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Our Front Porch Decorated For Halloween (+ How It Looks Spooky At Night For Trick-Or-Treaters)

It seems almost inexcusable that for someone who “moms so hard” and goes all out for Christmas, that this is our first time decorating the outside of our house for Halloween. But listen, prior to Covid, in LA, we didn’t live in a thriving trick-or-treat area (and never spent Halloween in our neighborhood because we went to “those streets” instead – shout out to Atwater Village and Toluca Lake), and then during Covid, we lived in the mountains. Then we had the year in the rental (where I wasn’t in the best mental state) and a year of mud – which was scary in a different way, lol. So with the kids being 7 and 9, and finally living in a trick-or-treat community, they begged and I screamed, “OK! LET’S DO THIS!!!” I’m sure it also has to do with the fact that we are done with the renovation and I have the bandwidth…and perhaps I want to show off the house a bit 🙂

So while it was an initial investment and a few days of (super fun) work, I’m officially a Halloween person and my kids are SO EXCITED (if not still disappointed that I didn’t buy huge inflatables, BTW. I swear they are not as impressed with my work as they should be ;)). I think my enthusiasm also comes from living in the northern states, having actual seasons (no offense LA), and up here it gets dark earlier. So the houses that are decorated with festive lights really add to the day-to-day love of the neighborhood on all my walks. Of course, our house is super set back from the road so I’m going to have signs/lights to ensure people come up, but I’m excited to finally be someone who hands out candy and really participates in this holiday.

Before the fun photos, here’s a really cute video of the space! (Just wait for the short ad to play:))

The Front Porch – Daytime

10ft Spider Web | Spiders

As you can see I went with a spooky vibe, with a side of harvest. I remember years ago I got shade for not having orange in any of my holiday decor, which I actually did really understand and retroactively agreed with. That punch of orange I think is a real necessity, especially when you have a white house with just hits of blue/black. So during the day, it looks really pretty and definitely fun (keep scrolling for how it looks at night).

Dewdrop Halloween Fairy String Lights Garland

We foraged and painted huge branches black and zip-tied them to the big posts. Now, I know that a lot of people might not have these sticks just lying around (if you are in our neighborhood – shhh – and need some feel free to reach out – we have a TON), but usually they are at parks, too, just on the ground. I then strung battery-powered orange mini lights on it (on a timer) and at night it’s SO FUN. My kids helped spray paint them (because it’s one of the fun jobs) and we even made that wreath for the door, too. (But Crate & Barrel has an excellent branch wreath, BTW).

Skull | Wreath Lights

Pre-Lit Twiggy Trees | Planter | Skeleton | Birdcage (vintage) | Broomstick | Dog Skeleton | Three-Legged Chair (vintage)

Yes, that is an antique-legged chair that I can’t seem to quit. It’s been in storage because it’s so special to me (I sound like one of my kids with their collection of stuffies when I try to purge them – NO THIS ONE IS SO SPECIAL TO ME MAMA). But lo and behold it is PERFECT here next to the front door – creepy and rickety. The trio of pre-lit trees is also pretty great (and splurgy – but you’ll have them for YEARS) and at night it gives so much ambiance in a classy way (no offense to non-classy Halloween methods – I’m an equal opportunity holiday decorator and just want people to have fun). We’ve had “Boris” the dog skeleton and all the spiders and spider webs for years (from Target). I found the birdcage at a vintage store (shout out to Montevilla Antique Mall in NE Portland – where you can buy mimosas to “help” you shop – GENIUSES).

All pumpkins (except the faux black one) came from Trader Joe’s and I’m just so thrilled that they had these beautiful colors. No offense to the typical orange (that little one) but these more interesting tones and the green just feel so much more real. Like many other things (peonies for example), the highly perfect and ubiquitousness of the real thing has almost ruined my love of the real thing, so these organic/bumpy and misshapen pumpkins are what I’m drawn to right now.

Bats

These hanging bats, with creepy light-up eyes, are pretty great and high quality. We hung them with fishing line and you can’t really control what way they face, but it doesn’t matter.

Pillow | Talking Skeleton | Candelabra (vintage) | Lanterns | Headless Babydoll (vintage) | Crows

I bought two skeletons – a Crazy Bonez (that talks) and the 7′ huge dude who is strapped to the front post 🙂

Tall Branch Lights | 7ft Skeleton

So here’s what this area looks like around 6 pm, dusk – which is so much more fun and festive.

