Halloween Series Part 4: Haunted Houses

Trick-or-treating is one of the best parts of Halloween. It’s definitely an great time for children when they head out with their friends, dressed up as their favourite character or scary monster. Walking up that pathway to the front door while they wonder what kind of candy they are going to get is exciting.

However, the most exciting houses are the ones that decorate the yard. The ones that take the time and make the effort to make their houses the creepiest Haunted House on the block. When children get to these haunted house they don’t just run to the door for their treat and run off to the next. They take their time looking at the decorations, imagination running wild, wondering what lurks in the dark, what will jump out and grab them!

That’s the fun part. Those are the houses they will remember.

There are a few houses here in my town that go that extra mile for Halloween. One house sets up at the beginning of October. Their props are custom made from durable materials so they don’t ruin in the rain and snow we tend to get here in October. I love to drive by and check out their yard.  I would love to decorate my yard early and keep it up for the month but my decorations won’t do as well in wet weather.

I remember when I was 5 or 6 years old and I was trick-or-treating with my dad and brother. The house had spooky music playing and black lights. There were ghosts hanging in the kitchen window and little tombstones on the lawn. As I climbed the stairs to yell “trick-or-treat” someone leant out of the bathroom window and dropped a fake spider on me. It was thrilling. Yes, it scared me at first, but I had a lot of fun and I remember walking away in awe. That’s the kind of feeling I would like the children who visit my house to have when they leave.

Preparing my yard for Halloween takes a fair bit of time. During the majority of the year I will come up with ideas to make my yard scarier then last year. It’s always something that lingers in the back of my mind. Then, come September, I begin gearing up for the big day. I have four large bins of decorations that I pull out of storage. I check each piece for damage and do any repairs. Replacing batteries and make lights still light up and sounds still play is really important.

Driving out of town to bigger centres is a big part of my Halloween preparations. I like to visit as many stores as I can to find pieces to add to my yard. Spirit Halloween has a large selection of both costumes and decorations for your home. I enjoy visiting their store locations and always find myself lost in all the possible things I could do with the yard.

Another important item I need to buy every year are the pumpkins. This year I plan to have 10 jack-o’-lanterns and I spend a bit of time checking different grocery stores for the best ones. I like the rounder ones while mom likes the tall ones with a flat surface for the pictures she carves. We both agree that a good stem is a must.  I usually begin my search in late September and trying to keep a pumpkin from rotting before halloween can be tricky if the weather is too warm or too cold. We carve part of them the day before Halloween and the rest on the day of. I hope we can get all 10 carved on time this year.

And then there’s the treat bags!

I like to go to the dollar store and buy Halloween themed pencils and erasers, balloons, stickers and other neat things to stuff my treat bags with. Of course, you can’t forget the candies. I place 2-3 candies in each bag plus a lollipop and I always have a bowl of extra candy by the door for the older kids who maybe wouldn’t appreciate a pencil and some stickers in their treat bag.

For this year’s Halloween I still have a few things to do. My mom made a comment about spider webs that has given me a big idea, but with only a week to go, I doubt I’ll have the time to pull it off this year. That’s ok though, it will make next years even better. Also, I’m painting some signs in black light reactive paint to help trick-or-treaters make their way through the spooky yard.

I’ll be taking some photos of my own haunted house this year and I’ll probably post them late on Halloween night or on November 1st, so keep an eye out for those!

Do you decorate your yard for the ghosts and goblins that come to your door on Halloween?
Tell me what your favourite decoration or prop is in the comments!

One Week to Halloween!! Yay!

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