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Decorating your home for Halloween

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Halloween is the time for devilish pranks and frightening fun – and it’s not just for kids. Adults often get a treat out of playing tricks on children. It seems parents have a penchant for scaring up spooky Halloween decor to tempt and tease trick-or-treaters.

From ghoulish ghosts waving in trees to spooky scarecrows perched precariously on front stoops, there are plenty of ways to liven up the home for the holiday. This Halloween, DIY Network’s Allison Whitlock invites homeowners to mix the tried-and-true with a few new ideas to create a truly menacing manor. With a few clever creations, traditional Halloween decor gets a new life and becomes an eerie enticement.

With Halloween decor, there is no right and wrong, and there is no such thing as too much – so think big.

“Decorations are there to be noticed, so don’t be afraid to be bold,” Whitlock said. “A few large statements will make a bigger impact than several smaller ones.”

If small decorations are all you have, use repetition to make a statement. “Repetition is the designer’s best friend, so if you’re going to decorate, multiply your idea,” Whitlock said.

With these basic principles in mind, add some clever, yet creepy surprises. “Roll out the orange carpet this year,” Whitlock said. “Colored synthetic grass or carpet will give your front path or stoop a big impact.

“If your path is straight, just roll it out Oscars-style. But for curved paths, try carpet squares. You can cut them to fit curves and their rubber backing makes them perfect for short term use outside.”

For even more creepy curb appeal, give your lawn the kiss of death with a slew of fake flowers scattered across the yard.

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“Insert synthetic black roses randomly throughout your lawn, or arrange them in giant urns on either side of your front door – and chop the buds from a few, Morticia Adams-style,” Whitlock said. “You can buy them black or simply spray with black paint.”

Don’t forget to light up the night. It’s no fun if trick-or-treaters can’t see the decorations. Instead of a simple strand of novelty lights, create chilling orbs of light to line walkways and illuminate trees.

“You’ve seen novelty lights with ghosts and mini jack-o’-lanterns before, but try using them in a different way this year. Create structure by wrapping them around a form,” Whitlock said.

“A simple sphere can be made with wire and chicken mesh. Make them in different sizes and wrap them with lights, then place them on your lawn or hang them from trees. Once you’ve mastered the sphere, try shaping a giant pumpkin.”

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When creating any Halloween display, safety should come first. After all, scary doesn’t mean dangerous. ‘Tis the season for frightening fun, not a frightening trip to the emergency room.

According to the nonproft Home Safety Council, well-lit walkways are a must. For a Halloween display that’s as safe as it is scary, provide plenty of light so trick-or-treaters can find their way. Place lights along walkways and driveways and keep porches well lit so children don’t stumble or trip on steps.

But avoid using candles. Instead, use small LED lamps to light walkways, and illuminate jack-o’-lanterns with small flashlights.

If you do use candles as part of a Halloween display, keep them away from flammable objects like leaves, crepe paper and fabrics. To prevent costumes from catching fire, keep all candle decorations away from porches and paths, and be sure to extinguish all the candles when the evening is over.

“The holidays bring joy and laughter – but also the risk of serious injuries from falls, fires and poisons,” said Home Safety Council president Meri-K Appy.

“It’s important to recognize the potential dangers associated with holiday decorating, such as the use of candles, ladders and lights, and take extra care,” Appy said.

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