I focused a lot on the lighting for this – again because it gets dark up here soon really early and you wouldn’t really be able to see the decor at night. Similar to Christmas, I feel like you only see shots of content creators’ work during the day when the light is the prettiest, but so much of the holiday is enjoyed at night. So keep scrolling…

Orange Light Bulb

That orange light bulb had SO much impact and not something I would have thought to do. And here you can see the impact of the pre-lit black trees flanking the door.

I love how that Schoolhouse pillow works so well out here (and this is pretty covered from the elements so I think it should be ok?). Also yes, that is another headless antique doll – thanks to the mimosa-driven birthday antiquing session that Kaitlin and I went on (candelabra, too, which I painted black as well as the birdcage).

The Front Porch – AT NIGHT (Trick Or Treat Time!)

Now, if that’s not glowy and festive I don’t know what is. Admittedly it’s a LOT of orange and I’ve thought about maybe switching the sconce bulbs to purple so that we have orange (from the trees) AND purple. But it’s honestly so fun either way.

I feel like it’s spooky and creepy, but not too scary. Because SPOILER – kids that say they want to be scared (but you know they don’t). So we had to return or donate the two animatronics that we had bought because one of my children, in particular, was terrified and had nightmares immediately. But this vibe they can handle (and I can’t wait to show you the graveyard/covered walkway on Saturday).

This girl came home from cheer practice right when we were shooting portraits of me (excuse the witch’s hat – I didn’t plan to be on camera at all and this is actually just a 99-cent hanging decor piece that we shoved on our heads). She immediately went upstairs, dug into her costume box, and came down wearing this 🙂

And now to prove a point about how much I care about both daytime and night-time vibes – feast your eyes on some good old-fashioned side by sides.

I know that for a lot of you who aren’t going to go all out, so this post might just be a fun distraction from work. But as someone who will now be looking for fun Halloween ideas for trick-or-treaters, I hope that seeing it at night is helpful.

A huge thanks to Kaitlin for coming over to shoot at 8 pm one night – not our usual call time, but getting these dark shots felt strangely important to me. Halloween isn’t just for pretty daytime Pinterest shots – I hope the neighborhood kids make the trek up so my obsession over the vibe can be fully appreciated (spoiler: they, like my kids, might likely only care about the candy, but maybe the moms??). Everything that isn’t vintage (or pumpkins) is linked up below!

Halloween Resources:
10ft Spider Web
Large Spiders
Dewdrop Halloween Fairy String Lights Garland
Skull
Pre-Lit Twiggy Trees
Planter
7′ Skeleton
Large Talking Skeleton
Broomstick
Dog Skeleton
Bats
Pillow
Lanterns
Crows
Orange Light Bulb

Front Porch Resources:
Bench: Danish Design Store
Bench Cushion: Sunbrella

Lighting: Rejuvenation
House Paint Color: SW 7005 Pure White by Sherwin-Williams
Door Paint Color: SW 9655 Mountain Pass by Sherwin-Williams
Windows and Doors: White oak, Aspen Casement by Sierra Pacific Windows

Door Lock: Level

*Styled by Emily Henderson (me!)
**Photos by Kaitlin Green

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HerselfInDublin
6 months ago

Hardly ever have time to comment these days, but had to jump in to say (1) I love this, especially the dog skeleton and the orange lighting (2) I’m really enjoying seeing the farmhouse come to life, it’s been an incredible journey to watch, thank-you for sharing it (3) Halloween is not a “made-up holiday”! Halloween is an ancient Irish festival (called Samhain in Irish – pronounced s-OW-un) that dates back to before Christianity. It’s so important that even in modern Irish, the month of November is named after it (Mí na Samhna). It was a time when the veils between the worlds were thin, and the dead could come back to this world. But the living feared that the dead, seeing their loved ones again, would miss them so much they would want to take them back to the afterlife with them. So people disguised themselves so the dead wouldn’t recognise them and take them away – and that is why, today, people still dress up in costume. Traditionally in Ireland it was a harvest festival, and when I was a kid (an undisclosed number of years ago) we would go door-to-door asking for apples and nuts – although… Read more »

Kaitlin
6 months ago

I was going to comment about that too, but it’s more interesting and informative coming from someone who is Irish! Thanks for the recipes, they sound great. Throughline (podcast) had a good episode last Oct. in which they trace Halloween from its’ ancient past to today.

🥰 Rusty
6 months ago

Love what you shared, HerselfinDublin!
Fabulous info! 🎃

Love the dec’s, Emily. My fav is your trusty skeleton dog.
Halloween isn’t much of a thing in Australia. A few kids come by for lollies (candy), but it truly is only a marketing ploy here.

