Homeowners' association rules for Halloween decorating – celebrate spooky season without going against guidelines

Understand the dos and don'ts set by your HOA

halloween exterior decorations
(Image credit: Lianne Carey / Grandin Road / Pottery Barn)

As summer comes to an end and the cold weather arrives, we can begin to get excited about decorating our homes for Halloween. There is plenty of inspiration out there for decorating your homes for Halloween, both inside and outside, including this year’s Halloween trends.

When it comes to Halloween, some homeowners' associations want to keep a level of continuity and uniformity for the town’s look and feel. This is to promote a more conservative look and be appealing to residents, visitors, and prospective new home buyers.

The rules set by homeowners' associations can vary between neighborhoods and states, therefore it is worth spending a minute looking over your local HOA guidelines. Be aware of the rules relating to your local area, so that you do not waste time and money on outdoor Halloween decor that cannot be used.

How to decorate your home for Halloween without breaching your HOA guidelines

Our experts have shared some of the key things to take note of when looking up your local HOA rules.

Halloween door decor ideas with bat decorations on the walls, spiders climbing on the porch roof, seated skeletons, pumpkins and witches hats dangling from the roof

(Image credit: Lianne Carey)

1. Noise levels and display hours

The spine-chilling sounds of Halloween can be thrilling, but your HOA will want to maintain certain noise levels so the noise doesn’t disturb your neighbors. If your Halloween decorations involve sound effects or music, your HOA may have restrictions on the volume.

HOAs may also limit the use of sound systems or impose quiet hours to maintain harmony within the community. HOAs will often specify the hours during which decorations can be illuminated. This ensures that your spine-tingling decor doesn't disrupt the tranquility of your neighborhood late into the night.

2. Lights

halloween porch at night

(Image credit: Southern State of Mind)

Lighting plays a pivotal role in holiday decor, creating atmosphere and a spooky first impression. If you're thinking about lighting up your front porch Halloween deorations, check with your HOA on what regulations are in place on the light colors they allow. 

Kara Miller, owner of Kara Miller Interiors, recommends one product that she’s used in previous designs – Phillips Hue Outdoor Lights from Amazon. ‘These lights are adjustable, so they can softly illuminate your walkway, creating a ghostly glow, or even flash in varying paces and colors for a spookier feel,’ she says. 

‘They're energy efficient and can be controlled via smartphone, a great blend of decorating within HOA guides while still maintaining festive cheer.’

Kara Miller
Kara Miller

Kara Miller Interiors is a full service design studio specializing in new construction and large scale renovations across Florida.

3. Respect for neighbors

Halloween porch decor with lanterns

(Image credit: Pottery Barn)

Aside from lights and noise levels, some homeowners associations may have more general regulations around how respectful to neighbors' Halloween decorations need to be. These guidelines are in place to prevent offensive or inappropriate decorations that could negatively impact the community’s image or create discomfort.

One tip is to avoid installing displays that are excessively gory, sexually explicit, or controversial to maintain a fun but pleasant environment for all residents. We’ve explored the best Halloween door decorations and how to decorate tastefully for Halloween so you can stay well within those guidelines.

Having respect for neighbors also includes their safety when walking past your home. Jacky Chou, principal and director at Archute, explains that HOAs often enforce safety guidelines to ensure that decorations do not pose any hazards to residents or passers-by. 

Avoid using open flames, such as real candles, and choose battery-operated or LED candles like these from Amazon. Additionally, secure any loose components, such as props or hanging elements, to prevent accidental injury or damage.

Jacky Chou
Jacky Chou

Jacky Chou is the principal and director at Archute, an editorial magazine about architecture, home and garden. They have been referenced by The New York Times, Bustle, House & Home, Bloomberg, and Angi. Jacky also owns an online interior design company called Laurel & Wolf.

4. Inflatables and large decorations

ghosts on a front lawn

(Image credit: Grandin Road)

In addition to lights, it is also common for homeowners' associations to have rules prohibiting certain sizes of Halloween inflatables. These restrictions are typically related to the size of the inflatable and where on your property they can be installed. In some extreme cases, your HOA may request you to submit an Architecture Change Request before you can bolt any large inflatables to your roof.

Decorations should also not obstruct sidewalks, driveways, or pathways. Decorative items such as inflatable ghosts, tombstones, witches, and pumpkins are generally allowed as long as they do not create safety hazards and are arranged in a way that doesn’t impede the flow of foot or vehicle traffic within the neighborhood. 

Some HOAs have height restrictions on Halloween decorations, such as no decorations that are taller than 6 feet. This is to prevent decorations from blocking views or being a safety hazard.

5. Time restrictions

One of the primary rules dictated by HOAs is when Halloween decorations can go up. Most associations stipulate a specific timeframe, typically starting in early October to prevent decorations from lingering for an extended period.

The guidelines and restrictions set by your HOA do not only cover what decorations you can put up during the Halloween season, but in some cases, your local HOA will stipulate when homeowners should also put away their Halloween festivities. It’s worth noting that every HOA approaches these time restrictions differently, however leaving them up beyond the specified period may result in penalties or fines.

Interior designer Elizabeth Grace suggests a general rule of thumb that you remove your decorations within 20 days of the holiday finishing, which also gives you time to put in place your Thanksgiving décor

Elizabeth Grace on a grey background
Elizabeth Grace

Elizabeth Grace is an Interior Designer, Furniture and Home Expert. She received her degree in Interior Designing from the University of Notre Dame. Elizabeth landed her first job as an intern with a leading firm in New York City, learning from some of the city’s top designers. She currently works as an interior designer for both residential and commercial clients.


How do you transition your home from fall to Halloween decor?

One of the simplest ways to make your decor more Halloween-themed is to introduce darker colors and accents to your home. By introducing some black candles or dark-colored pillows and blankets you can start to make your home look and feel that little bit more spooky.

While Halloween decorating is a cherished tradition, it's crucial to be aware of and respect the guidelines established by your homeowner's association. So, before you start turning your home into a haunted masterpiece, familiarize yourself with your HOA's Halloween decorating regulations to avoid any unintended spooky encounters with violations and fines. Happy haunting!

Seraphina Di Mizzurati
Contributing Editor

Seraphina is a contributing editor at Homes & Gardens, writing Solved features on organizing and storage. She loves to decorate and also grow her own produce from her home in London. Her previous experience includes working at Women's Health and Fabulous Magazine.