Orange pumpkins are still the favourite component of many Halloween scenes.
(ALBERT PARSONS/FOR THE SUN)
A scary tree face will add to the mood of Halloween décor, particularly if it is uplighted at night. (ALBERT PARSONS/FOR THE SUN)
Autumn Halloween scenes do not have to be scary, as proven by this cheery display in Minnedosa.
(ALBERT PARSONS/FOR THE SUN)
This creative scene adorns a sidewalk by a residence in Minnedosa. Decorating our outdoor spaces for special occasions is fun and now that the outdoor landscape has lost its lustre, these decorations add colour and interest to our yards. (ALBERT PARSONS/BRANDON SUN)
Halloween has arrived! Leading up to this holiday, I am always intrigued by how gardeners and homeowners decorate their properties for Halloween.
I particularly take note of how natural materials are used. I am not a big fan of a lot of artificial decorations, although colourful artificial foliage certainly can be used to advantage in Halloween-themed décor.
Quite attractive wreaths made from very real looking foliage and berries, perhaps with a small scarecrow integrated into the wreath, adorn many front doors at this time of year.
I use baskets of pumpkins and gourds on our front deck at this time of year to dress up the outdoor landscape, which by the end of October, is starting to look rather bleak and barren. Put in place in the period leading up to Thanksgiving, these baskets continue to add colour and interest right up until Halloween.
Pumpkins and gourds will freeze, so as October progressed, I threw a blanket over each basket at night to protect the pumpkins/gourds from frost. They will be tossed into the compost bin tomorrow, having served their purpose for well over a month.
Many people display pumpkins on steps and decks during the lead-up to Halloween. While most of them are bright orange, designer pumpkins that can be white, yellow, or even blue are becoming more popular.
A large pumpkin can stand on its own and can sit by itself on a step or ledge, while smaller pumpkins look best grouped together to add enough visual impact. Quite a number of people stack pumpkins one atop the other to create quasi-topiaries.
Pumpkins also will freeze when night time temperatures get much below freezing, so it is a good idea to keep a couple of old blankets handy to toss over the displays at night.
Of course, nothing says Halloween like a large orange pumpkin carved into a jack-o’-lantern and placed out front on Halloween night. With a flickering candle inside, the jack-o’-lantern will provide that much sought after eerie ambiance on this scary night.
I particularly appreciate the effort that some gardeners invest in their Halloween displays by creating elaborate Halloween scenes or tableaus. Often these include corn sheaves or bunches of decorative corn cobs tied together with raffia,
The scene might also include a couple of potted chrysanthemums, purchased away back in August or September, and have been part of the autumn display for weeks. These plants had to be moved indoors on cold nights/days but on warmer days took their place in the display.
Black silhouettes, white ghostly figures made of light white fabric, home-made scarecrows, straw bales, and bunches of dried grasses and flowers all will add interest to such Halloween scenes. The sky is the limit as to what can be used.
A relatively new decorating phenomenon at Halloween is the use of lights. Strings of lights in Halloween motif are available and can be incorporated into your Halloween décor, much like Christmas lights are used at Christmas time.
Instead of strings of lights, spot lights or flood lights will add a different dimension to a Halloween display; the former to highlight focal points in the display, the latter to create a suitable mood. Night lighting creates interesting shadows and voids, perfect for the Halloween season.
Another garden decoration that can be incorporated into the Halloween décor is the scary faces fastened to trees that have become a trend the last few years. I particularly like to more natural looking ones that appear as if the tree trunk has actually been carved.
If you have such a face, you might like to move it to a location where it will become part of your Halloween décor. If the one you have if too "friendly" looking, perhaps you will buy another, more scary version, for Halloween.
Decorating our outdoor spaces for special occasions is fun and now that the outdoor landscape has lost its lustre, these decorations add colour and interest to our yards.
Although it is time to put the Halloween decorations away for another year, perhaps you will have seen some new ideas this fall that you will try in your yard next year. Happy Halloween!
Albert Parsons is a consultant for garden design and landscaping who lives in Minnedosa.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition October 31, 2013