10/09/2012 | By: Kristy Creighton

The Haunting of MY Hill House


Hey, friends! I'm in the best mood!! Why? Because it's October and October means HALLOWEEN! The scarier, the better!

I'm going to level with you all - we are a rather twisted family. I can promise you, we have more in common with the Addams Family than The Cleavers. If we were left to our own devices (and wouldn't draw complete ostracization from our neighbors and end up having warrants put out on us by code enforcement officers), we would probably live in a "haunted house" all year 'round. Since I can't, and since I don't have unlimited funds to spend, let me show you what we do and how we do it cheap!



That being said, we have to settle with decorating in the most spooky, most horrific way we can think of at the earliest opportunity. That usually translates to the first weekend in October. We even have quality test! If we don't have two or three little kids around the neighborhood that refuse to come up past the sidewalk to get their candy, then we haven't done a good job! LOL 

So, this weekend, The Hubster gave the lawn one last cut and trim while I climbed up into the storage loft to pull down the outdoor decorations. That's him there, untangling the fencing we got for free when my mother-in-law put in new garden edging. I love free and, let's face it, Halloween decor isn't supposed to be sparkling new! I'd love that fancy plastic stuff they sell at the Halloween stores, but with the amount I need, that would be the house payment.



A few hours later, we had our basics up! Those tombstones there, I made several years ago. I cut plywood into tombstone-y shapes, spray painted them stone gray, and then handpainted the names, dates, and strategic cracks on them. They are nice and heavyweight, stand up to the weather, and I don't have to replace them every year. Plus, I got to indulge my love of history and put real names of historical people involved in supposedly true ghost stories!

Walking up onto our front porch, you are greeted by our resident corpse, made out of a leftover costume wig, and discount mask, and an old flower girl dress. The coffin, a prize possession, was handmade for us by a family friend who has since passed away. It has a great, Gothic looking cross on the lid and it even creaks!

Cobwebs, outside of being a decorating must, will work particularly well for spreading and diffusing my spooky blue lighting. I buy loads and will occasionally touch it up as the winds and weather beat them up. 

TIP: On these masks, use glow-in-the-dark fingernail polish on the teeth to make them glow for an extra helping of creepy!


Here's a better lit shot at night, so you can see more detail. That's a blue spotlight at the base of the hill and a blue compact fluorescent blub in the porch light fixture. I used to buy the traditional orange and yellow lighting, but I find the blue is actually far more creepy. Lighting is key. The front lawn looks OK in the daylight picture, but at night, the whole thing takes on a different, more menacing, feel. 




Another view of our front porch at night. I still have to get our pumpkins. I'll have a big one sitting on a milk can next to the coffin, with a rubber rat and some dead flowers laying next to it. I still have to pick those items up. 

If you look close, you can see an old family friend waiting for you at the window. But more about her in a minute. She's another prized possession...




Our Angel of Death, which dutifully keeps watch on our graveyard, was originally a standing figure. It was purchased from a discount store a couple years ago, in an after-Halloween sale. We got it for less than half price. But it was never steady, standing on the front lawn, so The Hubster decided to have him floating on one of our porch posts. He is hanging about eight feet up there, staring down on you as you approach the porch, his tattered gown blowing in the breeze. He's very cool. LOL




I'd be a little careful when you turn your back to ring the doorbell here. LOL Meet Beatrice, our giant spider. 36 inches of giant spider, just crawling up the spiderwebs, looking for a midnight snack.

I'll let you in on a little secret. Of all the creepy stuff we put out, the spiders bother me the most. I know darn good and well they are fake - after all, I paid for them - but the simple spider form itself gives me the heebie-jeebies. If I can, I will get anyone else in the family to spread that thing out. This year, The Hubster got stuck with the task. I got so much done, avoiding picking that up, that it was all that was left for him! ;)

This is poor old Clyde, the cemetary caretaker. I know the picture is kind of dark, but if you look closely, you will see another giant spider, although not quite as giant as Beatrice, crawling up the cocoon from the bottom. Clyde is a recent addition from last year. 

In one of our trips to those Halloween stores that seem to pop up in the strip malls every year, Mark saw a similar figure hanging in the shop for $125. We both loved it, but we weren't in love with the sticker shock that came with it. So, we bought a couple packages of spiderweb, bought a creepy head with a one blue eye, like the fellow in the Tell-Tale Heart, and grabbed some old clothes and coathangers. We made our own figure and wrapped it tightly with tons of spiderwebs and voila! A hanging dinner feast for our giant spiders for approximately $30!





Which brings us just inside the front door. This is The Scary Lady. She's like a member of the family! She was christened with her very original name by our our son when we first made her up, about seventeen years ago. He watched us put her together and it still took him two days to go into the living room. I let him take her apart and put her back together, just so he could see she wasn't anything but a mask and a dressmaker's dummy. 


We found that mask in our favorite year-round costume shop right after we moved in our house and were trying to decide what to decorate with for Halloween. It was the creepiest mask I had ever seen and I have to admit, I bought it on the spot, without any idea of what to do with it. I had an antique dressmaker's dummy and a dress from an old school play laying around and I got the idea of creating a figure. Once I added a black wig, The Scary Lady was born and she has attended the family events every Halloween ever since. I don't put her outside, except on Halloween night, when the kids are trick or treating. Otherwise, she stands inside, staring out the window at anyone who comes to the door. 



The finishing touch for our outdoor decorations is creepy music piped through speakers in our front rock bed. (I don't play the music every night, rest assured. Our neighbors would kill us. I play it on the night of our Costume Party and, of course, on Halloween Night.)

Midnight Syndicate has a ton of their CDs for sale on Amazon and I think this is one of their best! I got it for about $2 used and just set it to repeat. 




There are a few more things I would like to add to the outside, but this will do for now. Next weekend, I will be working on the inside decor, to get ready for our Halloween Party. So, look for a post about that coming soon!

So, I have to ask you - what kind of Halloween do you decorate for? Do you like the bright and cute Halloween/Fall decor or do you prefer dark and scary? Leave me a comment with your favorite style or special Halloween tradition!

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