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Halloween decorating ideas for your home (and what to avoid)

The question

What's your favourite way to trick out a house (inside and out) on Halloween?

The answer

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The best thing about Halloween is that truly anything goes. For a classic spooky approach in your front yard, you could hang some life-sized ghosts that are painted on cardboard with high-gloss grey paint and splotches of 'blood,' and add dim light with lanterns that whistle in the wind. It might even be scary enough to keep kids away, which will save you money on candy.

On the other hand, if you prefer to see the little ones on All Hallows Eve, you could opt for a carnival theme instead. You could rent a water-gun shooting gallery, set it up outside your house and hand out prizes. Or you could go for a designer Halloween: Decorate your home with large Candyland-style lollipops, don a white lab coat and declare yourself Dr. Candy.

One thing I try to avoid, however, is those hot-air blow-up figures that light up and sometimes spin. I find them too commercial. Aside from the decorations, what kids always remember is which house gave out the best loot, and what adults (like me) remember is that middle-aged neighbour who gamely dressed up but doesn't really look like Superman any more.

Dee Dee Taylor Eustace is an architect and interior designer. Follow her on Twitter: @ddtaylordd. Have a design dilemma? E-mail style@globeandmail.com.

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