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Halloween Yard Decorations

Design Considerations for Halloween Yard Decorations

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arbor with halloween yard decorations

This arbor's message to visitors is clear: harvest celebrations are underway!

David Beaulieu

Below is a checklist of items you may need to create a display of Halloween yard decorations. While hardly exhaustive, the list is intended to steer you in the right direction in assembling the materials needed to compose a creative display and make a strong statement in the autumn landscape.

Of course, if you have children who wish to have bragging rights to the spookiest lawn in town, you'll have to shop for additional supplies. Nylon inflatables have become increasingly popular, for instance. For spooky accessories such as realistic monsters oozing with blood, you may need to shop for supplies at a store that specializes in the novel and the gruesome. For some ideas, check out my scary Halloween pictures. Those of you who'd rather keep things on the light-hearted side will prefer to browse my funny Halloween pictures.

Here's my list of basic items it pays to have on hand when you're decorating the fall landscape:

Design Principles and Halloween Yard Decorations

Your decor will be most effective when deployed with a sense for design. Some of the design principles used in arranging plants on a landscape are also applicable when setting up your Halloween yard decorations.

For instance, while I would encourage you to dress up multiple areas of your property, for the best display it's important to establish one focal point that will receive the most attention.

Effective focal points separate merely good designs from truly eye-catching designs. If you're using a nylon inflatable, you'll have to make this your focal point: these figures are so big and colorful that nothing else can compete successfully with them. If you're concentrating on a spooky theme, make the most gruesome element your focal point, and make sure the rest of your Halloween yard decorations are understated (so you don't siphon off attention from the focal point).

If you prefer a more traditional, rustic decor, you may wish to make a scarecrow as your focal point. Stuff an old shirt and old pair of pants with straw (or leaves that you've raked) and fasten them together at the waist. It doesn't have to be fancy: after all, scarecrows are supposed to look raggedy. For the head, if you don't have the traditional burlap or cloth bag to stuff, a cheap plastic jack-o'-lantern will look just fine. Drill holes in the bottom, pass twine through the holes and tie the head to the scarecrow's shirt collar. Furnish your scarecrow with a straw hat to complete the look.

But there are as many ways to create a scarecrow as there are ways to, well, scare off the crows. Here are two photo galleries to thumb through that are chock-a-block full of ideas for designing a scarecrow that will have the neighbors gawking:

When you're done with your creation, drive a tall stake into the ground and tie the scarecrow to it. To draw even more attention to your focal point, you can borrow another landscape design principle: namely, that a mass of something is most effective at catching one's eye. If you have several pumpkins at your disposal, put some of that color to its best use by grouping three large pumpkins (preferably, of differing heights) near the scarecrow. Provide cornstalks as a backdrop, and dress them up with indian corn. As with the pumpkins, remember the impact of a mass display when using cornstalks: don't skimp!

Repetition is another landscape design principle that can be employed in this project. Repeating the use of an item in a few places on a property ties the whole landscape together, giving it unity. In arranging Halloween yard decorations, you could, for example, repeat an item such as the cornstalks. In addition to their use in the focal point, frame the driveway entrance with cornstalks, as well as the front door.

Plants and Halloween Yard Decorations

Just because some of the plants in the garden have seen better days by the time October arrives, don't think that plants have no role to play in Halloween yard decorations. Chrysanthemums, the colorful perennials that have become an autumn icon, are often arranged (whether planted or in containers) amidst Halloween yard decorations. Annuals can also offer an important burst of color. But the challenge is to keep your annuals in good enough shape for use in autumn, which is the subject of my article on fall flowers.

It requires more foresight, but you can also use trees and shrubs to play a central role in your display. Being larger plants, trees and shrubs obviously take a longer time to mature. But with patience and good selections, they will eventually form the true backbone of your landscape design. Halloween yard decorations will look twice as good in a landscape graced by the fall foliage offered by trees such as those I mention in my index to fall foliage trees and shrubs like those in my Top 5 list of shrubs for fall. I discuss additional plants that can round out your autumn decor on the second page of my article on the origin of Halloween.

On Page 2 of the present article we'll look at some more plant material and see how you can supplement the above Halloween yard decorations with creative crafts ....

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