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Featured Image for Spooky Ways to Dress Up Your Home for Halloween
Courtney Carter

It’s here. Yes, fall is finally here. While that may mean adapting to erratic temperature changes, backyard leaf infestations, and an omnipresent state of pumpkin spice, we do get the chance to unleash our creativity and face the very things we fear most.

Gourds and orange napkins can show awareness of the holiday season, but there are simple tricks to treat every room in your house to a facelift that allows your festive enthusiasm to shine through. For now, let’s just avoid the big-ticket seasonal pop-ups and jump straight into a DIY fright fest purely made for last minute renovations. Put on your witch hat, position your pixie-cut wig, and let’s make sure the only paranormal activity in your home this year is the spirit of Halloween.

A Freaky Front Porch

The idea here is not to scare off your guests, but to have fun and reimagine the playful, creative side of Halloween’s most recognizable stoop ornament: the jack-o’-lantern. Lately, Pinterest has seen an uptick of users DIY-ing their pumpkins with painted words and stickers. Gone are the bothersome days of scraping out every seed and leaving a mess of goopy innards around the kitchen. Painting a pumpkin gives you a lot more creative freedom with the same amount of family time.

Here are a few fun & quick ideas:

Dunkin’ Pumpkins: Brush the top half of six mini pumpkins with a bright pastel color like pink and brown, then sprinkle a few multi-colored dash marks. In five minutes, you’ve got yourself a baker’s dozen of mini pumpkin doughnuts. Here is a sample.

Pumpkin People: Spare accessories like hats, scarves, novelty glasses, and mustaches or bows cut from felt, can create a family of funny, paint-free doormen ready to greet and amuse trick or treaters.

Pastel Pun-kins: Instead of scares, show-off some humor. Firstly, paint any sized pumpkin with a white “primer” before you layer on the pastel paint to really make the color pop. Then add some quippy bold-type puns like “Creep it Real”, “Trick or Treat Yo’ Self”, and the caution sign, “Witch Better Have My Candy”. Download your spooky phrases here.

Neon Pumpkins: Paint an entire squash or pumpkin white, then flip it upside down and pour green, yellow or red neon paint over the bottom and let gravity take its course for a reverse runny effect. Once dried, flip it back over and watch your porch glow-up and light the way for trick or treaters. Here is what it should look like.

The Haunting Hallway

So your guests are sold by your imaginative pumpkin patch and know for a fact that you’re not messing around. Once they step inside, you want them to be spooked at every moment they’re inside your house. For the foyer, here’s a ghoulish idea you can play with:

Cheesecloth Ghosts: Be open-minded and let some spirits hang around for a bit. Mini ghosts made with styrofoam ball heads, cheesecloth cloaks, googly eyes, and a piece of string, can be suspended from chandeliers and railings. Before you assemble your phantoms, dip the cheesecloth in a bowl of fabric stiffener to maintain a desired shape that mimics a supernatural entity on the move. Here’s an example.

A Mad Scientist’s Ghastly Laboratory

Turn some heads with some family-frightening decor, and transform your kitchen into a deranged surgeon’s hideaway, who also dabbles in mixology.

Head-in-a-jar: Print single selfies of each member of your family, including yourself, on glossy film paper. Sever the heads with scissors and place each one inside its own glass jar and sprinkle in some craft moss to add icky texture along with a few strands of burlap, which looks a bit like hair. Finally, add a couple drops of green dye inside and fill each jar with water. Set them out on a counter space, surrounded by white stretch spider web and plop on some fake insects to really set the scene. Here’s where your head should be.

The Addams Family Room

We’ve all seen some iteration of this classic, spooky household, whose inhabitants are seemingly unaware, or don't care, that other people find them bizarre or frightening. This year, everyone on the block is going to know you’re no different.

Drac-o’-Lanterns: Grouped on the mantel, jack-o’-lanterns with mouths donning vampire dentures alongside tiny winged pumpkin pals create a Transylvania scene. Take a few squashes, pumpkins or gourds, and tack along the outline of one of these vampire mouth shapes you can download, then cut it out with a carving saw. Wedge some plastic fangs into the hole and finish the job by dotting two devilish eyes with red, run-of-the-mill pushpins. If you want to make winged companions, print this off on black paper, cut out the mini bat wings, fold down a ¼ inch and attach the folded edge to the pumpkin with hot glue. Now, you’ve got some creepy creatures lurking in your living room. Here is what the assortment should look like.

Happy decorating, and stay spooky!

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