All photos taken at author's actual domicile. Happy Halloween!
All photos taken at author's actual domicile. Happy Halloween!
Photo by Chris Lane

Six Simple Ways to Have a Halloween House All Year Long

October is here, a month in which many people's thoughts turn to all things spooky, such as planning their costumes or a party they might host. The month leading up to Halloween is a festive time for many Americans, but soon abandoned for the other holidays around the bend.

But what if you're spooky all the time? What if you're the type of person who enjoys dwelling on darker subjects, and wants to keep the spirit of Halloween going all year round? What if you want your abode to reflect those stylistic preferences? Do you just keep Halloween decorations up all year round?

The answer is yes, but it's more complicated than that. How does one create a delightfully spooky house the entire year? Let's look at some strategies.

Can you guess which portrait is of our author?
Can you guess which portrait is of our author?
Photo by Chris Lane

6. You Must Experiment With Color.
If you're really committed to a Halloween aesthetic, certain colors help establish the right mood. If it's an option, painting your rooms can really make your environment inspiring. I've seen some great interiors done with orange and other fall colors, but my personal taste runs to black and blood-red. Not for everyone, but chances are, if you want your place to be spooky year-round, your taste is probably unconventional too.

Sure beats Scrabble or Monopoly.
Sure beats Scrabble or Monopoly.
Photo by Chris Lane

5. Have a Few "Interesting" Collections.
Do you collect medical oddities? How about old Ouija boards or cursed objects? You're in luck, because displaying that kind of collection is a guaranteed way to let visitors know "Yes, I'm that strange person who lives in the scary house." If you can make the inside of your place look as if it's 20 percent carnival funhouse and 80 percent haunted house, you're sure to make an impression. It'll also keep more judgmental scaredy-cats away, and who needs them in his life anyway?

I'd advise folks to paint the exteriors of their homes black too, but this is Texas, and it gets hot. Also, many people live in neighborhoods with HOA jerks who won't allow them to have caskets in the yard all year long. Fascists.

Vintage boxed costumes look great as wall decorations, and can be hung with modified plate hangers.
Vintage boxed costumes look great as wall decorations, and can be hung with modified plate hangers.
Photo by Chris Lane

4. Stock Up on Halloween Decor.
This is a given, but a person really dedicated to a spooky home needs to go the extra mile with selecting Halloween decorations. Remember those old Ben Cooper and Collegeville Halloween costumes from the 1950s through the '70s? They look great in their boxes mounted on a wall. Etsy, eBay and antique stores are a faux haunted house decorator's friend...Sure, you can just buy the Halloween swag Target and other retailers roll out each year (and if it's good stuff, you should), but why limit yourself?

Proper lighting is essential.
Proper lighting is essential.
Photo by Chris Lane

3. Experiment With Lighting.
The right lights can make an otherwise boring room a lot more interesting, so why limit yourself to a floor lamp or the 60 watts in a ceiling fixture? Modern LED candles can illuminate a room and create a spooky ambience, and special-effects bulbs and lights can really make a dramatic statement.

2. Buy a Hearse.
This is a simple if increasingly expensive way to let your neighbors know you are not a conventional person and you like to walk on the dark side of life. Word to the wise, though — if you own a hearse, the classic old ones are susceptible to rust, are close to 20 feet long and hard to park, and at least a few of your neighbors will probably rat you out to the HOA if there is one. Trust me, I own a '74 Caddy hearse, so I know what I'm talking about.

I call this painting "The Inquisitor." Guaranteed to set a spooky mood.
I call this painting "The Inquisitor." Guaranteed to set a spooky mood.
Photo by Chris Lane

1. Get Creative and Make 'Em Wonder.
There's nothing wrong with the less scary, more "harvest festival"-cutesy side of Halloween, but if you prefer things on the creepier side, consider the subtle things you can do to freak visitors out. For instance, I collect art, and some of it is perhaps a bit..."dark," but I recently had a cheap portrait of myself painted. Now I want to put it in a guest room to make people nervous. Also, bones lying around in an otherwise empty closet or attic will eventually get someone's attention. Let the fun commence!

Newsletters

All-access pass to top stories, events and offers around town.

Sign Up >

No Thanks!

Remind Me Later >