Interior Designers Share Common Halloween Decorating Mistakes

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Orange pumpkins have become synonymous with Halloween, but it’s time to ditch tradition for a color and texture upgrade. Using neutral colors like cream and black can make the transition from Halloween to autumn effortless, according to the interior designer Kyla Herbes. skodonnell/Getty Images While orange pumpkins will always be […]

Orange pumpkins have become synonymous with Halloween, but it’s time to ditch tradition for a color and texture upgrade.

Using neutral colors like cream and black can make the transition from Halloween to autumn effortless, according to the interior designer Kyla Herbes.

skodonnell/Getty Images


While orange pumpkins will always be a classic, the interior designers Kyla Herbes and Devin Shaffer told Insider there are ways to make the tradition chic.

Herbes, the owner of House of Hipsters, suggested leaning into more subtle colors like cream, white, and black so the decor can seamlessly transition from Halloween to autumn. 

“You can keep a lot of coziness with your cream pumpkins and just embrace it for fall,” Herbes told Insider. “It’s really easy to use some black decorations and just start adding in more neutrals.”

Shaffer, the lead sales designer at Decorilla Interior Design, said incorporating textures like sequins can be a simple way to add a new dimension. If people want to avoid store-bought pumpkins but want an eye-catching color, Shaffer said spray paint is a quick solution. 

“You can do all types of colors,” Shaffer said. “If you like real pumpkins and don’t want to have to store them year-round, you can get spray paint — like a neon pink — and decorate a few pumpkins.” 

Instead of bright orange, switch the color out for more subtle hues like terracotta.

Stack of yellow, terracotta, and brown colored pillows placed on the floor.

Opt for terracotta, burnt orange, and bronze colors, Herbes says.

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Herbes said that more subtle shades of orange are a great way to celebrate the Halloween spirit in style.

“If you really want to embrace that orange color, look at a terracotta or rust,” she said. “Don’t use bright — use muted. Then you can even find something in velvet that gives you a little bit of sheen and a softer tone.” The color could be incorporated using accent pillows, blankets, tableware, and other items. 

From asylum-themed decorations to hanging skeletons, it’s time to leave offensive Halloween decorations in the past.

A fake ghost is hung from a homeowners tree during the Halloween season.

Colorful streamers are an easy alternative to ghosts and skeletons during Halloween.

Royalty-free/Getty Images


Last year, a Wisconsin homeowner was asked to remove his Halloween decoration after several residents reported it to local officials. The decoration included a skeleton dressed in business attire hanging from a noose in a tree, prompting some to say it represented lynching. 

“There are plenty of Halloween decorations that are very offensive to a lot of people,” Shaffer said. “Let’s stop with people hanging from trees, any references to mental illness or psychiatric wards. Let’s stop with people in cages.” 

Shaffer continued: “As we’re building awareness on certain social issues, I think it’s time to get rid of them.”

Shaffer suggests that homeowners pivot toward seasonal teardrop lights or colorful streamers. A jar filled with fake eyeballs is another way to add a spooky twist, he said.

Larger-than-life decorations can add a dramatic flair, but make sure to keep those items in the yard.

A father and son take their 12-foot-tall Home Depot skeleton into storage after Halloween.

A family removes their 12-foot-tall skeleton after Halloween.

The Washington Post/Getty Images


In 2020, Home Depot released a $300 12-foot skeleton that sold out before October — signaling people’s love for over-the-top decorations. Celebrities that year also went all-out while decorating, with Kim Kardashian transforming her home into a tarantula nest complete with a large spider dangling over the dining table. 

“Now that I have kids, I do like the big decorations, but keeping that outside is definitely key,” Herbes said. “I don’t want a 12-foot Frankenstein in my living room.” 

Shaffer pointed out that large decorations and inflatables can play into the Halloween spirit, but projectors might be less expensive in the long run. 

“There are all kinds of cool inflatables that you can use, but a more cost-effective way is to get projectors,” Shaffer said.

Both Shaffer and Herbes recommend Etsy for personalized and unique DIY decorations.

Nonelectronic decorations are outdated in 2021, so use LED light bulbs and projectors to elevate your home.

A shark is projected onto a home ahead of Halloween, while a autumn decoration is surrounded by lights.

Projectors and LED lights are a great way to use technology during Halloween.

Boston Globe/chokchaipoomichaiya/Getty Images


Shaffer recommends doing away with halogen light bulbs and other items like nonelectric candles.

“There are so many cool electrical options like outdoor lighting, solar-powered, and battery-powered decor,” he said.

“You can do everything with them, including smart lighting features like changing colors,” he said, pointing to brands like Philips Hue. “With smart lighting, you can use it for both seasonal and day-to-day use.”

Big frights are part of the holiday’s thrill, but keep the jump scares outside of the home.

Fake zombie and gravestone Halloween decorations were placed outside a homeowners's residence.

Although it’s easy to put lots of decorations on the front porch, Herbes suggested scattering items around the home and yard.

Kenneth Brown/EyeEm/Getty Images


Herbes said it’s important to keep a bit of “whimsy” in Halloween decorations to let kids enjoy the holiday. While spooky trinkets are great for inside the home, animated and jump-scare decorations can be left outside.

She said a home’s front porch is an excellent place for a startling surprise. 

“It’s really easy to incorporate one of those little jump scares in there. It will be fun for the kids, the mailman, or the UPS man,” Herbes said. She recommends that homeowners scatter their decorations across the yard and home to avoid clutter in one place.

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