Halloween Decor

DIY, Planning Tips

6 Ways to Bring Your Halloween Décor to the Next Level

Halloween is much adored by children and adults alike. When the trees start changing color, and the pumpkin-spiced flavors highjack every food item in coffee shops and grocery stores, you know that the creepiest holiday of the year is not far behind!

Assembling your costume while binging on the first two Halloweentown movies and Stranger Things are certainly admirable ways to kick-start the spooky festivities, but your event décor needs a little love, too! Sure, the flying witch bunting and miniature carved pumpkins cut it last year, but this year is different. It literally is. This year, you crave a challenge to show up Bill, your neighbor with the giant yard display, and you’ve come to the right place.

Looking for ways to level-up your Halloween décor? Read on!

1.   Dramatic lighting

Remember when you were little and listening to ghost stories by the campfire? If the fire at the center of the circle wasn’t bright enough to light up everyone’s faces, the storyteller would enthusiastically shove a flashlight under their chin before beginning the tale.

When light shines upwards from under a person’s face, it creates striking, unsettling distortions to his or her features. The shadows we’re used to seeing are thrown off, and Frankenstein vibes ensue. It’s impractical to carry a flashlight to shine under your face for all 31 days of October, but the effect can be easily achieved using well-placed lamps and floor lights.

For outdoor use, garden spotlights are relatively cheap and can help light up the path to your home all year round—so it’s really a home investment! The ominous effect works out when the lamps are close to the wall and the lights illuminate the brick from the ground up.

Dramatic halloween lantern lights

2.   Holographic projections

Sometimes, no matter how hard you try, you just can’t make that paper ghost hanging behind your window look remotely terrifying. If you’ve got $40, why not try some innovative “digital” décor? You’ll need to provide your own projector, but then just purchase a mesh background from AtmosFX along with their DVD and you’ll find yourself with a frighteningly easy to set up, zero mess piece of decor.

The best part is that it’s just not digital imaging involved—there’s music and sound effects to give you the full, immersive experience. It’s incredibly effective through windows and doorways so those grumps out there who don’t want trick-or-treaters to bother them won’t have to worry about any disruptive kids running up and around their yard.

3.   Wall decals and murals

We’re not saying go hire an artist to paint Halloween-themed murals on your walls—if that’s actually what you want to do, go for it! But adding wall decals of creepy branches and skeleton bones can amp up your décor for the Halloween season if it doesn’t lean too much on the cartoony side! Simple but ornate silhouettes can actually be really elegant—at least in comparison to some of the other gory and gruesome décor we usually seek!

To add some dimension to the decals, you can try cutting out a conspiracy of ravens or a cloud of bats out of black cardstock, folding the card slightly in half, and sticking the decals onto the walls via the crease to make the rest of the card pop outwards! These are simple to make, easy to remove, and add heaps of interest to the wall!

4.   Foggy and Groggy

Dry ice Halloween fog

We’ve all been fascinated by the mysterious rolling of fog only to discover that it’s incredibly easy to replicate! All you need is a fog machine and fog juice—which is actually not that hard or expensive to get. Simply plug the machine in, load it up with juice, and let the good times roll!

If you find 7 feet of rolling fog to be too dramatic for your Halloween brunch, you can DIY a cheaper option that produces a similar, albeit more contained effect. Pour some dry ice into a large serving bowl (preferably insulated), and nest another, smaller bowl inside to fill with appetizers or a creepy figurine of your choice. Then pour warm water into the gap between the two bowls and you’ll see tons of fogs bubble up and descend down the side of the bowl and onto the surrounding table! For some extra pizzazz, add colored tea lights for a glow to your ominous fog.

5.   Spooky music

Do you recall the unnerving pulsing of the Slenderman background track? It gave everyone the heebeegeebees even though it was a lo-fi, amateur horror game. If you’re throwing a Halloween party, try mixing up the music and stray away from the usual Top 40 hits that get played every other time of the year!

You can try creepy sound effects with ominous droning sounds and sudden shrieks, or maybe pop-in the soundtrack of your favorite Halloween-themed movie! There are a couple Halloween playlists on Spotify, or you can just conduct a simple search on YouTube and play any of the creepy hour-long mixes available. Couple that with a fog machine and you’ll create the perfect atmosphere befitting of this haunted holiday!

6.   Ghastly photos

Halloween Decor ghost portraits

Photographs were one of the first ways people were able to document and enforce their claims of encountering ghosts and the supernatural. Technology has come a long way since, but that just means we have more capabilities of playing around with special effects and filters!

Pick up some empty frames at the dollar store and put in photos of cameos and silhouettes of gruesome monsters or horrific, historical figures! If you’ve got a knack for Photoshop, why not Photoshop yourself into desolate graveyards and creepy forests. Or maybe zombie-fy your family portraits and place them around the house? To recreate spirit photography of the late 19th century, you can use double exposure to add faint apparitions of relatives or horror-fiction writers into your portraits to make it look like there are ghosts standing behind you!

Want to know how to throw the perfect Halloween party? Check out this article for all the details!

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