Cat
6 months ago

Great post! Love the recipes. Barn brack with real butter yummmm

Karen
6 months ago

Oh my! This was soooooooooooooo fabulous!!! I can’t wait to my own version! Such a treat to read the blow by blow. Halloween is just the best…

6 months ago

This is so cool -just perfect! When we lived in the States I always wanted to have trick or treaters – but our neighbourhood was mostly creepy hobo-looking old guys (they were really nice actually), and young couples with no kids, so no one really came. One year I went all out and decorated the house, hoping to attract some trick or treaters, bought a big bowl of candies, and waited all week for Halloween. When the big night came, we went for a walk, to look at the foliage, and saw from the corner of our street that one car DID stop at our door, and a lonely little kiddo got out in full costume. We ran like there was no tomorrow to catch him, but were late 🙁 He got into the car, and they drove away. I was so sad that my husband arranged a surprise (adult) Halloween party for the next day for me, so our friends could eat up all the leftover candy and marvel at the decoration. 🙂 All this is just to say, I do understand the appeal 🙂

Christina
6 months ago

Excellent porch decorating for all stages of the day. I love how it’s only a little spooky for any younger trick-or-treaters out at dusk.

I’ve lived in two neighborhoods where people go all out for Halloween and I love it. If you do any of the following, word will spread quickly and people will definitely make the trek down your driveway:
1) hand out full size candy bars
2) have a mulled punch or wine stand off to the side and serve to adults (technically this was probably not legal either of the cities I witnessed it but it was super popular)
3) have some sort of interactive skit (witch, creepy bug eaters, etc) where you fully commit to character and involve trick or treaters

One set of neighbours near our last house go all out with lights synched to music, fog machine, etc, and every year it gets more elaborate and I miss it. They (and all the houses near them) get tons of ToTers and it turns into a dance party. But that vibe would clash with your house — what you have looks perfect.

KID
6 months ago
Reply to  Christina

Yep, we hand out full-sized candy bars every year and have about 150-250 trick-or-treaters. Some of them say “I knew this was the house” so they must remember it. You’ve never seen kids, teens even, more excited. Some parents even ask for one. It’s the best money you’ll ever spend because you feel like Santa Claus 200 times in one night.

Tara Lynch
6 months ago
Reply to  Christina

Totally agree! Full size candy bars for the win (especially if you’re not getting 100 kids) and something for the adults (beverage, fire).

Mandy
6 months ago

I love this so much! While we go all out for Christmas, Halloween is my daughter’s and husband’s favorite and because of that I dearly love it. She is now 17 but each year we have fully celebrated Halloween in all of its glory. We put up our collected (and much curated, by me) decorations (which we carefully add to each late August). We hang spooky webs with apothecary lights on our old iron fencing, we bring out the twiggy Halloween ornament tree, and we have cider and caramel apples. Halloween night we dress up in family Wes Anderson themed costumes that my daugther handmakes (she is quite the seamstress). We order pizza and give out candy on the porch with wine (adults only). We live in a historic neighborhood with a lot of children – it could not be any sweeter. Thank you for this post!

AK
6 months ago

Wow.Oh.Wow. We get zero trick or treaters but your first post a bit back inspired me to do some extras for our annual outdoor pumpkin painting party, the grandkids are too cool to stoop so low anymore but luckily we now have seven local Littles just on one side. I’ve scoured Michaels (great!) and Walmart (dud) so far and it’s being fun. Thanks for the inspiration and it’s so fun to see how yours turned out, no blow-ups. And the mother-daughter witches? Cover shot!

6 months ago

Just coming in to say I’m a big fan of Scary Witch Emily. This Halloween vibe is so fun! Love, HORRORlando

🥰 Rusty
6 months ago
Reply to  Orlando

HahahaOrlando!!🤣🤣🤣

Ashley L
6 months ago

You did an amazing job, as always! Your attention to all the details really makes the space sing. I did want to say that the antique mall you mentioned is one of my absolute faves. It is in the Montavilla neighborhood in SE Portland and is called Monticello Antique Mall. Such a fun spot!

Ashley L
6 months ago

Oops, I mistyped — Monticello Antique Marketplace 🙂

Allison
6 months ago

Of all your fantastic Halloween porch decor, the thing that scares me most for some reason is the creepy headless doll?! The vignette there seems to suggest that those ravens pecked her head off? I think this is just the right amount of spooky, and I hope you do get some trick or treaters coming up the drive this year. Nicely done!

Sarah
6 months ago

I am here for a lot of this Halloween gorgeousness, but I draw a line at the baby. For me it crosses the line from spooky-autumnal to just off-putting.

