The ancient Celts were the first to decorate for Halloween — then called Samhain, a festival marking the harvest season’s end and a time when spirits could roam the earth again. The earliest decorations were simple, like turnips carved into lanterns and small altars decorated with items from nature.
Halloween traditions have come and gone in the thousands of years since those early celebrations (we’re looking at you, mischief night), but adorning our homes has stuck around. In the era of giant yard inflatables and synchronized light shows, decorating for the holidays can feel overwhelming and expensive, but it doesn’t have to be. Here are five simple ideas to spruce up your home’s spooky factor without a considerable effort or year-round storage commitment.
Use Branches To Bring the Outdoors Indoor
There’s something spooky about the shadowy, bare trees that seem to shape-shift after dark, occasionally tapping on the window with help from gusts of cold autumn air. Fill tall indoor vases or decorative front porch urns with autumn branches that easily reference this image without wasting time or effort. Purchasing decoration-ready branches at a craft store is one option, but you can also make your own by collecting small, downed branches and spray painting them black, white, or any color that matches your autumnal mood.
Create a Floating Display With Fishing Line
Making your entryway or front porch worthy of a witchy coven requires only two items and no magic. String monofilament (aka fishing line) through the tip of several witch hats and tack them into the ceiling to give the illusion that they’re floating. Just be sure to keep safety in mind when using monofilament in any outdoor project — the clear line can be a tangle hazard to birds and small animals, so avoid using it in trees or swap for a natural twine or jute. Come November 1, the best way to dispose of used pieces is through recycling — monofilament drop boxes can be found at many fishing and outdoor stores.
Make Paper Decorations
Fold-and-cut crafts aren’t just for paper snowflakes. Paper bats, ghosts, and black cats are easy additions to any indoor or outdoor Halloween display. Making your own Halloween shapes just requires scissors and construction paper. However, large packs of pre-cut silhouettes are also available at party and craft stores — making it even easier to tack on a ton in minutes for a spooky statement.
Spook up Anything With Fake Spider Webs
Take your existing wall art from cozy to creepy in just a few minutes with the help of fake spider webs. String the gauzy fiber across your hung photos, mantle, and more, and use larger pieces on outdoor displays along windows and doors. Top off the look with a pack of plastic spiders, and you’re one step closer to having a mysteriously haunted mansion.
Upgrade Your Pumpkins
Is any Halloween display complete without the season’s favorite squash? Not likely, though there are ways to make your pumpkins stand out from the ones on the other stoops. Painting or gluing on designs is a safe alternative to clumsy cutting. Plus, it also helps prolong a pumpkin’s lifespan — uncarved pumpkins can last upwards of three months in cool conditions.
However, pumpkins don’t last forever, so if you choose to cut into one, temporarily use it as a seasonally appropriate plant holder. Remove the top and inner pulp closer to the holiday, then fill that space with a potted chrysanthemum. Cut pumpkins tend to last about a week. However, mums continue blooming for about eight weeks each fall, meaning this harvest-inspired decoration can be perfectly timed for Halloween and roll right into the earliest days of the Thanksgiving countdown.
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