Many people keep certain holiday decorations from year to year, then add new ones. There’s the Christmas tree, ornaments for that, and perhaps a few well decorated and artificial pumpkins, Jack O’ Lanterns, and large black spiders for Halloween. Families often have a pumpkin carving fest and kids get a real kick out of creating those transitory pumpkins which are great for a week, then soften into a green and malodorous puddle when they start to decay. There’s room for permanent and temporary decorations for all seasons and holidays.
Craft stores have numerous basic pumpkin shapes made from either Paper Mache or Syrofoam Where these types shine is in a lovely mantel or window display which you can make yourself. After Halloween or Thanksgiving is over, pop the display into a plastic bag and seal it up, then store in a dry place. Dried gourds can also be used but they are nature’s own and eventually will deteriorate. For the mantel or window display, measure your space and cut a length of board to fit. Cover it neatly and totally with brown felt (fabric store) and fasten to board in back and at ends, kind of like a long, skinny package.
Choose either a few differently sized pumpkins and fall “greenery” and small picks with scarecrows on them etc., or a few Jack O’ Lanterns and black cats and a haunted house pick or two. One can be for Thanksgiving or you can do a combo. If there is an outlet near to where you are displaying the pumpkin diorama, then string some mini orange or purple lights along it and plug in. This is great for a front window. Don’t forget to turn the lights off at night or if you are out.
Haunted houses are popular at Halloween so you can create one in your own home, or even perhaps just the entryway. This will use several components which can be packed away or discarded each year when Halloween is over with. That stretchy spider web material is great for corners and very realistic. Guests may even think it’s real! In a dark upper corner you can place a large black spider and one of those that is animated and has glowing red eyes is super freaky and kids get a real kick out of them. Other rubber or plastic spiders can be placed around various locations, but make sure that pets don’t get hold of them as they can swallow them, and may get sick.
A favorite each year is a candy or treat bowl, so purchase a large black cauldron (plastic is fine or else it will weigh a ton), and if you can get s small electric glowing fire simulator and place it under the cauldron, so much the better. When Halloween comes you can place some dry ice hidden in your display so it seems to be bubbling over. Be careful about the dry ice as it can freeze the skin so keep it sway from treats. You can set up your cauldron and put treats in front of it as this would be the safest method.
Always think safety of children, adults and pets first on Halloween, whenever you make a decoration or wear a costume. It’s a fun time and kids love to dress up. There are realistic skeletons on the Web and also in some pop-up Halloween stores. They are usually molded from plastic and some can be inexpensive but the most realistic ones are expensive. They will last a long time so think if you’d like to invest in one. You can hang one from a chandelier if you have a very high ceiling, like the one in Disney’s Haunted Mansion.
An incredibly inventive scene and one which will be talked about in the neighborhood, is if you have a cubicle in your house or a very small room, you can create a Halloween scene in it – graveyards are popular, then stretch a scrim (muslin) cloth across the front which will screen off the room. When lit, people will see the scene suddenly and have a great time laughing about how it made them jump out of their skins! This is exactly how it’s done in the theatre and you can make these scenes fairly easily. An old fashioned parlor with a skeleton sitting in a rocking chair, a dusty tiffany lamp, and spooky music playing is a good scene to start with. If you can get the rocker to rock back and forth, then so much the better.