We put Halloween inflatables to the test—here's how they stand up
Can this scare-worthy décor withstand the elements and my kids?
Recommendations are independently chosen by Reviewed’s editors. Purchases you make through our links may earn us a commission.
Kids are back in school and the days are getting shorter, which means that it's just about time to start thinking about how you're going to decorate the outside of your house for Halloween.
Halloween inflatables are a popular option and an easy way to add some spook to your stoop. But, if you've been hesitant to click the buy button because you're not sure how the giant air-filled pieces of fabric will hold up to weather or rambunctious kids—or both—we've got you covered.
We tested four Halloween inflatables—I let my kids select the ones that we tested—from popular retailers, like Walmart, The Home Depot, Lowe's, and Amazon, to see if they're as great as they look online and just how well they stand up (literally) to both the elements and elementary school children.
How we tested Halloween inflatables
I definitely got some strange looks from our neighbors when I filled our front yard with four giant Halloween inflatables in the middle of August, but that's par for the course when one works for Reviewed.
I attached each inflatable to a heavy duty extension cord that was plugged into one of our outdoor power outlets. I then timed how long it took each spooky decoration to inflate before securing them to the front lawn via the included tethers and stakes.
Originally, I planned to test how each inflatable stood up to strong wind by using a leaf blower, but it ended up being a really windy day here in Los Angeles, so nature did that test for me.
Lastly, I sprayed each inflatable with water to mimic a rain shower, and then I had my kids pummel each of the blow-ups repeatedly to see just how much damage four small fists can do.
What you should know about Halloween inflatables
The power cords are really short
I suspect that there's some sort of safety-related reason for the cords being so short, but whatever the cause, it's super annoying.
I assume that most people's outdoor outlets are attached to the side of their house, just like mine are, which means that you'll need a long, heavy duty extension cord if you want to place your inflatables in the middle of your front lawn.
Set up is a two-person job
I initially tried to put up the inflatables solo, but I quickly realized that I needed help in order to keep them steady while securing them to the grass. I recruited my mom to help, but it's worth planning your installation for a time when you'll have a second set of adult hands around.
The tethers can be a safety hazard
Securing the inflatables to your lawn requires the use of a set of tethers that clip on to the sides of each spooky character. These tethers then get attached to stakes that get inserted into your lawn.
In order for the inflatables to stay upright, the tethers have to be stretched out pretty far, which can turn your lawn into an obstacle course of hard-to-see ropes that kids can easily trip over. My kids fell over them in broad daylight, so I'm concerned about trick-or-treaters doing a face plant on Halloween night (and their parents suing me).
Halloween inflatables we tested
Gemmy Double Bubble Witches with Cauldron
This is my 7-year-old daughter's personal favorite choice among the Halloween inflatables on sale at Walmart. If you have a kid who wants dramatic seasonal décor, but who doesn't want anything scary, this adorable decoration hits just the right note.
One of the best things about the Double Bubble Witches Cauldron is how quickly it inflates: It took just 36.33 seconds from box to blow up. Standing at 6 feet high and 4 feet wide, it makes a statement without being overwhelming, and my daughter loved pretending to help stir the witches brew.
This Walmart Halloween inflatable also scores points for the fact that it is the only inflatable of the bunch that comes with enough stakes and tethers to keep it from blowing over in a strong wind.
Another plus for The Double Bubble Witches Cauldron is that it actually looks better IRL than it does online, which was a pleasant surprise when we set it up. Plus, it withstood quite a few bouts of my 8-year-old son trying to strangle the witches, and my daughter's repeated "stirs" of the cauldron.
Our only complaint is that the frog that the taller witch holds doesn't have a light inside of it—unlike both the witches and the cauldron—so you can't see the frog at night.
If you want a Halloween inflatable that won't scare the neighborhood toddlers, get the Gemmy Double Bubble Witches Cauldron ASAP.
