25 DIY outdoor Halloween decorations for a ghoulish garden
Transform your home with amazing outdoor Halloween decoration ideas and practical tips to get you started.
You might have killed the indoor decor (in a good way), but making outdoor Halloween decorations is a whole other beast. Fortunately, transforming your outdoor space into a Halloween hellscape doesn’t have to be a fright.
Whether you want make-shift pumpkin patches, a papier mache graveyard or a pathway adorned with flickering lanterns, you’re in the right place. Whatever your spooky style, the Gathered team has you covered!
This guide will take you through a variety of ideas and inspiration to turn your garden into a sinister masterpiece.
You’ll get all the top tips and tricks to bring your garden to the afterlife. Find out how to make your own decorations with easy-to-follow guides or find the best ones to buy if you’re short of time.
Plus we share our advice on arranging or placing your decorations so they complement each other and your space.
Want to makeover your interiors too? Check out Gathered's favourite DIY Halloween decorations.
25 best homemade outdoor Halloween decorations
1. Lantern path
A pathway of candles leading up to your front door will create an eerie glow to welcome guests and trick-or-treaters to your home.
Use glass jars with lids and battery-powered tea lights or fairy lights to display these outdoors.
For seasoned crafters, we recommend adding scenes to your jars to create a silhouette effect. We’ve got a free eerie skyline template or you can create your own using simple black paper.
Check out the full tutorial for how to make your spooky lanterns. These ones were made for Christmas, but you could adapt the project to use for Halloween too.
2. Painted pumpkins
Carving pumpkins can be messy and time-consuming, but painting pumpkins is quicker and easier while also adding a touch of style to your porch this Halloween.
Don’t forget to varnish your pumpkins to seal them if they’re likely to be exposed to the elements, as this will make them last longer.
Learn how to paint a pumpkin with Gathered’s step-by-step guide.
3. Floating witch hats
These levitating witch hats double up as lights with LED candles inside! If you have a front porch, you can hang lots of them at different levels to make a magical display.
Find out how to make your own floating witch hats with R&R at home.
4. Milk jug skulls
Feeling ambitious? These milk jug skulls created by Instructables take a bit of effort to make, but the end result is seriously impressive!
Pile up your skulls in your garden or backyard to bring terror into your life this Halloween.
5. Giant spiders
This giant spider is guaranteed to make passersby do a double take! With its demonic red eyes and furry coat, it will really make an impression – especially at night.
You should be able to easily find most of the supplies you need for this project in your local craft store or online.
Create your own DIY giant spider with this brilliant tutorial from littleyellowwheelbarrow.com.
6. Traditional pumpkins
Sometimes you just can’t beat the real thing! The iconic Jack O’Lantern is a real symbol of Halloween and no seasonal display is complete without at least one.
Pick up tips and tricks with Gathered’s how to carve a pumpkin tutorial.
7. Halloween painted rocks
You might not think of rock painting when it comes to Halloween. They do, however, go hand-in-hand and can be very effective when decorating your garden path or outside your front door.
Rock painting is a great chance for kids to get in the Halloween spirit. They can choose their favourite rocks and have at it! Acrylic paint works especially well on rocks and better yet it’s low-cost. Remember to seal your rocks with varnish to make your designs last.
If you want to take your Halloween rock painting to the next level, use glow-in-the-dark acrylic paint. It’ll add a whole new eerie dimension to your garden.
8. Tomato cage ghost
Tomato cages from your local garden centre can be transformed into glowing ghouls for Halloween.
You just need some fabric to make the ghost’s body and features, plus a string of fairy lights to make it shine in the darkness.
You could use old bed sheets or tablecloths to save money and turn this into a thrifty upcycling project.
Find out how to make a tomato cage ghost with this easy-to-follow tutorial from the My Cotton Creations blog.
9. Raven Halloween porch
This gothic porch design is inspired by Edgar Allan Poe’s haunting poem The Raven.
It can be easily pulled together with some fake ravens, twisting branches and monochrome painted pumpkins.
