Home & Outdoors

10 things to take your Halloween decor to the next level

Spooky season has arrived.

Skeleton spider and Halloween carved pumpkin Credit: Getty / NWphotoguy / ktaylorg

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The spookiest holiday of all is just around the corner—and you’re going to need more than a few pumpkins scattered around your porch to properly decorate.

Halloween is on Thursday, Oct. 31, which means you’ve only got a few weeks to add an eerie flair to your home before hoards of trick-or-treaters arrive. From smart plugs to spider webs, we’ve rounded up 10 essentials you’ll need to decorate for this Halloween. Here’s what you should buy.

1. A smart plug so you can control Halloween display remotely

Smart plug and stacked pumpkins
Credit: Reviewed / Ben Keough / Amazon

A smart plug can help you control your Halloween display from your phone or smart speaker.

Got an elaborate display of orange string lights, or maybe some of those inflatable Halloween decorations (like these adorable stacked pumpkins) for your front yard? Chances are you probably don't want to leave your comfortable bed and go outside to shut off your Halloween display late at night.

With the help of a smart plug, you can turn your decorations on and off right from your phone, and most importantly, without ever leaving the comfort of your cozy bed. To get the most bang for your buck, we recommend the eufy Smart Plug by Anker, which connects via WiFi and is compatible with Alexa and Google Assistant.

Get the eufy Smart Plug by Anker on Amazon for $22.99

2. Tools to make a porch-ready jack-o-lantern

carve a pumbo
Credit: Getty Images / RomoloTavani, Pumpkin Punchers

Pumpkin carving is a great Halloween tradition for kids and seasoned craftsmen alike.

One of the tried and true traditions of Halloween, pumpkin-carving is a fun family activity and a great way to show off your creativity—even if things don’t go as planned, it can at least result in a pie.

Of course, carving pumpkins does necessitate some hardware—and those options can vary greatly depending on who’s doing the carving.

Looking for a carving kit for kids but want to stay away from sharp implements? This Pumpkin Puncher product can let the younger set create a great-looking jack-o-lantern without sharp knives or acute fine motor skills. The kit comes with a bunch of cookie cutter-like metal shapes you can use to punch holes in your pumpkin to look like spooky eyes or goofy smiles.

Want a great and sturdy tool for the older crowd? This pumpkin carving tool has a 4.3 out of 5 rating with over 300 reviews on Amazon. Owners praise its durable construction and ease of use.

If you’re looking to experiment a bit and maybe try out pumpkin shaving, this popular kit comes with a plethora of tools. This kit is notable for including a few versatile tools useful in non-pumpkin mediums as well, so this kit will keep you covered if you want to keep exploring sculpting.

3. A smart speaker to play scary sounds and songs

Amazon Echo 2nd Generation
Credit: Reviewed / Jackson Ruckar / Getty / rustyl3599

Passing out candy on the front porch on Oct. 31? Bring your Echo out to play spooky sounds and eerie tunes.

It wouldn’t be Halloween without a perpetual loop of creepy noises, now would it? To add some extra flair to your Halloween extravaganza, check out our favorite Amazon Echo smart speaker, the Echo second-generation. When using the Amazon Alexa app, available for iOS and Android devices, you can enable the “Spooky Halloween Sounds” skill to hear an endless stream of eerie sounds. To turn on the noises, say, “Alexa, start Spooky Halloween Sounds.”

Get the Echo second-generation on Amazon for $69.99

4. Fake spiderwebs create creepy ambiance

web
Credit: Moon Boat

Whether it’s encasing your whole walkway in webbing or adding a few strands to a light fixture, fake spider webs are necessary for nailing that Halloween feeling.

Cobwebs have always been great at setting a certain mood, like an area is ancient and forgotten. Many Halloween décor schemes find ways to integrate cobwebs, because they’re a versatile accent to whatever other decorations or fixtures you have.

Want to create a subtle ominous ambiance? Drape some cobwebs over furniture, between fixtures, or over shrubs outside. Want to dive into the arachnophobia? Apply the fake webbing liberally, then hang up some fake bones wrapped up in cheese cloth to create the cocooned remnants of a colossal spider’s snack. Want a similar effect but don’t have the time? They actually just sell large, web-wrapped bodies that move.

Regardless of how subtle or over-the-top you’re looking to make your Halloween, fake cobwebs are the perfect sticky filament to tie everything together.

Get Fake Spider Web on Amazon for $11.99

5. A smart doorbell so you can talk to trick-or-treaters

Ring Doorbell and kids trick or treating on porch
Credit: Reviewed / Jackson Ruckar / Getty / Rawpixel

See how many trick-or-treaters are at your front door using the Ring Video Doorbell 2.

