is to be sure that you still have a visible walkway for people and that the fog will not hinder their safe walking.
If you’re using dry ice, be very careful with it. It’s around 109 degrees below zero and will burn any exposed skin. Never put it in your mouth. Make sure children are supervised near it and wear heavy gloves when you handle it.
Also, use it in a well ventilated area. Dry ice is condensed carbon dioxide and shouldn’t be used in enclosed spaces like cars or sealed rooms. It can fill up an inclosed space and suffocate you. Let it fill up the floor of your porch and spill down the steps, where is can safely dissipate.