Spooky Lighting for Halloween
By Victoria Figueiredo
You could decorate your house with jack-o-lanterns and plastic spiders for Halloween this year. It would be fine, but do you ever feel like things just don’t get scary enough? It’s because you’re missing a key element, my friend. Think of classic horror movies. Is the axe murderer ever really standing there menacingly in broad daylight? No! He’s shrouded in shadows and creeping around in the dark. Lighting plays a huge part in setting the mood for any event or holiday, but it’s especially important on Halloween when we celebrate all the things that go bump in the night.
How can you replicate scary movie light schemes at home without a Hollywood budget? Allow us to demonstrate:
Although black lights are less creepy than they are silly, they can still add a lot to your fear-scape if you use them strategically. Rather than lighting up your whole porch or trick-or-treater receiving area with a long tube black light, consider using regular sized black light bulbs to illuminate certain corners of your decorated spaces. Don’t have a light fixture exactly where you need one? No problem! You can take the shade off of your home’s lamps and use extension cords to place them where you’d like to add an eerie glow. Use your black lights to light up neon or glow in the dark paint, to reveal white “ghost” footsteps in the grass or on the porch, or to amp up the jump scare ability of a rigged ghost decoration. The possibilities are endless!
If you’ve ever watched an old black and white horror movie, you know that using shadows to demonstrate a monster’s creeping ability or to set an ominous scene is a total pro move. Luckily, replicating that Hitchcock vibe in your own home is super simple and you can make it as low-key or dramatic as you want. You probably already have what you need to get it done! Looking for minor freakiness? Channel Martha Stewart! You can cut silhouette shapes out of black construction paper (think rats, roaches, anything small that gives you the heebie-jeebies) and place them behind sconces, under lampshades, or even along your walls and stairs. Then just wait for unsuspecting party-goers to turn and shriek!
Super into the idea of using shadows to creep people out? Good for you! You can take any lamp, clamp light, flashlight, etc. and place it low to the ground with either a paper cut-out, object/figure, or pattern in front of it. Flip the switch and watch the light create long, deformed, Nosferatu-style shadows. For maximum effect, turn off all your other lights so your shadow art is the center of attention. If you need extra inspiration, a horror movie marathon is calling your name.
Black lights and shadows are all well and good, but sometimes you need to visit different spots on the color spectrum to get your Halloween landscape just right. Light bulbs are available in all kinds of colors nowadays, so why not use them to your advantage? Red and orange lights mimic the warmth of open flames without the fire hazard, and blue lights are great for creating a spooky, mystical scene. Add some fog and you’ve got yourself a truly spine-tingling tableau.
If you’re looking to take the scares beyond your front door, look to your bushes! Take an empty toilet paper or paper towel roll, paint it in a dark color so it blends in, cut eye shapes into it, tape an activated glow stick to the inside of the roll, and place your new creepy peepers in the landscaping around your home! Make as many or as few as you want and watch the neighborhood kids hesitate to ring your doorbell.
If you’re really looking to invest in your house’s fear factor, look no further than a dimmer switch. With the right hardware and light bulb, any light fixture in your home can be made dimmable! There are still a few weeks to go until operation freak-everyone-out is a go, so now is the time to install the necessary goods. Placed in any front-facing rooms, your porch, or really any room, dimmer switches let you control the amount of light coming out of your fixtures. Want to go really eerie, but still comfortably lit? Take your dimmer down to just the right level for your plans!
Far be it from us to discourage you from getting a dimmer switch installed just for Halloween, but we’d be remiss if we didn’t tell you that the ability to dim your lights to any level is useful all year. Use your dimmer to set the right feeling for Thanksgiving, Christmas, Valentine’s Day, or any other day you’re in a particularly not-too-bright-but-not-too-dark mood! Some may call you high-maintenance. We just call you detail-oriented. Need a quote or advice? Give us a call!
Do you have any go-to tricks for Halloween decorating? Tell us all about them in the comments section!