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Hello everyone, I know that most of you guys are like experts but me and my family are noobs. We really want to decorate the outside of our house for October but we're not very crafty. Any ideas/tips for beginners? It doesn't have to knock anyone's socks off because we'd be the only house decorated (at least on our block).
 

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I am also doing this for the first year. I come from a family of haunters---or at least my mom is. I agree with UnOrthodox, but that may be our downfall this year because we don't really have lighting. That will come next year. We will have sound though coming from the stero system.

We are doing a lot of lighted JOLs out front, skeletons, ghosts and ghouls in the trees, with spiders and spider webs. We will also have a cemetery with some ground breakers. All of this is thanks to my wonderful Secret Reaper scareme, who personally delivered a TON of things to me. We are also doing a lot inside this year thanks to my mom giving me things, too.

Just have fun and keep haunting.
 

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Insert Witty Comment Here
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Go to Walmart and check out their Christmas lights. You can get some cheap Amber and purple ones to throw up on house. Then go grab a couple of those crafty skeletons they sell this time of year and tie a stick through the arms so that the arms are straight out to the side instead of hanging down. Then cover the head in burlap or a pillow case or a mask.....anything to cover up the silly grins and you got some spooky scarecrows.

DO NOT BUY ANYTHING WITH GLITTER ON IT!!
 

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DO NOT BUY ANYTHING WITH GLITTER ON IT!!
I had to LOL at this Scatterbrains. I can remember years ago when I first started really decorating for Halloween glitter was the thing , I have so much glitter stuff that is just stored away looking for a home. Every year I do secret reaper I pray I get someone who has glitter on their likes list and I haven't got one yet.

As for the question at hand , I agree with those that stress lighting as being important, It can make or break a good set up. and just build on props over the years , get some things after Halloween on clearance and save it for the next year and things really start to pile up until one day you discover you have too much and you are a Halloween hoarder...oh wait, no thats me. The best thing to do is think of a theme that really interests you/your family and go with it. First year might be easiest to just go with the basic cemetery since just about any theme you think of in the future can always use cemetery stuff in it as well.
 

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My husband started with lights (just orange string lights) and a big spider web made out of rope that extends from the roof over our front porch to the ground. That was before we were married. Then when we were dating he bought a bubble fogger. That made us just about the most popular house on the street with the little kids. Then the first year we were married he expanded lighting and made some tombstones. Every year we've just added a little bit more. Now we have a very large display. This year I am making a creepy scare crow.
It's my goal to add one styrofoam carb able pumpkin each year as well, so that one day we can have a huge jack o lantern display. We'll always buy real pumpkins and carve them, but I'd really like to have dozens of pumpkins and I just can't afford that many, nor can my wrists take carving that many!
Also, every year we go to the Halloween stores the day after Halloween and stock up. It's a good way to add more every year.
 

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This is what I do; I pick a different theme every year around August then I have my action plan: research (movies, this website, online pictures, web, etc), then I begin purchasinig items I need (late August early Sept), then I decorate accordingly.

My advice, have something in mind you want to display; it narrows down the options.
 

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I kind of like glitter, but you have to be careful with it at Halloween. Lol. I don't think we have any glitter in our displays. I'm pulling stuff out this week though, I'll double check to be sure. :)
 

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The Hubster & I are not at the level of many of the members here either - we decorate a yard haunt that we both love, but it's not crazy fancy or anything. After doing it for about 7 years, here's a few things that I wish I had thought about/known when we first started ~

1. Think about whether you want to do a similar theme/decor each year or whether you prefer to do something like an evil carnival one year, then a haunted asylum the next. This way you won't invest too much money into things that you won't keep and can look at things with an eye to what will be useful on multiple themes

2. We knew we would display a graveyard every year, so buying lots of tombstones made sense for us. But when we first started & didn't have a ton of money to "go big" right away, we bought some of those small plastic landscaping fences - basically garden edging - to surround our graveyard. As we got bigger each year and wanted more of a real fence, we reused those landscaping fences & incorporated them into the bigger fences that we made (see my photo album to see what I mean). Thinking of this kind of thing is really important when you're not rich and want to keep decorating bigger every year - what can you buy now to start with, but keep building on each year? If you try to look at purchases with that thought, it's a great way to keep getting bigger.

3. Try not to go too far outside your overall theme when you purchase things - our first two years, we bought anything that appealed to us. As we got bigger, it got harder to try & make sense of everything. This probably isn't a big deal if you rotate themes or have a huge enough yard for multiple "scenes", but for us it looked too busy. We ended up passing a lot of stuff to neighbors or to Goodwill, which isn't bad but if we had thought more about the overall style of our yard we wouldn't have bought so many mis-matchy things.

4. If you love it, you'll find a way to make it work - even if it doesn't work with your theme, if you love a prop or decoration, you'll be able to find a way to make it work.

5. Buy outdoor extension cords on sale - you always need more than you think!

6. Lastly - sketch out your plan onto paper. You don't have to be a good artist - I literally draw circles for trees & bushes! But when we sketch it out, The Hubster and I are both on the same page and we can get an overall feel for what we're going for. Plus we don't have to constantly bug each other about where something goes and it's a LOT easier to change the plan when you're still in the drawing phase than after you've put things around the house or into the yard.

