The Lazy Geek’s Guide to Halloween Decoration

CC BY SA 2.0 by GoodNCrazy via Flickr

Yes, Halloween is just around the corner. And no, you probably didn’t have time to decorate. I mean, really, who has time? But don’t worry. Take a deep breath and let me show you all the horrifying items you can assemble to scare your trick-or-treaters and/or friends on the big night of nights. You’ll be horrified to learn how much terror you can find just lying around your house and neighborhood!*

Actual spider on my actual house. Image by Michael Harrison: CC BY SA 3.0

Enlist Mother Nature. This is likely something you’ve already been working on if you’re a lazy geek to begin with. While not cleaning the interior of your house is one thing, I find this time of year it’s particularly fruitful to ignore the outside of your house. This time of year spiders are rather enthusiastic about their spinning, so why not take advantage of mother nature instead of buying the synthetic stuff? A few anecdotes come to mind from my personal recent experience. While hanging fake spider webs, my six year old was thrilled to inform me that we had “tons of webs” outside the windows and front porch, and therefore, didn’t need to attend to those areas. Also, my friend Brian discovered a huge wolf spider devouring a cricket last Wednesday, like some exuberant vampire at a strip club. We even had the bonus a few weeks ago of discovering a live black widow spider. See what I mean? Horror naturally lurks around every corner.

Search the streets for roadkill. You probably have some outside. You may have even created it. I’m not saying you should pick it up, because that would be pretty horrible and unsanitary. But all you need to do is take some pictures and enlarge them, add some filters in Photoshop, and fit them on top of pictures you already have hanging in your house. Nothing like a healthy dose of “Opossum with a Skidmark” to give a big sense of foreboding to unknowing visitors. Nothing says Halloween like a good dose of mortality.

Look to the shower! You know that plug of hair that’s been sitting in your shower for some time? Pretty horrifying, huh? You know what would make it even better? A pair of googly eyes! Collect for a week and get a nice little family set to put on your mantle. Might want to spray with some disinfectant first, but… y’know. You can’t find that kind of Halloween centerpiece at Target, I guarantee.

Death and debt. Here’s an idea for the trick-or-treaters at your door. Since you likely have a huge store of Ramen noodles, anyway, you can use them to get a little crafty. Print out your total student debt, along with how much you’ll end up paying over time and what you currently make monthly. The last number should be the age you’ll be when those college loans are paid off. Apply the printed out paper (preferably on the back of old term papers or something else) to the Ramen noodles with a rubber band. Scary fonts would be ideal for this particular “treat”. Add, “WELCOME TO THE REAL WORLD, KIDS!” and cackle maniacally when you hand them out.

Go scientific. You know all those Petri dishes you have lying around the house? Sure you do. A few days before your gathering, swipe some samples from your unknowing friends. Put them in the Petri dishes and let incubate until the party. Seal the edges and hang from your windows with your friends’ names and identified strains of bacteria. Everyone will be shocked to find out how much fecal coliform Susie carries on her hands, won’t they? How very MythBusters of you.

Be creative with your carving. So, there wasn’t time to get pumpkins. Well, pumpkins aren’t the only option, silly. Your refrigerator and pantry no doubt contains a veritable smorgasbord of options. Don some gloves and rescue those moldy potatoes from your pantry. Decaying, stinky potatoes aren’t just scary to look at, they’re also surprisingly close to Brazen Heads. Because you can never have enough scary looking heads in your house. Bonus: add electrodes and make it glow! Voila. Frankentater. Plant decaying carrots half half in soil and have their little faces contorting in horror and pain. Or maybe painted like clowns.

Speaking of clowns. Makeup. It’s everywhere. Most women have a tube of red lipstick and a black pencil eyeliner. Even your grandmother. This is all you need to make yourself into a living terror that will put fear even into the staunchest of hearts. Red around the lips (don’t worry about being neat, as the messier it is the better). Black around the eyes. Bonuses: add Band-aids, dirt, general particulate, and dust your hair with fine powder. Homeless, scabby clown, FTW. I think.

See? Now you have everything from treats to costumes to decorations, and you hardly had to leave your house. Except maybe for the googly eyes.

* Disclaimer: I’m not actually advocating snapping picture of roadkills, growing bacteria from stolen samples from your office mates or cultivating black widow spiders. Happy Halloween!