Each year, it seems like outdoor Halloween decor becomes more and more elaborate. It's almost like we've collectively decided that Halloween is the best holiday of the year, and we've committed to showing it off in our front yards.
Of course, when it comes to decorating the yard for All Hallows Eve, there are a few types of households. First, there's the all-out fright-fest. The neighbor whose yard is so terrifying, small children (and even some adults) avoid it while trick-or-treating.
Then, there's the house that takes the sophisticated approach to spooky; the house whose Halloween decorating ideas look like they came straight from the Pinterest home page.
And finally, there's the family-friendly Halloween approach. The house where you can tell the kids picked out most of the decorations, because they're more fun than frightening.
Whatever category your outdoor Halloween decor ideas fall under, we've got inspiration for them, below.
Outdoor Halloween decor – ideas and inspiration
From frightfully chic to just plain frightening, this outdoor Halloween decor will help you celebrate everybody's favorite holiday, turning outdoor fall decor into spooky schemes.
1. Add spooky touches to your fall setup
If your fall porch decor is still in good shape, there's no need to swap out your entire display for Halloween. Instead, just layer in a few spooky accents that go with what you already have.
'And if you're looking for easy, no-carve pumpkin ideas, piling them around the front steps is a great way to add a splash of fall color for Halloween,' says Rachel Crow, Homes & Gardens' Gardens Editor. 'Make sure you know when you should put pumpkins out, however, to make sure they look pristine for the big event.'
2. Set out an old friend
Make the neighbors do a double take with your outdoor Halloween decor by setting a skeleton or two on your front porch furniture. Take the creativity up a notch by adding in a few props, like a coffee cup, a rake, or a musical instrument.
3. Decorate for a frightful celebration
Make an outdoor Halloween party an elegantly eerie affair with cones of candy, flickering candlelight, and an over-the-table display of vines and string lights.
4. Put cobwebs in the corners
Another simple way to spook up your fall decor ideas: copy Shea McGee of McGee Studio (opens in new tab)'s example above and add cobwebs in the corners around your entryway. For an extra fright factor, drape them around your front porch lighting, too. (Just be sure they don't touch the lightbulbs.)
'While you don’t need to incorporate bright colors to make your space feel Halloween-ready, sticking to a palette is still helpful in creating a cohesive look,' says Shea.
'Whether you like more traditional Halloween colors of orange and black or want to go for a minimal, muted look, start with a jumping-off point like artwork or even the finishes in your home, and build your decor around it.'
5. Celebrate ghouls' night out
A group of ghosts traipsing toward the street makes for a bone-chilling sight. If you're feeling crafty, make your own ghosts with white fabric (old tablecloths or sheets are an easy upcycle) wrapped around large Styrofoam balls or balled up bags of leaves. Short on time? The ghastly trio above can be purchased ready-made at Grandin Road (opens in new tab).
6. Hang witches hats
Looking for a simple way to pep up your outdoor Halloween decor?
'Flying witches hats took Instagram by storm last year. And it's not hard to see why,' says Jo Bailey, Homes & Gardens' Deputy Editor and stylist. 'The look is fun and frightful, but still understated enough for those who prefer their outdoor Halloween decor to have a touch of restraint.'
7. Go batty with simple stick-ons
Flying bats are a Halloween decorating trend that work well on their own, or as part of a larger decorative display. Here, design firm Clark & Aldine (opens in new tab) paired them with piles of pumpkins and a scowling jack-o-lantern for a look that's festive, not frightening.
8. Cast a spell
Did you think, when planning your front yard landscaping ideas, that you'd have to make space to host a séance on the front lawn with a ring of ghosts around a bubbling cauldron? There's something unsettling about casting spells in the front yard, but isn't that the point?
9. Light the path
Boost front yard lighting ideas by lining the front yard walkway with Halloween-themed lights. These Jack-o-Lantern globes (opens in new tab) are solar-powered, so setup is as simple as staking them into the ground.
10. Hang a wicked Halloween wreath
Fall wreath ideas can be quickly transformed into spookier styles and it will save you making a Halloween wreath from scratch.
'Simply add elements of black to your fall wreath, and include some scary details. Amazon sells a set of 30 hanging wooden Halloween decorations (opens in new tab) that can be quickly hooked on to it, and used elsewhere around the front yard,' says Lucy Searle, Editor in Chief of Homes & Gardens (and Halloween fan).
11. Make a pumpkin planter to decorate your porch
Making a pumpkin planter takes minutes but it's hugely impactful and is a great way to display fall flowers, which, of course, you can decorate with Halloween trinkets.
'As long as the flowers themselves can stand the drop in temperatures, the pumpkin planter will last longer outdoors than in,' says Rachel Crow. 'Or, display it in your entryway at night, putting it back outside to glamorize your outdoor Halloween decor during the day.'
How do you make outdoor Halloween yard props?
DIY-lovers will find plenty of options for making outdoor Halloween decor. A few ideas to try?
- Make your own ghosts: To do it, pile leaves from your yard into the middle of a large piece of scrap fabric or old sheeting, then bunch up the sheet around the leaves, and tie to form a head. Create a hook at the top with a piece of floral wire, and hang.
- Carve faux pumpkins: Real pumpkins only last a few days once carved, but faux pumpkins last indefinitely. Light them up with LED tea lights for decor that lasts all season long.
- Cut out headstones. Re-use cardboard shipping boxes to create DIY tombstones. First, but headstone shapes from the cardboard. Then, add a few layers of papier mache, and finish off with a coat of outdoor-approved spray paint. Fasten a stake to the back and stick them around your yard. You can also cut tombstone shapes from pre-made cardboard yard signs.
How do I decorate the front of my house for Halloween?
There are lots of ways to decorate the front of your house for Halloween, but a few of our favorite are:
- Create a cemetery. Turn your front yard into a graveyard! Buy (or make) headstones to stake into the ground, then scatter the area around it with skeletons, and ghosts.
- Add cobwebs: One of the simplest ways to decorate outdoors for Halloween to to hang stretchy cobwebs from the corners of your doorway, across fencing, or over porch lights.
- Hang ghouls from the trees. Elevate your Halloween decor (literally) by suspending ghosts, witches, or skeletons from the trees.
- Swap out your lighting. Another easy way to spook-ify your yard? Change out the lightbulbs in your pathway lighting or ftont porch lighting for orange versions.
Kaitlin Madden Armon is a writer and editor covering all things home. Her work has appeared in Real Homes, Architectural Digest, Martha Stewart Living, Refinery29, Modern Luxury Interiors, Wayfair, The Design Network, and lots more. She graduated from Northeastern University with a degree in journalism and currently lives in Connecticut with her husband, three kids, and black lab.