6 months ago

Great post! I especially love the foraged sticks you painted black and strung with lights! That’s a really impactful budget friendly project. I can’t wait to see the graveyard walk. I’m happy for you that you’re finally at this stage of getting to enjoy the house post-renovations. Looking forward to more fun styling content like this!

michaela
6 months ago

I love the vibes! The orange lights are so perfect, it’s a little eerie but also cozy. Last year we tried to put a black light on our porch to have everything glow… but we accidentally bought a… black light. Like, just a black lightbulb! So it just made the porch very dimly lit. 😂

I especially appreciate seeing great ideas for the front porch like this, because we discovered our first year here that trick-or-treaters ringing the doorbell repeatedly all night stressed one of our cats out so badly, he got a bladder infection and we had to make an emergency vet trip the next day. So now we sit out on the porch to give out candy and intercept any doorbell ringing, which is honestly so fun. Especially being surrounded by all the spooky decor!

6 months ago

Thanks to your previous Halloween post, we got the spooky long white ghost dress to have emerging from the barn of our 1824 house. It will be amazing — and quite believable on our lovely/eerie back road! Just hope we don’t cause any car crashes.
I love your porch so much! Though I feel like the front skeleton is crying out to be holding a lantern that would illuminate him a little at night! Something like this…?
https://www.target.com/p/stansport-65l-led-lantern/-/A-78618810#lnk=sametab

Cris
6 months ago
Reply to  JenMarieB

Totally agree – light the skeleton a little for night time!

Caitlin
6 months ago

I loved this post! It was a wonderful distraction from work but also provides great design inspiration, so thank you! I really appreciate seeing how people dress up their homes for holidays, always brings me joy to see it and I’m sure your neighbors will be thrilled!

Heather
6 months ago
Reply to  Caitlin

I know that you’ve already got a ton of pumpkins, but if you need more (or for the future), Al’s Garden Center has the best deal on pumpkins! So much cheaper than other places. We always stock up there! Love the decorations and taking some of your ideas for my house!

Suz
6 months ago

That headless doll & the giant spider web are my favorites!

MJ
6 months ago
Reply to  Suz

Have you seen the online photos of the creepy baby doll parade across a front lawn, hoisting what appear to be human size dead bodies wrapped in trash bags and duct tape? It’s bizarrely terrifying.

I so appreciate the efforts here to celebrate the holiday (or any holiday) by incorporating natural elements, items that are reusable, and limiting plastics. The level of creativity and reliance on simple but effective mood elements is what makes this effective, and sustainable. And I think you did a great job of making it creepy but not nightmarish. Well done!!!

Kelcey Bower
6 months ago

While I’m sure the pigs will enjoy a seasonal pumpkin snack, don’t forget that all those gorgeous heirloom squashes make excellent soup when they’re done serving as decor! Drop them from shoulder height on a concrete surface to crack them open, remove the seeds, rub them with olive oil and some salt, roast until soft, scoop out the delicious guts and blend with aromatics and chicken stock. You can also use the roasted squash in baked goods…

Priscilla Valdes
6 months ago
Reply to  Kelcey Bower

MmmmMmmmmMmm

Suzanne
6 months ago

This is just the right amount of Halloween and fall mixed together! I don’t decorate much for Halloween, rather just fall so it can go through thanksgiving before I switch to Christmas decor. I might grabbed some webs and spiders, because those would be easy to add for a few weeks. I love the orange lights, too, but I’m guessing I won’t be good about climbing up an switching them out. Thank you for the beautiful styling. The farmhouse progress has been such a delight to watch!

Emily
6 months ago

Love this! We live in a historic neighborhood that goes NUTS for Halloween. We have a four block parade that the police shut down the street for, and we regularly give out candy to over 1,000 kids. We always create a graveyard in our front yard, with orange luminaries along the sidewalk and funnel people up our driveway to a candy chute off our front porch. Love it!

Stephanie
6 months ago
Reply to  Emily

That sounds AMAZING, Emily!!

Patricia
6 months ago

Love it all. Especially your daughter pulling out her matching costume. Mini witch me.

Carrie
6 months ago

FYI, those string lights (if they’re the ones from Target) are INDOOR only… I really was hoping for some outdoor ones on a timer.

Anne M.
6 months ago

That photo of you and Birdie in the witches’ hats is PERFECT.

Katie
6 months ago

Bordering on a little spookier than I care for, but it’s a lovely set up! I also love those TJ’s pumpkins, but they get lost after dark sets in. Maybe you could twine some battery-powered fairy lights around them so they still get some notice?