Giant-Sized Lightshow LED Black Tree with Micro Lights
For truly dramatic Halloween décor, the best bang for your buck comes in the size of 12-foot-tall inflatables. There's definitely something especially spooky about a massive, creepy black tree looming over you—an effect that's likely multiplied when you're only a 4-foot-tall child. My kids go nuts for scary décor, and the Giant-Sized Lightshow LED Black Tree with Micro Lights definitely delivers.
The feature that sets this particular Home Depot Halloween inflatable apart is that the face contains green LED lights that flash on and off. There are lights inside the hands, as well.
We all loved how the tree bends just slightly forward and backwards in the wind, giving it an especially creepy effect. After testing it out, we decided that it would be fun to put it right on the border of the sidewalk so that it could bow back and forth over the heads of unsuspecting trick-or-treaters—talk about a spook factor!
The Giant-Sized Lightshow LED Black Tree comes with a set of metal stakes that slip through plastic "legs" on the base of the tree and then get inserted into the ground, as well as a set of tethers and plastic stakes. While it feels like that should have been enough to keep it from blowing over, but with a strong wind whipping around, the stakes in the base of the inflatable kept coming out of the lawn.
We eventually ended up having to tie it down with a rope and an additional stake to keep it from blowing over, so you'll need to improvise if you don't want to spend your Halloween constantly propping this tree back up.
Joiedomi Lighted Ghost Inflatable Greeter
While the Joiedomi Lighted Ghost Inflatable Greeter looks purple on the Lowe's website, it's a true, traditional white ghost. Overall, the website photos for this inflatable definitely don't do it justice: It's even creepier in person, and it has spooky tattered muslin fabric scraps hanging off of both arms, which aren't visible online.
At 6 feet tall, the Lighted Ghost Inflatable Greeter is a great option if you don't have space for a 12-foot-tall Halloween inflatable. It still offers plenty of scare factor, but the shorter height means it's less terrifying for younger trick-or-treaters, and it can even be used on an apartment balcony if there's a way to tie it to something.
Our favorite feature of this Lowe's Halloween inflatable is the LED lights that swirl around inside it. They provide a nice creepy effect while also offering plenty of illumination for dark October evenings. The Lighted Ghost withstood our wind test without falling over, and from an aesthetic standpoint I appreciate that it comes with white tethers.
It also wasn't knocked over by my simulated rain storm, but the netting did get soggy and dirty, and it wasn't easy to clean.
Unfortunately, we do have a few complaints about the Ghost Inflatable Greeter. It takes almost a full minute to fully inflate, and the nylon fabric doesn't feel as thick or durable as most of the other inflatables.
After just two punches from my 8-year-old, one of the plastic pieces covering an air hole popped off and was lost forever. While it doesn't seem to have negatively impacted the performance of the Ghost Inflatable Greeter, it does make me question whether this inflatable would last for longer than one Halloween.
BZB Goods Halloween Inflatable Ghosts Spider Archway
This 8-foot-tall Halloween inflatable looked so cute online that I had lofty aspirations of setting it up at the end of our walkway for trick-or-treaters to run through on their way to our front door. Unfortunately, it was absolutely impossible to get this inflatable to stand up.
It comes with four tethers and four stakes, but no matter how we positioned them, the archway fell over. Granted, it was a windy day when we set up the Ghosts Spider Archway, but considering that it is supposed to be designed for outdoor use, it seems ridiculous that it can't withstand basic fall weather conditions.
We eventually salvaged the Ghosts Spider Archway by tying the tethers to the columns on our front porch, but it wasn't as dramatic and fun as it could've been had we been able to get it to stand up in our yard. We all agree that this was an inflatable that was better in concept than in execution.
On the positive side, this Halloween inflatable's nylon is thick and feels sturdy. It looks exactly as it is pictured on Amazon. It took less than a minute to fully inflate, which I thought was relatively fast considering the shape of the archway as well as the attached figures.
It fared fine in my simulated rain shower, though I didn't test to see if the water would make it fall over, because it had already capsized and was unable to right itself.
If you're dead set on adding an archway to your collection of Halloween inflatables the BZB Goods Halloween Inflatable Ghosts Spider Archway is definitely cute, but you'll need to figure out an alternative method for keeping it upright.
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.