Create your own uncanny scene with Create Craft Love’s raven-inspired Halloween porch guide.
10. Tin can lanterns
Turn trash into glimmering lanterns using this crafty tin can lanterns tutorial from thisoldhouse.com.
You can be really inventive with this project, as you can come up with your own original designs for your lanterns. We think a mixture of different designs looks very appealing.
11. Wooden candy corn
Calling all DIY fans! You’ll need a few tools to make this classic wooden candy corn project from meganplusfive.com.
A dash of antiquing wax gives your finished candy corn a worn look, so people will think you’ve had them for ages!
This is a fantastic Halloween prop that can be stored away and brought out every year.
12. Cardboard tombstones
Save up your cardboard boxes and cereal packets to make your own graveyard. With a bit of spray paint and some papier mache, you can create surprisingly realistic tombstones.
It’s a fantastic way to create your own bone-chilling DIY Halloween yard decorations this October.
Discover how to make cardboard tombstones with Ehow.
13. Halloween garage door silhouettes
Cast an enchantment over the neighbourhood with this spellbinding Halloween garage door silhouette project from Instructables!
You will need to do some DIY to make this project, so it’s definitely one for more experienced crafters.
14. Hanging cage Halloween prop
We love the theatrical feel of these hanging cage Halloween props invented by The Navage Patch, which can be made using cheap plastic baskets.
The baskets have had their rims removed and have been sprayed with black paint to make them look more cage-like. Once you’ve finished making them, you just need to decide what (or who!) you want to imprison inside.
15. Ghost tin can wind sock
Yet another ingenious way to upcycle your old tin cans this Halloween! These ghost tin can wind socks from chickenscratchny.com are so easy to make and look frightfully good.
If you have kids who want to get involved, encourage them to paint their own ghostly faces on the tins.
Give your windows a chilling makeover
Turn your windows into something truly spooktacular this October with Gathered’s Halloween window decoration ideas.
16. Giant spider webs
When it comes to homemade outdoor Halloween decorations, bigger is always better! Bring terror to your yard by covering it in these giant Halloween spider webs from South Lumina Style.
Complete the look by making the enormous red-eyed spiders that we mentioned earlier in this round-up!
17. Halloween picket fence
Take your backyard graveyard to the next level by constructing a Halloween cemetery picket fence that’s to die for.
Entertaining Diva has put together an in-depth tutorial to help you build and style your fence.
18. Man-eating plant
Don’t turn your back on these man-eating plants – they might devour you! This creative decoration would work well indoors too, but we’d love to hide it in the garden to give visitors a fun surprise.
Get the lowdown on how to make a man-eating plant for Halloween with hometalk.com.
19. Mummy jar lanterns
Looking for a quick Halloween fix? These mummy jar lanterns from blissfuldomestication.com can be made in minutes – and you only need a few supplies!
This is an easy project for kids to make too. If you’re looking for more activities for children to make, check out Gathered’s easy Halloween crafts for kids for lots of fun ideas.
20. Creepy ghost tree
If you prefer your Halloween decorations to be more cute than creepy, this adorable ghost tree tutorial from Hobbycraft will be right up your street!
It’s the perfect project to make if you have a suitable tree in your garden, but you could always hang them from a fake tree on a porch or balcony if you don’t have much outdoor space.
21. Pumpkin terrarium
For a more sophisticated outdoor Halloween decoration, have a go at making Prima’s pumpkin terrarium project.
These sweet little pumpkins would look magnificent as part of a Halloween display around your front door.
22. Blood-dripped candles
Up the gore factor by decorating your doorstep with bloody candles that any vampire would love. These candles are shockingly simple to make, as you just need to buy a red candle and dribble the wax around the sides of some white candles.
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These candles would look fang-tastic unlit as part of an outdoor Halloween display. If you do decide to light them, make sure they’re on a fire-proof surface away from anything flammable and never leave them unattended.
23. Cheesecloth spirits
Martha Stewart’s cheesecloth ghosts have a true air of menace! Arrange them to make an unforgettable display in front of your home that’ll petrify anyone who sees them.
Try not to have nightmares!