Some people like to sit in their driveway or on the front porch to pass out candy on Halloween night, but if you’re more of a sit-indoors-and-wait kind of person, then you can have some fun with your smart doorbell. Our favorite smart doorbell, the Ring Video Doorbell 2, lets you view and talk to visitors at your front door. While you're on the way with a stash of candy, you can use the Ring doorbell to tell a Halloween joke or let trick-or-treaters know you’re coming.

Get the Ring Video Doorbell 2 on Amazon for $199

6. Skeletons to satisfy every theme

skels
Credit: Crazy Bonez

Skeletons can run the whole Halloween spectrum, from goofy to gruesome.

Skeleton decorations are another Halloween staple because they can run the spectrum from silly to spooky—no matter what kind of holiday vibe you’re trying to establish, there’s a skeleton for you.

When you’re looking for a skeleton, you’ll probably want one that’s poseable, because it allows the decoration to be incredibly expressive. Going spooky? Make it loom out at passers-by with arms threateningly raised. Going silly? Maybe try a big ol’ wave, dancing pose, or just accessorize it with a fake mustache.

There are also tons of different types. Just looking for an entry-level skeleton? They are heavy paper skeletons for wall-mounted whimsy. If you want a more substantial skeleton, invest in a large, poseable pal that you can dress up to fit any Halloween theme for years to come.

Want a skeleton more specifically tailored to fit your theme, like a macabre undercurrent to a pirate-themed party? Add a mermaid skeleton to your swashbuckling soiree. And if the Game of Thrones finale inspired a dark fantasy decor, there’s a dragon skeleton that’s perfect for you.

If you’re not ready to invest in an entire skeletal structure, check out these bags of bones available for more à la carte decorating.

Get Crazy Bonez Pose-N-Stay Skeleton on Amazon for $34.99

7. Color-changing light bulbs that you can control from your couch

Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance Starter Kit (Gen 3)
Credit: Reviewed / Nick Schmiedicker

Philips Hue color-changing smart bulbs are easy to set up, come with robust features, and an intuitive app so you can create an awesome Halloween light display.

Individual colored light bulbs are cool and all, but have you ever used our favorite smart light bulbs that can display more than 16 million colors and shades of white, including black and orange? The Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance Starter Kit (third-generation) is our top pick for smart bulbs—and we think it's the best color changing bulb you can buy, too. The bulbs integrate with smart assistants like Alexa, Google, and Siri, and can easily be controlled from your smartphone.

Get the Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance Starter Kit (third-generation) on Amazon $199.95

8. Ghosts to add a spooky touch

boo
Credit: Fun Express

Ghosts are a pretty traditional Halloween trope and, if done right, can be legitimately spooky.

Ghosts are a great Halloween decorating tool because at minimum they require one piece of cleverly-hung fabric, but there’s also an incredibly high ceiling for those who want to get creative.

There are the pre-made options that you can stake in your yard, hang up to billow in the breeze, or set up in front of a window.

If you’re feeling a bit crafty, there are lots of ways to create your own spectral figures. One way is to use chicken wire to create a basic humanoid shape, then drape it with cheese cloth.

If you’re looking for a higher-tech display that also requires very little upkeep, use a top-rated projector like the Anker Nebula Mars II and a rear-projection screen to display some spooky ghost footage through one of your windows.

9. A set of outdoor string lights that change colors

govee color changing smart string lights
Credit: Govee

Create a Halloween light display that can be controlled via Google Assistant and Alexa with Govee's Smart Outdoor String Lights.

String lights are another great way to decorate for Halloween. These smart string lights from Govee connect via WiFi or Bluetooth and can be controlled from your phone, Echo, or Google Home. One 24-foot strand comes with six color-changing bulbs and each bulb can be customized to a certain color and brightness. You can even connect up to four strands to create a seriously spooky light show.

Get Govee Waterproof Led Outdoor String Lights (Alexa) on Amazon for $49.99

10. Inflatable yard decorations create a quick and easy Halloween

inflation
Credit: BZB Goods

Inflatable yard decorations are a quick and easy way to create a large holiday display with minimal effort.

Inflatable yard decorations have become a staple of every holiday season, with offerings available for Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, and more. They’re a great way to create a large holiday display without much setup.

While there’s a ton of options available out there, some of the most highly-rated are a spooky light-up ghost, a grim reaper driving a pumpkin carriage, a row of jolly jack-o-lanterns, and a pumpkin wizard.