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  1. #1

    Default Fitting Decor to House, Neighborhood, etc.

    I'm wondering if I'm alone in this, but I feel I get a better effect in my decor if I compliment the natural setting instead of trying to fight it.

    This isn't a very upbeat post, btw, since a lot of us live in very modern homes.

    My residence is a small brick square with old white wooden trim, sitting between two other little brick squares with a little yard out front. We are a brick house in a neighborhood of little brick houses, street after street. There are a few older trees, flower beds, that sort of thing.

    So when I look at my house, I don't see is a family plot. No gothic stones, no civil war era markers, no wooden crosses, nothing like that. A larger, older home can pull off a small family graveyard, not me.
    In fact, the whole medieval/baroque/victorian side of Halloween just seems out of place on my property. I love the stuff, sure, but then I love old English gatehouses and cottages. Sadly, I don't have one of those.

    The agricultural/country Halloween can be used by most anyone, but only within reason. A farmhouse can go all out, certainly, with scarecrows, cornstalks, crows, demented farmhands and butcher shops, but for me, in the heart of a large midwestern city, A few cornstalks and a crow or two is about as far as I would be willing to go - and frankly, it isn't my style.

    So what to do? Well, I figure I have a few options.
    One is abandoned. Strange lights inside, otherwise the windows are boarded, burlaps tatters hang from the sills and railings, spooky noises.
    Eh, okay.

    Weird garden - the resident has some strange and likely dangerous flora and fauna around the place, like man-eating plants, sinister vines, horrifying flowers, goblins and sprites in the underbrush.
    Fun, but not as sinister as I'd like. Just a hair too cute.

    Pumpkin-fest. The grounds are heaped with pumpkins and pumpkin-related structures, like pumpkins on poles or jack-headed sculptures.
    Maybe. Be a lot of work, would need to find a source of pumpkins, or start slowly buying Funkins and find storage space for them.

    Madman's residence. Body parts abound, freshly skinned skulls on stakes, mobiles made of teeth and bone.
    That might be fun once. I like a gory movie, but I like my gore in Halloween decor at a minimum. I don't want to traumatize the little ones.

    We see maybe 15-20 TOTers every year. I blame a lack of sidewalks. It is a decent neighborhood, but kids are uncommon.

    Your thoughts?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Layton UT
    Posts
    4,109

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    I would say my haunt doesn't compliment the natural settings. I look at it more as how much space do I have and how can I set up the walk-thru so it flows as far as getting from point A to B to C.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Eerie, PA
    Posts
    5,450

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    The way you describe your house, the "abandoned" (or seemingly abandoned) look might be a winner. Boarded up windows and maybe a window projection of sorts inside depicting a person peeking out, the eerie lighting, sounds, etc... Zombies, while popular and as some would say, over done, can fit in anywhere. Is there a porch on the house? Covered?
    I tend to think that the focus should not so much be on the structure itself but to the surrounding decor. Certain types of homes can lend themselves to a particular kind of decorating, but it's the actual scene you set that will draw the eye. Given that, you could do pretty much anything and make it unique without focusing on the house as an element of the scene. Highlight certain props with led lights, back light the yard. A small graveyard is a crowd favorite and can incorporate different types of themes; ghosts, zombies, vampires, etc. Our front yard is very small. We put several tombstones and some zombie props for a graveyard, and this past year did a witch forest. I even brought in dead tree limbs and staked them up with rebar to add depth. Our house is a two story colonial style but we darken the inside almost completely so the guests have to focus o nthe yard decor. I cover any flowering bushes with burlap, let the grass grow for a month and strew dead leacves and twigs all over the space. I think whatever you do will be a hit and you will likely see your numbers grow significantly. In summation; don't sweat the stuff you can't change. Put on a display of some sort and you're doing more than 90% of your neighbors. The neighborhood kids will love it and word will spread!
    A couple pics of what we do with our front yard space







    http://s130.photobucket.com/albums/p...loween%202012/

    Americans sleep peacefully in their beds at night because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    SW Florida
    Posts
    2,846

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    Boy Spats! I hear you. My house is a sunny yellow, flowering bushes, green grass, and surrounded by big new FL style houses.
    Unlike JW, I have a huge front yard that would take alot of $$$ to cover with halloween decor. So, last year, this is what I did (and maybe might give you ideas also): I picked one area, and just highlighted others with a skelly, pumpkin, or some spooky lighting. The main area (cemetery) was closer to the house, (didn't want props to be stolen), had all the main focus there. I had my father save me dead leaves for several months, and day of halloween spread them everywhere. My landscaping is always green and flowering (even on halloween) but hey, the rest of the year it is our home not a haunted house and I dont want to destroy it either .
    This year, I am trying my skills at boarding up the windows, and adding dirty creepy cloth in areas. Uplighting trees in a spooky color also adds spookiness.

    I prefer simpler haunts- I think you should go with abandoned look as the backdrop. Then have one prop or idea and let that be the focus. Look at ghosttown's haunt. One main area-lit up beautifully, executed and built perfectly and thats it. I love it!
    Another thought....How about hallowindows? Does that interest you? I may do this one year when Im too tired to make stuff anymore...

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    South Ogden, Ut
    Posts
    3,795

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Spats View Post
    I'm wondering if I'm alone in this, but I feel I get a better effect in my decor if I compliment the natural setting instead of trying to fight it.

    This isn't a very upbeat post, btw, since a lot of us live in very modern homes.