Have fun with it!
:cool:
 

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How about a magic trick?
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From my website and years of personal experience: You can also search the threads here for more ideas but these are just the basics:


First, let's start with outside. Depending on the size of your yard - or your porch, you can decorate a dozen different ways.
Scary? Cute? Silly? Classic monsters? It's up to you to decide what type of emotions you are trying to evoke.

* Change all outdoor lighting to Green, Blue and Purple Light bulbs. Orange for the porch light(s).

* Place bales of hay, corn stalks, and pumpkins on your porch or in your front yard. Add a few dead tree branches along with spider-webbing and a few rubber spiders. You can also use plastic or rubber snakes, mice, and lizards... creepy!!

* You can find inexpensive Halloween decorations at Dollar Tree or Deals.
Also the Dollar Spot at most Targets (located by the front of the store)

* Inside, you can decorate the walls and windows with paper life-size monsters, bats, skeletons, and ghosts, which you can find at any Party City or retail store.

* Spider-webbing can be used in corners, around door and window frames inside as well. Some even glow in the dark or react to UV black-lights (if you're using black-lights, use florescent or LED bulbs)


* You could also set up stereo speakers (or a small, portable stereo ) in the bushes or in the windows facing your front yard or porch - pick up some scary music at your local music store or even at Target, Wal*Mart, CVS or Walgreen's. (yes - they carry Halloween CD's) and play the music nightly for about a week leading up to Halloween Night. Or better yet, burn your own CD on your computer - you can find a list of Halloween music here on the Forum under "Halloween Music".

* String up Green, Orange (or Amber) and Purple miniature-lights on your bannisters, around windows (inside and out), in your shrubs, bushes and small trees.

* You can also find Pumpkins, Cats, Eyeballs, Ghosts and Flickering Skeleton lights as well, which can be found at nearly any retail outlet store.

* If the pathway or sidewalk is too dark leading up to your house, simply place a string of miniature orange lights along the pathway, making it a lot easier to see.

* For a really spooky look, hang green glowsticks from a front-yard tree using black thread or fishing line. (Can be bought in bulk, online)

*Like I mentioned earlier in this post, you can find tons of ideas here on the forum.

 

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Placing our Fog Machine outside made the biggest impact for us. We have the typical tombstones and other deco, but it seemed like the Trick or Treaters really liked the fog :D
 

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Once you have it up, look at it during the day and during the night...figure out if you need to move stuff around due to safety, lighting, etc.

And take pictures during the day and night!!! Sure, for us, but also so you know how you had it set up and what worked/didn't work - plus it helps when putting stuff back together next year.
 

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The dollar stores are your friend!

If you don't live in an area that gets a ton of wind, they have some decent tombstones, nothing fancy but they'll do for now. They also have 18" skellys, plenty of creepy cloth, & lots of indoor decor too.
 

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Lights are important, whether it be string lights, floodlights from home depot, or anything. If you choose to do a graveyard, blue tends to look the best. Most Halloween stores sell a variety of CD's that'll work for anything you choose. I prefer to stick to Midnight Syndicate, I'm not a huge fan of sound FX Cd's. Just make sure you get a budget and stick to it! Haunting can get expensive, so don't be afraid to shop around for the best deal.
 

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A couple quick tips.

If you use the bagged spiderwebs follow the bags directions and properly stretch it out. A few minutes of prep work with it can make the web appear much more realistic.

If using black lights do not buy incandescent bulbs. They do not throw off much UV light go for cfl instead.

Finally remember you do not have to get all the props for your perfect haunt in one year. Start off small and build it up this will give you something to look forward to each Halloween and allow you to change the direction your haunt takes over time.
 

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I'm not a professional. Make it what you want it to be. I do agree with everyone here though, lighting is the most most important thing with any haunt. Place lights that will highlight props, your house, anything that will tease and entice those who stop by. There are some great pictures on Halloween Forum of many houses by all these guys, and gals. They all have done an outstanding job. Look over them to get great ideas as to how you want your haunt to look. Good luck.
 

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It's been said a few times already, but I think it is worth repeating because it can't be overstated. :)

For someone first starting out, the first step should definitely lighting.

From my perspective, that would imply floods, and there are some nice LED versions that are pretty affordable. Colored CFL bulbs can produce some pretty inexpensive impact as well, and make use of existing light fixtures.

From there, sound and fog would be the next layer.

That fundamental combination would allow a new haunter to build on a pretty solid foundation for years.....
 

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Lighting is easy. Get the spiral colored bulbs from Home Depot or Lowes (red, blue, green work the best) and get the silver pie pan light shells with the clamps. Those make great lighting effects pretty cheap. This was our old house last year
Night Light Sky Lighting Darkness
 

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Everyone else has given great advice. Mine is start small and just keep adding every year. Also set a budget and STICK to it. Once this Halloween is over start looking at what you would like to add for next year and start planning. Hitting the huge discount sales at the retail stores AFTER Halloween can be awesome to help add for next year.
Oh and if you buy those little Dollar Tree headstones then use wooden skewers (like for making food kabobs) to help put them in the ground. Just my two cents.
 
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