When can Halloween decorations go up? Holiday experts weigh in

Dress up your home for a stylishly spooky Halloween. This is the timing the experts recommend

Halloween porch decor
(Image credit: Alamy)

Fall brings plenty of opportunities to decorate your home for the holidays, and that includes for the spookiest occasion of them all. But while you might be itching to get creative with pumpkins, bat motifs, cobwebs, and more when should Halloween decorations go up?

There are plenty of great Halloween decorating ideas to indulge in for both the inside of your home and the outside but before that there’s fall decor to enjoy before you get creative with the fabulously frightful. 

We asked the holiday experts to share their recommendations for best timing of haunting decor.

Halloween decor scheduling

Outdoor Halloween decor, pumpkin carving, and Halloween door decor along with Halloween window decor might all be on your list of tasks to prepare for the holiday and there’s plenty to fit into your holiday schedule. As for the experts? Consider these opinions when deciding when to start decorating.

Wait until fall

Here’s a suggestion for creating a timeline for decorating for the holiday. ‘I know some people that get started with their Halloween decorations in early September, but for many, that could be too early,’ says Carrie McCabe of the Ain’t It Scary with Sean & Carrie podcast.

‘A few routes you could go is starting around when it officially becomes fall, September 23. The seasonal change is a good marker that the summer is officially over, and people are ready to embrace fall holidays like Halloween. 

‘You could also go more traditional, and have them set up around the first weekend of October, keeping the decor limited to just that month. Or, a kind of combination –put up some harvest-y, fall-themed decor in mid September and transition it over to Halloween for the beginning of the next month.

‘It truly depends on your aesthetic and above all, what makes you happy,’ she adds. ‘If that is putting up your Halloween decorations on Labor Day weekend, go for it! But if you are taking a more traditional path, sometime between the turn of the season in later September and the beginning of October is a good space to work in.’

Evolve decor through the season

If you like to make the most of the season, Jasmine Crockett, Atlanta-based interior designer and founder of Joy Meets Home, is with you. ‘Embracing the spirit of fall and Halloween, I personally opt to start decorating as soon as September arrives,’ she says. ‘This allows me time to savor the autumn atmosphere and relish the cozy ambiance before transitioning to Christmas decorations. 

‘By gradually incorporating fall-themed elements throughout September and blending in a touch of Halloween as October approaches, I strike a casual balance between celebrating the changing seasons and preparing for the festivities ahead. This approach ensures I have ample time to appreciate each decoration theme and make the most of the unique charm they bring to my living space.’

Got pumpkins on your mind whether you’re planning pumpkin carving, pumpkin painting or porch decor? Jasmine suggests, ‘When thinking about pumpkins, both real and fake pumpkins have their perks. Real ones give that genuine autumn feel and can be used for cooking later. Fake ones are reusable and less messy, plus they won’t rot. Mix and match for the best of both worlds.’

Join your neighbors

You might want to stick to popular timing so your home complements those of the majority of your neighbors for a super spooky atmosphere. ‘The ideal time to put up your decorations is in the first two weeks of October, which is when most people complete this fun task,’ says Todd Saunders, CEO of FlooringStores. ‘However, for true Halloween fans, it’s also acceptable to start decorating during the last week of September.’

Think: weather

Where you live might have an influence on when you put up Halloween decorations. ‘The change in the air and the light that comes with the change of season is my prompt to put up fall decor,’ says Lucy Searle, global editor in chief of Homes & Gardens. ‘I then add in Halloween decorations over time, which makes the run up to the holiday less pressurized but ensures the house is fully decorated.

‘If your climate is warmer, the calendar is going to be the better prompt,’ Lucy adds. ‘But Halloween decorating in stages rather than all at once can still be a good way to go to build the excitement.’

Lucy Searle
Lucy Searle

Lucy Searle has written about interiors, property and gardens for over 30 years, starting within the interiors departments of women's magazines before switching to interiors-only titles in the mid-1990s. In 2018, Lucy took on the role of Global Editor in Chief for Realhomes.com, taking the site from a small magazine add-on to a global success. She was asked to repeat that success at Homes & Gardens, where she has also taken on the editorship of the magazine, which is the UK's oldest interiors magazine at 103 years old. Lucy is a serial renovator and also owns rental properties in the UK and Europe, so brings first-hand knowledge to the subjects she oversees.


Do you decorate for Halloween or fall first?

Decorate for fall first. Fall decor with its foliage-inspired colors, attractive wreaths, and candle displays is beautiful in itself, but it’s also a basis from which to add Halloween-specific motifs and pieces such as cobwebs, carved pumpkins, bats, spiders, and all the other favorite ghoulish and ghastly touches.

If you’re a fan of making your own decorations, don’t forget to build in time for Halloween craft ideas that will make your home unique for the holiday. As well as creating them, you’ll likely need to shop for supplies. Work backwards from when you’d like to decorate inside and out to create your timetable. 

Sarah Warwick
Contributing Editor

Sarah is a freelance journalist and editor. Previously executive editor of Ideal Home, she’s specialized in interiors, property and gardens for over 20 years, and covers interior design, house design, gardens, and cleaning and organizing a home for H&G. She’s written for websites, including Houzz, Channel 4’s flagship website, 4Homes, and Future’s T3; national newspapers, including The Guardian; and magazines including Future’s Country Homes & Interiors, Homebuilding & Renovating, Period Living, and Style at Home, as well as House Beautiful, Good Homes, Grand Designs, Homes & Antiques, LandLove and The English Home among others. It’s no big surprise that she likes to put what she writes about into practice, and is a serial house renovator.