One of the most beloved pastimes when it comes to the great fall festivity that is Halloween are all the decorations that come with it. Outside of maybe Christmas, there’s no holiday in which neighborhoods are so completely reimagined, at least by the participating residents, to match the tone of the time of year. Even when matched up against Christmas, the decorations and transformations of front yards and porches come in such varied and different vibes that it can create almost an immersive alternate universe feel, like you’ve traveled through a wormhole for one night only.

In particularly active lawn-art neighborhoods, the Halloween season can even turn competitive, with neighbors facing off to see who can create the spookiest subset of the block. Frightmakers flock to halloween stores parasitically occupying the husk of old Hollywood Video locations, or to Home Depot for the supplies needed to construct a little subworld between their front door and sidewalk. It can be hard, especially with so many years of history, to come up with a true centerpiece of scare, sure to make your stoop the most-photographed on the block. I’m here to help.

Here are four terrifying Halloween decorations to ensure every piece of candy collected is well-earned by visitors’ psyches.

One Real Bat

Pixabay

Whatever season, holiday, or time it is, the answer to the question “Hey, do you wish a bat was around you right now?” is pretty much always no. Cute in particular pictures, but horrific in motion and sound, that’s maybe why they’ve always been linked with horror. You’ll often hear recordings of them, or see fake ones suspended from a roof or ceiling, but these both avoid the worst part of bats: actually witnessing a sharp little tornado of skin and bone panicking their way through the air.

That’s why this year, it’s time to swap out the plastic bat on a string for a single, real-life, genuine bat on a leash, tied up above your front door. Visitors might, at first, think “that’s a really high-quality bat recording!” This is only seconds before their wigs and forearms are beset upon by a screeching little tetherball of terror. Plus, post-holiday, just let it go and it’ll fly away. Cleanup complete. It’s not like it bonded with you after you bound it to your porch light.

Fully Insane Conspiracy Lawn Signs

Pexels

An occasional, and somewhat fair, criticism of overly horrific Halloween decorations is that they terrify children. These trick-or-treaters are just out to get their plastic pumpkins filled with fun-size Snickers and suddenly they pick up a piece of lifelong trauma. Not to mention that if you don’t have kids yourself, you won’t be the one sitting up until 2 am the night before work with a trembling child working through the horror movie they didn’t agree to star in with an 8% blood sugar content.

This solution solves that completely, by providing lawn decorations that are deeply unsettling to adults, but will sail safely over the heads of any tiny bedsheeted ghosts that just want a couple Twix bars. 8-year-olds have no idea what QAnon is, or Loose Change. But the adults that read your unhinged lawn signs will be able to extrapolate all sorts of anxiety from them. Now, with the precision of a laser targeting system, you’ve spooked the adults making their way to your door, but left their children blissfully unaware.

Real-Life Corpse Dressed As Fake Scarecrow

Pixabay

The real person dressed as a fake scarecrow on the porch is an absolute classic. It capitalizes on the mindset of Halloween celebrants to ignore all sorts of intensely weird stuff because, after all, it is Halloween. Only for an overly-excited 53 year old man to spring out of a rocking chair and cause a small child to ruin the bottom half of their ninja costume. Of course, now that it’s a classic, it’s something more and more people expect. That’s why it’s time to add another twist.

A seated scarecrow on a front porch is almost immediately met with a studious eye, thanks to the history established, looking for hints that it might not be all straw, newspaper and denim. So when a visitor spots some visible human skin, they may think they’ve cracked the case, that there’s a mischievous man inside that flannel. But when they walk up for a closer look, they realize that, yes, it’s a real person: a real DEAD person! A genuine cadaver in farmer’s clothes! Did they set up to scare people and then die this very night? Who knows! But that’s a pretty scary porch now!

Anvil Suspended Above Doorway

Pixabay

Here we can start to enter a debate that applies to many horror movies as well: that of slow, carefully constructed dread, versus the easy return of jumpscares and sudden frights. Halloween decorations feel very much the same. It’s a whole lot easier to grab a kid’s leg from a garden feature than to build an environment that inspires the genuine slow fear that lives at the bottom of your spine. This last suggestion is a way to key in on those more sinister facets of the psyche, instead of straightforward fight or flight.

The plan is simple: hang a genuine anvil directly above your front door. Now, you’re going to want to do some genuine research on knot-tying and the tensile strength of various ropes, lest you spend your November navigating a negligent manslaughter case. But it would be hard for even the toughest teen bully to deny getting a little knock-kneed under 200 pounds of cold, indifferent metal, held up by a system they didn’t observe the installation of. It’s up to them whether that bowl of king-size candy bars underneath is worth the fright.

There you have it! Four Halloween decorations guaranteed to put a real dose of fear in any frontyard visitor. And like I always say: I do not assume any legal responsibility for someone attempting to follow my objectively terrible advice!

Top Image: Pixabay/Pixabay

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