The Gumtree Blog

A Guide to Preparing Your House for Halloween

Thursday 23 October 2014, by

Halloween is almost here and if you’re anything like us you’ll want to start getting ready as soon as possible. Which means planning costumes for the fancy dress party and turning your home into a suitably spooky setting for your friends and family to enjoy.

It’s no secret that the Americans go all out for Halloween but, while us Brits haven’t always celebrated October 31st with quite the same gusto, UK celebrations are getting bigger and better every year. With that in mind we’ve put together a handy guide so you don’t get left behind when the trick-or-treaters come knocking on your door. After all, when it comes to Halloween, the devil really is in the details…

Outdoor fairy lights

One of the most striking decorations for your house, fairy lights won’t break the bank but they will look great, especially if you have a tree or bush in your front garden to wrap them around. With a quick search on Gumtree you should be able to find some bargains. Outdoor fairy lights are available from around £25 and come in various lengths. Orange lights are probably the best for Halloween but if you can’t get hold of orange then combining any colour with your other decorations will work just as well.

Balloons and masks

Hanging scary masks inside and outside the house can really set the mood and hanging a few masks on your front door is a great way to let potential trick-or-treaters know you’re expecting them. Tying balloons to the front gate, if you have one, is also a clear signal that you’re up for sharing in the Halloween good cheer.

Carved Pumpkins  

The Jack-o-Lantern is arguably the most iconic of all the Halloween decorations and no house is complete without at least one on the 31st of October. It’s best to keep your designs simple when carving pumpkins, especially if you’re involving children.

When cutting a hole in the top of the pumpkin, always cut at a 45 degree angle so the lid has something to rest on and won’t fall straight through.

If you don’t want to go with the classic design then get online for inspiration, there are designs for all skill levels and it can be fun to try something a little more challenging than the usual round eyes and triangle nose.

No matter what design you go for however, fire safety should always be on your mind and there are plenty of alternatives to candles when it comes to lighting your lanterns, including:

  • Glow sticks
  • Battery operated flameless candles
  • LED lights
  • Mini torches
  • Fairy lights

Most of which are readily available on Gumtree.

If you do decide to use a normal candle to light your carved pumpkins please be careful where you place them.

Decorating the inside of your house

It’s up to you how far you go when decorating the inside of your house for Halloween. There are those who like to turn their homes into something resembling the London Dungeon while others tend to be a bit more reserved. However far you want to take it this year, here are a handful of spooky decorative staples you might consider for an extra frisson of eerie atmosphere.

Fake cobwebs

Fake cobwebs are a classic decoration for Halloween and there are tons of ways to create the effect. You can buy pre-made webs or webbing online or at a party shop and cotton batting strewn liberally around the house will also work. You can even make do with grey wool and scotch tape but no matter how you get the effect it’s a must have at Halloween. We found this Halloween decorating set complete with cobwebs and spiders right here on Gumtree.


Skeletons make a great addition at Halloween and there are lots of different types available. Party shops will have toys you can hang on the wall or from the ceiling and there’s normally a few ghoulish skeletons to be had on Gumtree at this time of year. You can even make your own handmade cardboard cutouts.


Hanging toy bats from the ceiling is another sure-fire way to surprise a visitor. Toy bats come in all shapes and sizes and are readily available from toy-shops at this time of year.

Of course, however you decide to decorate, the most important thing to remember is to make sure you have a big bowl of sweets by the door ready to hand out when the trick-or-treaters come knocking or you may be in for a surprise!

Happy Halloween!

Read more in our Hallowe’en series:

The Media Team

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