How to Have the Coolest House This Halloween

halloween house

Credit: Eric Bartholomew via Flickr

It’s that time of year again — that dark, cold, creepy, crawly time of year. Halloween is sneaking up on you. Boo!

The kids will be dressing up in their Halloween costumes. Cute little princesses to scary little monsters, they’ll all be knocking on your door. “Trick or treat!” Will you be ready? Do you have what it takes to have the coolest house this Halloween — the house all the kids will be talking about the next day?

While I can’t imagine why you’d want the best house this Halloween (after all it just means more money spent on candy and more time spent decorating), if you’ve got that competitive spirit here are a few tips for you. Don’t have just another house this Halloween. Have the coolest! Here’s how:

1. Forget those “fun size” candy bars.

candy bars

Come on. You know it. I know it. All the little kiddies know it. There’s nothing “fun” about a miniature candy bar. Halloween, for kids, is like the ultimate treasure hunt. On one hand it’s a challenge to see how much they can get, and on the other hand it’s about which kid gets the best stuff! You know they sit around comparing their loot later. What will they have to say about your house?

The solution? Go full-size! Yep. Hand out full-size candy bars on Halloween and you’ll be the talk of the town! So few people do that anymore — you’ll be certain to bewitch the hearts of children all around your neighborhood. Yes it can get expensive. Then again, this is a holiday and it’s all for the kids! If you can’t cut it no one’s going to blame you. After all, the economy sucks. We all get it. Then again, bingeing a bit on Halloween can still be more affordable than doing the same on other holidays. If you have to choose one to go all-out on, this is the more affordable option.

Here’s one thing to keep in mind: unless you plan to give out those full-size candy bars next year too, you might want to skip them. You might be the coolest house this year if you give it a go, but you’ll be the biggest disappointment next year if you get the kids’ hopes up and then let them down. Then again, I guess they do ask for a “trick.”

2. Don’t skimp on the Halloween decorations.

Credit: Shane Gorski via Flickr

Kids don’t approach your average McMansion with a porch light on expecting it to be the coolest place on Halloween. Even if you happen to give out great candy, your house might still be pretty forgettable. How can you get around that?

It’s all about building suspense. You want kids to slightly fear you as they approach your home, but still be filled with anticipation. You want a lump to form in their throat. You want them clinging to mommy or daddy’s arm just a wee little bit. The more challenging it is for them to approach your home, the more they’ll feel like they’ve “earned” those goodies you’re giving out — and the less likely it is that they’ll forget you.

How can you spook out your place for Halloween? Certainly don’t neglect the basics — spider webs, grave stones, and some ghoulish (but not too corny) haunted house sounds echoing from around your entry way. But go beyond that if you dare. Consider a realistic (but old fashioned) coffin. How about having someone sit on your porch dressed like a fake scarecrow to turn their hair white with fear when they suddenly “come to life?”

You get bonus points if you have a naturally creepy old house that frightens the locals year-round. In that case, no decorations needed. Creaky front steps and a single dim light on the porch might be more than enough.

3. Play dress up!

Credit: Andrew Beierle via

Is there any bigger let down on Halloween night than when you’ve finally built the courage to approach that incredibly scary house your friends won’t go near, and then the door opens… slowly… slowly… and what do you see? A sweet little old lady in a flowery gown and fluffy slippers saying “Awwww, aren’t you just the cutest little thing?” What?

Don’t be a buzz kill. It’s Halloween people! Dress up. Have some fun. It’s the one night of the year where you can be anyone (or anything) you want to be. The last thing you should want to be is yourself. Let loose. Keep to the theme of your house decorations. If you went for something really scary, play it up and dress up as a ghost, witch, vampire, or other monster guaranteed to incite fear in the younger children and awe in the older ones.

Having the most popular house on Halloween doesn’t have to be difficult. All it takes is a little bit of planning (and okay, a little bit of money). But you can do it! After all, you do want to be the envy of that obnoxious neighbor across the street, don’t do?

Written by
Jennifer Mattern
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