When you stroll through your neighborhood this Halloween season, get ready for some front-yard tricks and some awesome lighting treats. Halloween displays are more sophisticated — and fun — than ever, headlined by energy-saving CFL and LED extravaganzas, and powered by creative home owners who pull out all the stops when it comes to making spooky delights. Click through our slideshow and enjoy the magic!
If you like lots of spooky light for your Halloween display but are scared to death about wasting energy, try floodlights with compact fluorescent lights (CFLs). A 20-watt CFL floodlight is as bright as a 100-watt incandescent, but uses one-fifth the energy. They come in many colors; a weatherproof, 20-watt CFL floodlight is about $10 and will last 8,000 hours, or more than 30 Halloweens.
Halloween Lighting IdeasDo You Shudder at Shadows?
If you want to keep the fun quotient high but the cash outlay low, paper window silhouettes are wickedly cool. Make cutouts from black paper, stick them on your windows, and back them with a translucent shade or sheet. Turn up the background lights to create a whole-house luminary. Need artistic help? Download these silhouette templates.
Put a smile on your driveway with a rainbow made of plastic pumpkins. Stakes on either side of the driveway are all that’s needed to anchor an arch made of plastic PVC pipe; pumpkins are attached with zip ties. Lighting comes courtesy of a string of Christmas lights with clear bulbs; different size bulbs vary the lighting intensity for each pumpkin.
Looking for a place to stage your Halloween piece de resistance? Second-story displays give everybody the creeps — and that’s a good thing. Stash a ghoul or two on an upper-level balcony or alcove, add some dramatic uplighting, and you’ll create an awesome welcome for trick-or-treaters. Keep lights safe by making sure they’re UL-rated for exterior use.
Save money — and save storage space — by repurposing your Christmas light displays for Halloween. Turn Santa’s elves into ghosts, and candy canes into snakes. Got other ideas? Add a suggestion to the comment field at the end of the slide show.
If you love Halloween displays but don’t have the DIY chops (or the time) to pull off something epic, a store-bought inflatable with built-in lighting will instantly boost your Halloween curb appeal. This lovely Grim Reaper and menacing carriage ($279) is 15 feet long and inflates in minutes using the included heavy-duty fan. Lights run on batteries, so it’s a cordless installation you can set up anywhere.
You’ll have trick-or-treaters doing a double-take when they see the homemade eyeball string lights you’ve hung around your front entry. Ping pong balls ($4.25 per dozen) and some Christmas string lights ($18 for 50 LED lights on a 22-foot string) are the basics; color in eyes with Sharpies. LED holiday lights stay cool and won’t melt those eyeballs.
Want a great low-cost lighting idea? Take cardboard cores from paper towels and toilet paper rolls, cut out a pair of fanciful eyes, and light them up with a glow stick (about $2 for a pack of 4); glow sticks come in many colors. Strategically place them in bushes and trees for that “I’m watching you” touch of creepiness. Try covering the cardboard rolls with paper and drawing in a set of eyeballs.
Halloween Lighting IdeasMix Inside and Outside Lighting
Give your house the full Halloween treatment by blending interior and exterior lighting. Orange curtains, sparkly lights, and cat-eye shades in the upstairs windows mix with colored exterior landscaping lights and some holiday string lights on the outside. Practice holiday lighting safety by inspecting light strings and making sure steps and walkways have adequate outdoor lighting.
Set up your Halloween lighting without having to worry about extension cords and power outlets. This string of LED lights operates on 3 AA batteries and will burn steadily for 15 days straight; switch over to the “twinkle” setting and they’ll go for 30 days. A 23-foot-long strand (96 lights) is $24.
Can’t decide on a color scheme for your Halloween extravaganza? Try a monochromatic look — one color makes everything appear dreamlike. Try LED bulbs — they use 75% less energy than incandescents of similar brightness, and a single $25 bulb lets you pocket about $130 in energy savings over its 20-year lifespan. Not that you want to live in a green dream for two decades.
Image: Brandon Osuna
Halloween Lighting IdeasHead Games
Cute, or creepy? We vote “creepy” for this hollow porcelain baby’s head. Light it up with a battery-powered LED tealight ($4) that flickers for an extra dose of weird. Great as a centerpiece for a Halloween dinner party or as a disembodied accent for your garden or patio. Eww!