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David Beaulieu

Outdoor Thanksgiving Decorations

By November 4, 2011

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One of the great things about fall decorating in North America is the continuity of theme between its 2 major holidays: Halloween and Thanksgiving. picture of bittersweet berriesOh, sure, the spooky yard decorations are appropriate only for Halloween. Still, the fundamental landscape design theme for both holidays is the harvest. All your corn stalks, pumpkins, scarecrows and gourds can serve as both Halloween and Thanksgiving yard decorations.

About's Interior Decorating site provides step-by-step instructions for making fall wreaths, those classic outdoor Thanksgiving decorations. Bittersweet (pictured here), indian corn and dried ornamental gourds are some of the elements commonly used in fall wreaths. Such elements provide your outdoor Thanksgiving decorations with the harvest theme that is so appropriate throughout the fall -- even if you don't celebrate Thanksgiving, per se.

Photo ©2005 David Beaulieu (licensed to About, Inc.)

Related resource: Thanksgiving Clip Art


November 3, 2007 at 12:01 pm
(1) Gloria says:

I would like other ideas besides wreaths which is already a standard decoration. Thanksgiving is a major American holiday. Yet because people go beserk over Halloween (which isn’t even an actual holiday though people are acting as though it were) with yard decorations to rival the evergrowing trend of commericalized secular Christmas displays, Thanksgiving gets wedged in with nary a nod. If if weren’t for the turkey dinner, I think this wonderful holiday with its valuable message of thanks (whether one is religious or not)and appreciation for our heritage of immigrants would be all but forgotten. I for one have begun putting a proper perspective on these observances and my few Halloween decorations (the “message” of which is pretty lame after all) are going down November 1st and Thanksgiving decorations are going up… I just need good outdoor decorations that display my pride in my American heritage and humble thankfulness to my Maker.

November 5, 2007 at 10:48 am
(2) landscaping says:

Excellent point. In fact, I’ll be incorporating your comment in 11/07/07′s blog post.

October 5, 2008 at 10:00 pm
(3) Kelly says:

I put up all my fall decorations around mid-October, including turkeys. I do no Halloween except last year my children and I carved a “puking pumpkin” just for fun. Otherwise, it’s only fall/harvest/thanksgiving. There’s one family in our town who are farmers who leave one of their huge round bales of hay out near the highway. They’ve made a plywood turkey head they push into the front of the bale and plywood turkey feathers they push into the back. It’s very tongue-in-cheek, but attention-getting. Maybe you’d like to post some well-done signs that have phrases like “Give Thanks” “Share Your Blessings” “Share the Harvest” or “Harvest of Blessings” or outdoor cut-out of a pilgrim couple or children.

October 6, 2008 at 9:27 am
(4) landscaping says:

Thanks, Kelly. A Thanksgiving photo gallery is one of my future projects. If you’d like to post any pictures on this Web site, yourself, you can do so in the Landscaping forum.

November 6, 2008 at 11:52 am
(5) George says:

When is the best time to prune a River Birch? It is a Betula nigra “heritage” that is 18 months old? Thanks for your help.

November 6, 2008 at 1:14 pm
(6) landscaping says:


Late fall to late winter is the best time. The worst time is May, June and July, as pruning cuts may expose a river birch to borers during that time period.

November 6, 2008 at 3:42 pm
(7) Lisa H. Taylor says:

Hi David:

I’m guilty of trying to pass off my Halloween decorations as generic Fall decorations, although I don’t think that will hold up to much longer. I displayed “flying” ghosts in my neighbor’s yard for a Step-by-Step about a week before Halloween, and found them at my front doorstep this morning.
Perhaps they wore out their welcome?

November 6, 2008 at 4:06 pm
(8) landscaping says:

Hi Lisa,

Yeah, the spooky decorations are a tough sell after Halloween. In the U.S., we have a holiday very staid in its decor (Thanksgiving) positioned in between two holidays with much more lively decor (often even humorous or gaudy decor, depending on your point of view): Halloween and Christmas.

November 9, 2008 at 10:04 pm
(9) Carol says:

What kinds of leaves are good for mulching your vegetable gardens?

November 10, 2008 at 1:09 pm
(10) David Beaulieu says:


Pretty much any leaves will work as a generic mulch. Oak leaves don’t break down as quickly as some other types, but that’s OK (unless you’re in a big hurry for your mulch to decompose). It was once thought that certain leaves make the soil more acidic, but this contention is now being challenged in soil science circles, so I’d say don’t worry much about that.

November 14, 2008 at 5:29 pm
(11) william s howard says:

I,m looking for trukey head and tail for round bales of hay — can’t find them already to use need the now!!!!!

October 21, 2009 at 2:08 pm
(12) Brenda Wilson says:

Would like to know where i can purchase the turkey and and tails that go a on large bale of hay

October 22, 2009 at 11:53 am
(13) David Beaulieu says:


I’ve learned over the years always to check Walmart first. They may not have it, but it’s as good a place as any to start looking for something like this. You could also check craft stores (such as Michael’s).

October 26, 2010 at 11:12 am
(14) Bonnie says:

I too believe NObody even thinks of Thanksgiving except the football games, and FOOD. I believe that the yard ornament need more than just wreaths and Gourds. We need the Conacopia running over with fruits and veggies, The Big fat turkey, Corn stalks, Indians, Pilgrims, and some form of a display of the fence around the Colony. I never see Decorations for this Holiday. People here have gone from Labor Day weekend to yelling what they want for Christmas Already. I told my family we have 3 holidays in between Labor day and Christmas.Christmas is to Commercial these days. I have gone back to what my family needs not what they WANT.

October 26, 2010 at 12:06 pm
(15) landscaping says:

Thank you for the comment, Bonnie. Glad I’m not the only one who wishes to see more outdoor Thanksgiving decorations.

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