Throwing a Halloween party? Have some extra fun and go all out with garden decorations
Halloween is more than sweets and costumes. Traditionally, it's the time when the spirits of the dead mingle with the living, when light and dark come together and the real and supernatural worlds merge. Ghosts and goblins, skeletons and sorcerers, fairies, zombies, wizards, and unicorns populate this special day. Magic is everywhere.
Choose a theme for your party that reflects the uniqueness of Halloween. You can turn your garden into a haunted house or a ghostly graveyard. For young children choose a less scary and more magical theme, with cherubs, nymphs, pumpkins, and unicorns. Here are ideas for scary and cheery themes that keep the spirit of Halloween alive.
Decorations for a Scary Theme
Visuals set the scene, establish the theme. For a graveyard, make headstones from planks of wood or blocks of Styrofoam. Paint them grey and write weird names or epitaphs on them, like "U.R. Next" or "Ted N. Berried." (Search the Internet for funny or grim tombstone ideas.) Arrange the tombstones in a corner of your garden; sprinkle fake cobwebs (try ones that glow in the dark) and spiders around the "graves".
For an extra haunted look, place a plastic arm or a zombie statue coming up through the ground. Add a statue of a raven, the shape shifter who brings messages from the dead. Wrap a ghoulish-looking resin face around a tree.
Station menacing signs around the garden, like "Beware. You are entering the realm of the dead," "Beware, skeleton crossing," or "Watch out for ghosts."
The strange, flickering light over a gloomy peat bog symbolizes the fleeting union of day and night that happens on Halloween. You can get that same effect with candles in carved pumpkins, strings of flickering skull lights, and strobe-light skulls. Add to the ghoulish ambiance by replacing outdoor bulbs with black bulbs and playing scary music.
Decorations for a Light-hearted Theme
For a less creepy theme, turn your garden into a haven for magical fairies and friendly ghosts. Line the pathway to your house with happy carved pumpkins; carve them freehand or use stencils. Add pots of colourful chrysanthemums to your garden beds and hang a pumpkin wreath on your door. Place statues of unicorns, pixies, and wizards around the garden. Make small fairy houses from sticks and pinecones and hide them in secret spots.
If you hang paper angels from the trees with monofilament line the angels will look like they are flying. Sparkling white lights in the trees will give the impression of magic wands.
Replace your regular outdoor bulbs with orange ones. Punch holes in spray-painted tin cans and add battery-powered LED lights to create luminaries that bring sparkle to your Halloween garden. Add to the magic with an outdoor mist maker or fog machine that creates a carpet of mist with changing coloured lights.
Paint a pumpkin on a large piece of corrugated cardboard. Stand the paper pumpkin up; put bags of sweets and other Halloween treats in front of it. Cut out a face-size hole at head height. Invite your guests to put their faces in the hole, and take photos.
Whatever you choose to do this year, make sure you have a Happy Halloween!
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