Fall is here and natural leaf colors are nature’s way of showing off her beauty. It is also time for Halloween. That does not mean everything has to be work and no play when it comes to Halloween landscaping.

Think about ways you can use lawn clean-up to have a little fun. Halloween is a great time of year to decorate your house and yard. Leaves can be used to fill “jack o’ lantern” bags and straw bales bought for mulch can be stacked decorated with corn stalks.

Here are some fun ideas to consider when designing your Halloween landscaping. The sky’s the limit but remember to use materials that will withstand weather changes such as rain and wind.


Everyone loves pumpkins that become jack o’ lanterns for the season. Carving is traditional, but you can also paint faces on them or use permanent markers to make fun or scary faces.

Create a pumpkin patch in the front yard by lining pumpkins in rows attaching them with a leafy plastic vine. Another suggestion is to decorate their faces with glow in the dark paint so their expressions only show at night.


What Halloween landscaping would be complete without a graveyard? You can create illuminating stones that will glow after the sun goes down. Make a headstone mold using a plastic or a metal rectangular tray. Mix concrete, water, and illuminating powder (about 15% illuminating powder to the concrete powder) let set and decorate. Use paver bricks front and back to prop the headstone so they stand up.


If you have a sidewalk or steppingstones, some bloody footprints can give a chilling effect. Using an old shoe and some washable red paint, paint the bottom of the shoe and “walk” the red prints up the path to the door.

Glow in the dark paint would give a ghostly effect. You might want to add some drops of “blood” to create a more realistic effect.


Hands coming out of bushes, a grave, a straw bale, or a tree trunk can easily be made with plastic or latex gloves filled with dirt. With a little imagination and some paint, they can be decorated to look like a skeleton’s hand.

Use masking tape to create the bone stencil to place on the gloves, use black spray paint on the gloves, then peel away the tape when the paint has dried.


Fluttering ghosts give a great Halloween landscaping effect, and they are easy to make. Using white trash bags as the body and blown-up balloons as the head, tie fishing line around the bottom of the balloon after inserting the “head” into the trash bag. Make a large loop of fishing line into the bag above the head as the hanger. Hang from trees, porches, or fence posts. If you want to decorate the faces, use a permanent marker or paint.

Smokey Bubbling Cauldron

If you have an old cauldron or large stew pot hanging around, Halloween is a good time to bring it out. Fill the cauldron halfway with hot water plus a small amount of dish soap. Using heavy-duty gloves or tongs, add some small pieces of dry ice to the cauldron. Mists of fog and bubbles will pour out of the pot. A word of caution: do not touch the dry ice with bare skin.

Bales of Straw

The straw bale can be used as the body of a sitting scarecrow. Place the bale on end adding stakes to secure it. Set a jack o’ lantern on top as the head on the bale. Place an old shirt around the upper part of the bale as well as placing a pair of old pants around the bottom of the bale. Stuff the arms of the shirt and the pant legs with dried corn stalks. Add an old hat to the top of the jack o’ lantern and secure.

Mummy Style Door Decoration

All it takes is a roll or two of white crepe paper, a sheet of black construction paper, one sheet of black construction paper, some tape, and a pair of scissors to convert your door. Wrap your door with the crepe paper to look like it is bandaged. Using the pieces of construction paper, make eyes and attach them to the upper part of the bandaged door. On Halloween night, play scary laughter sounds coming from behind the door.

Lighted Walkway

Fall is the season for mums. Why not line your walkway with potted mums and use mini lights to light the way. String the lights through the mums and for added effect, place “cobwebs” lightly over the top of the flowers. You may even be inspired to add some lightweight plastic spiders.

Create your own Halloween layout using a combination of these easy design elements. As a reminder, fall is the time to prepare your landscape for the winter season.