24. Sinister scarecrow
Keep crows (and people) at bay by putting Martha Stewart’s watchful DIY scarecrow in your yard.
Don’t worry if his vegetable face starts to shrivel as the month goes on – it’ll only make him look scarier!
25. PVC pipe yard monster
This enormous PVC pipe yard monster from hometalk.com will haunt your dreams and possibly your nightmares.
He’s made from pipes to give him long limbs and the finished monster is eight feet tall!
Where to start with your DIY outdoor Halloween decorations
The first thing to think about is who you’re decorating for. Are you throwing a party for friends? Are you having a family get-together with kids? Or are you simply decorating to surprise and delight trick-or-treaters?
If it’s the latter, then your door decoration should be the main focus. This means we’re talking wreaths, pumpkins, lanterns and signs.
Get started on your front door with our Halloween wreath ideas, which are a great and relatively easy way to make your door the centre of attention.
It’ll also let the neighbours know that you’re happy for their little ghouls to come a-knocking.
If you’re throwing a Halloween party for adults, then we recommend you lean into the horror element of the holiday and avoid cutesy designs.
You can impress your party guests with a night to remember by illuminating your outdoor space with string lights. A combination of lights in orange, red or purple is ideal for creating an ominous glow.
What makes the best outdoor Halloween decorations?
Outdoor decorations will differ from indoor crafts in several ways. You’ll need to consider the following when it comes to making or buying your outdoor Halloween decorations.
It might sound obvious, but waterproof decorations are a must! Especially if you live somewhere with lots of rain (ahem…England).
Your decorations will likely remain up as Halloween approaches, so they should survive for at least a week. They need to be able to handle the elements, so think about what October is like in your neighbourhood.
2. Quick to make
Are you a bit of a last-minute kind of person? No problem: you’re going to want quick and easy decorations to put up.
3. Easy to move
Unless you fancy leaving your decorations up all year round (we wouldn’t judge you), then you’re going to want your decorations to be easy to move and store.
We’re all about upcycling here at Gathered. That’s why we want all your decorations to be sturdy enough that they can be used year after year. You can always experiment with different garden setups to make every Halloween unique.
Making the most of your handmade outdoor Halloween decorations
Starting your Halloween decorating and planning as early as possible means you’ll get the most out of the spooky season!
Early October is the best time to start as autumnal decorations can be used all season. Save your creepier stuff for the week leading up to the big night!
Whatever your Halloween style turned out to be, planning is key! Ensure you are prepped and stock up on supplies in advance, as sometimes DIY decorations can take longer than you expect.
Have a merry horrid Christmas with Halloween trees
Fans of horror can keep the autumnal celebrations going right up until Christmas with these amazing Halloween trees. And yes, they’re exactly what they sound like: Christmas trees designed for Halloween!
Katie Dolan edits our needlework sections, focusing on our embroidery and cross stitch articles, as well as making videos for our arts and crafts projects. Katie runs her jewellery business, Ophelia Jewellery Art, on Etsy, where she sells beautiful resin-pressed flower earrings. She has a wide range of craft interests including embroidery – she particularly loves all things pop culture and a less traditional approach – The Simpsons and Rick & Morty are among her favourites to embroider. She has recently completed a silversmith workshop and hopes to expand her jewellery business with these new skills. When she’s not crafting, she’s usually fuelling her Harry Potter addiction with a Sunday film marathon and a couple of butter beers!
Sarah Orme is a UK-based linocut printmaker, digital editor, feature writer and award-winning podcaster. She's been editing the sewing and art sections of Gathered.how – and before that our sister website calmmoment.com – for over 3 years. She’s the host of Gathered’s We’ve Made It podcast and A Calmer Life podcast. She’s a keen crafter and artist and loves creating DIY tutorials for Gathered. Sarah has previously written features for The Guardian, In The Moment Magazine, Project Calm Magazine, countryfile.com, radiotimes.com and yourhomestyle.uk. She enjoys designing her own unique lino prints and dreams of opening her own online shop. She shares her work @sarahormeprints
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