    My residence is a small brick square with old white wooden trim, sitting between two other little brick squares with a little yard out front. We are a brick house in a neighborhood of little brick houses, street after street. There are a few older trees, flower beds, that sort of thing.

    So when I look at my house, I don't see is a family plot. No gothic stones, no civil war era markers, no wooden crosses, nothing like that. A larger, older home can pull off a small family graveyard, not me.
    In fact, the whole medieval/baroque/victorian side of Halloween just seems out of place on my property. I love the stuff, sure, but then I love old English gatehouses and cottages. Sadly, I don't have one of those.

    The agricultural/country Halloween can be used by most anyone, but only within reason. A farmhouse can go all out, certainly, with scarecrows, cornstalks, crows, demented farmhands and butcher shops, but for me, in the heart of a large midwestern city, A few cornstalks and a crow or two is about as far as I would be willing to go - and frankly, it isn't my style.

    So what to do? Well, I figure I have a few options.
    One is abandoned. Strange lights inside, otherwise the windows are boarded, burlaps tatters hang from the sills and railings, spooky noises.
    Eh, okay.

    Weird garden - the resident has some strange and likely dangerous flora and fauna around the place, like man-eating plants, sinister vines, horrifying flowers, goblins and sprites in the underbrush.
    Fun, but not as sinister as I'd like. Just a hair too cute.

    Pumpkin-fest. The grounds are heaped with pumpkins and pumpkin-related structures, like pumpkins on poles or jack-headed sculptures.
    Maybe. Be a lot of work, would need to find a source of pumpkins, or start slowly buying Funkins and find storage space for them.

    Madman's residence. Body parts abound, freshly skinned skulls on stakes, mobiles made of teeth and bone.
    That might be fun once. I like a gory movie, but I like my gore in Halloween decor at a minimum. I don't want to traumatize the little ones.

    We see maybe 15-20 TOTers every year. I blame a lack of sidewalks. It is a decent neighborhood, but kids are uncommon.

    Your thoughts?
    I understand completely.

    A big part of the reason I'm not a huge graveyard fan is that they just don't make sense to me. Sure, we did one last year, but that was after my kids bugged me for 5 years, and they were told up front it was a one time thing, at least for a few years.

    I look into local legends for inspiration, myself. No, there's not much in the way of your classic witches and vampires, but local witches and skinwalkers are so much more bizaar/fun. It bugs me every year, since we go around the whole house, to have the swings and trampoline out. Still got to find a good camo for the tramp. Yeah, I do up the harvest thing maybe a little too much for my house, but then everything is harvested within a mile, so it's not exactly totally out of place either.

    I'm biased, but I like your pumpkin idea. Talk to local farmers, or plant your own if you can, SOME real ones are always nice, but trying to carve a ton yourself can be a pain. I have a small garden and we were able to pull out 40 pumpkins ourselves last year. My Uncle pitched in another 140. (we sold 80) Start slow and build it.

    I say first and foremost find something you enjoy and have fun with. The rest will fall into place.
    www.AnUnorthodoxHalloween.com

    I figured out why you call yourself that - you spark unorthodox thoughts and ideas in others. - Hallomarine

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Michigan,just south of the Artic Circle
    Posts
    2,548

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    I keep with the same theme every year and expand it. Ours is Resident Evil/zombies that sort of thing. I would go with the boarder up house and combine it with the "madman residence"....Let your imagination go from there.

  7. #7

    Default

    JW, believe it or not, your house works with that cemetery, I can find older colonial homes in history that have small but ornate family plots. It may be made with modern siding and storm windows, but the details and style of your house work with the gate and the stones.

    I appreciate the idea of having a scene set aside specifically for decor, like MatrixMom with the small boneyard near the house. I also appreciate Scatterbrians setting up a walk through that creates whatever scene is needed. Hallowindows would be neat, but the house was built in the Depression, a plain brick box with those older windows made from little panes and white trim.

    I also have no exterior electric plugs.

    I've had two thoughts, both of which are very pumpkin-oriented. One is the tall, narrow holly tree in front. Hanging lit funkins from its branches would be fun, just need to get a long pole and an attachment of some sort at the end so I can hang the pumpkins high.
    I doubt I'll make foam boards for the windows, but a little tattered burlap would be nice to hang here and there, say from the porch or the windows.

    After that, it is just Jacks. A cluster of them under the tree, around the porch, maybe a few on the porch roof.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Posts
    2,639
    Blog Entries
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    I thought the same thing last year, kind of...Our home is a flat off green 70's style no caricature what so ever house...the only good thing is a large front yard with a huge old Oak tree. I am going to try and make a cemetary off to the side this year..but it will probably look dumb there. This is why I stick to the basic pumpkins, witches, ghost..oh and NOBODY else on our street decorates and our street is on an off road that not many people even know is here, so mostly its just for me..lol

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Dallas, TX
    Posts
    858

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    Spats, can you post some pictures of your yard? or pics of previous Halloween displays?

    This way, I can see what your working with and can generate ideas.

  10. #10

    Default

    Not a bad idea, let me see what I can do, MrNightmare.

    Oh, and to be fair, I'm a real Halloween nut, but most of my efforts have gone to a large party at another location over the years. My 'display' is usually just a couple of Jacks and a green bulb in the porchlight. I've never done a large personal haunt or halloween display. I'm wanting to do more, but I'm not the sort to host walk-throughs or massive setups. I just want to crank things up a bit in the decoration department.

    My serious prop making and scene setting goes to the party, as I lack space and storage, as well as a decent work area. My home crafting is done in our little dining room.

 

 
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