Susan Allen and her family love decorating for Halloween so much that they begin building new items for the next year's display right after Christmas. After a decade of haunting their Kansas City suburb, their hard work paid off when about 700 trick-or-treaters braving their haunted garage, and they were featured on local TV.
Debbie Rodriguez of Austin, Texas, made her favorite Halloween decoration by carving foam craft pumpkins, then stacked several to create a topiary which will last year after year. The pumpkins can be decorated with any carved design. Work from a purchased template or your own freehand creation, and the finished topiary can be displayed indoors or out.
Marty Lawson of Birchwood, Tenn., goes big when decorating his front yard for Halloween. Included in his decorations are a turn-of-the-century horse-drawn hearse replica, and a giant spider and spider web covering the front of the house. The real show-stopper is the life-size Headless Horseman figure sporting the actual costume from the Sleepy Hollow film.
Kim Snyder of Sacramento, Calif., and her kids made this little ghostie by soaking gauze in liquid starch and placing it over a balloon taped to PVC pipe (for height, allowing the gauze to puddle) until stiff. The family made several small ghosts to haunt the indoors and a large ghost which they hung from a front-yard tree to greet trick-or-treaters.
Dubbed the "Queen of Halloween" by the neighborhood kids, Mary McCarthy of Centreville, Md., says her family’s Gothic-style home is not just the spookiest house on the block; it’s one of the spookiest in America. They bring their 1881 home to eerie life each year with giant staring eyes, a graveyard and a fog machine. Coupled with the home's original slate mansard roof and Victorian paint scheme, this house seems like it is really owned by the Addams family.
Pumpkins with Panache
Nancie Quinton of Roswell, Ga., wanted to have a Halloween-themed wedding but thought carved skulls and devils on pumpkins wouldn’t fit the elegant feel she wanted. She then decided to carve scrolling, floral designs on pumpkins for a festive and sophisticated look. Because she used artificial pumpkins, Nancie has been able to get many seasons of decorative use from the pumpkins for Halloween and Thanksgiving.
Haunted Pirate Ship
For more than 20 years, Dawn Ish of Hicksville, Ohio, and her family have celebrated Halloween at the local drag strip. Each year, they decorate their race-car trailer with a different theme. This year's over-the-top theme was a wrecked pirate ship, complete with sails and skeleton prisoners. Using sheets of wall cardboard for the sides, PVC pipe for the sails and papier-maché for the decorations, this ship looks like it's ready for the race track or the high seas.