Amanda is a huge Halloween fan! Every October she spends her time building monsters and planning family-friendly fun for the season.
Finding the balance between spooky fun and nightmares for kids at Halloween time can be a trick. Being frightened might be a part of the holiday, but sometimes you want to forego the gore for ghosts that say "Boo!" and pumpkins that smile. Try these kid-friendly Halloween decorations in your front yard this year.
There's nothing wrong with the good, old-fashioned jack-o-lantern: a grinning face carved from orange pumpkin flesh and lit by a candle placed in the center on Halloween night. But if you're looking for an easier process (perhaps something that doesn't involve scooping out gooey pumpkin guts) or you're afraid of the slip of a sharp knife then try these alternatives:
There may not be a kid on this earth who doesn't love glitter! If you're not spooked by a little mess then break out the craft glue and glitter bottles (or simply glitter glue for easier clean-up - though in my experience you will get a thinner spread of glitter this way), spread newspaper to contain the inevitable glitter storm, and have fun creating bright swirls and stars and zigzags on your pumpkins this year for kid-friendly outdoor Halloween decor.
A simple acrylic paint has endless opportunities for Halloween pumpkin design. You may wish to wash down the pumpkins before beginning your masterpiece to clear the area of any dirt or rough material that might get in the way of painting a smooth finish. Dry the pumpkin afterwards with a towel. Adults can have as much fun painting pumpkins as children! Let the kids draw happy faces or their favorite cartoon characters, while mom and dad might appreciate a more sophisticated Halloween touch on their pumpkins with black swirls or, for example, a classic Halloween character such as the face of Jack Skellington (The Nightmare Before Christmas).
Break out the E-6000 glue for these next tips on accessorizing and decorating your Halloween pumpkins! Create a princess pumpkin with plastic gemstones applied all around your child's pumpkin. For pumpkins with faces bring out the candy corn for a toothy smile! Felt circles (purchased at your local craft store) can be layered for eyes or ears.
Ghosts don't have to be spooky spirits or mournful souls. One of my favorite Halloween yard decorations that kids love too is to create a circle of friendly ghosts, almost as if they're holding hands and dancing round and round! All you need are some basic supplies such as white sheets, poles, newspaper, plastic bags, and a few other small helpers.
Consider if the ghosts should be circling around another Halloween prop or not. Examples include: a witch's cauldron, a tombstone, a witch herself, a parent ghost.
Each ghost gets one pole with crumpled newspaper inside a bag forming the head. Paint (with water-proof paint designed for outdoor use) on smiles and eyes so they appear to be having a fun time. As you build the Halloween decoration your ghosts will be connected, like they're all friends. It's a great way to show kids that monsters aren't all scary!
Speaking of showing the softer side of ghouls and vampires and other creatures of the 'dark', try creating a family-friendly theme for your monsters in this Halloween's yard display.
What Halloween song is more likely to pull a smile from children and adults alike than The Monster Mash? Throw a party for all the neighborhood monsters in your yard for Halloween! There is no specific supply list. Just be creative!
Consider erecting a sign welcoming the vampires and Frankensteins and werewolves, be it for a family reunion or a block party. Tie balloons to your porch and mailbox in the days close to Halloween, though you may have to replace these before the big night. Whether you build your own monsters or purchase blow-up Halloween decorations or creepy statues, create a mix of all monsters, ranging from full size to little child vampires - maybe even a zombie dog!
Not all Halloween decorations for family yards and porches have to be an elaborate setup or a messy affair. Sometimes you just want to buy and go: purchase your Halloween decorations and string them up. Keep it kid-friendly simply by careful selection, such as animal props.
Innocent bats and cats and spiders (okay, maybe these aren't so innocent year-round...) become creatures of the night around Halloween. Buy fluffy cobweb cotton at any local craft or party store this Halloween and spread them across your bushes, around fences, or create an archway to your porch! Don't forget to let the kids scatter plastic spiders throughout. Lift a small child into the air to hang the flying bats in the trees. Or perhaps pound a cat silhouette into the soft ground, letting the kids pick just where your cat will stand to ward off evil spirits.
For a subtler touch to add Halloween beauty to your yard simply focus on the classic colors: orange, black, and sometimes purple. String flashing lights like it's Christmastime or hang streamers from your porch railings. A lit archway provides a guided entrance for trick-or-treaters and lights up your yard with an eerie glow.
Halloween blow-ups are a surefire hit at any holiday. They're easy, though costly. But giant cats and witches and haunted houses all take on a friendly glow with these over-sized inflatable decorations.
Also consider the quick, final touch of placing a welcoming or "warning" doormat on your porch to greet the trick-or-treaters and add festivity to your home. Enter if you dare!
Kids will have the fun without the fright with these boo-tiful Halloween decorations!
Tracy Lynn Conway from Virginia, USA on November 22, 2013:
The spray painted pumpkins are my favorite! This past Halloween I began to notice fully painted pumpkins and I don't remember ever seeing them before. Fun ideas here and I like that they are simple and kid friendly.