While I have a strict "NO DECORATING BEFORE OCTOBER 1st!" rule, the first weekend in September usually marks the beginning of the Hallowe'en season for me.
I'm using the long hot Labor Day weekend to start pulling together this year's new props. Trips to Goodwill and Savers netted me another really bad painting for the art gallery (some sort of garish bejeweled octopus on a bloody red background), a gaudy metal candlestick to be repainted and added to the SpiderLand collection, a 40' string of red outdoor christmas lights for a buck, and a 34" tall heavy, resin garden angel/nymph. I'll be adding a few more topical tombstones of course, but the garden angel will be my first major cemetery statuary prop. She'll be repainted to stone, and her fru-fru flowery wings will likely becoming bat wings in the process.
I like flat props and installations because they are so much easier to store away in between. My 42± tombstones are painted plywood and store neatly in a 2'x2' rack in the garage. The cemetery fencing is likewise flat and rackable. Okay, so my collection of 100's of vintage and new plastic pumpkins isn't easy to store, and then there's the Flamingo Armada ... but at least they are lightweight and hang well in the rafters.
This year's new installations will be a pair of Hellmouths. One will be a ground-level grate (roughly 2'x4' when done), the other a vertical and gated silhouette in front of the garage door (probably about 5'x5' when complete). This will mean moving the bar (creepy party display) and bartenders (Jack and Steve, two tricked-out store manikins) further down the driveway to make room. The grate and gate will be constructed of salvaged store-fixture racks that measure 9"x60", and all I'll probably have to do is zip-tie them together and figure out a support system.
Making a bunch of skeletal hands for the grate, repairing the angel, and base-coating tombstones this weekend. So it begins. Pictures soon.