Amazing Halloween Yard Display from Concept to Completion

Article Posted By: Scott Stoll

of Stolloween

Amazing Halloween Yard Display from Concept to Completion

One thing’s for sure: Scott Stoll sets the bar very high when it comes to DIY outdoor Halloween decorations. Scott is practically a genius with papier-mâché, and that, coupled his obsession with the macbre, leads to an impressive and dramatic outdoor Halloween display at his house every October. Take a look at his website STOLLOWEEN to see some of his impressive ghoulish creations.

Scott is one of the talented designers taking part in our Halloween Style Challenge series. We send out mystery boxes of Home Depot Halloween decorations to see what fabulous Halloween and fall decorations these creative people can create.

Scott’s creepy Halloween yard display last year was pretty spectacular. He’s the guy to follow when you’re coming up with scary haunted house props or when you want inspiration to make YOUR front yard the coolest in the neighborhood on Halloween. As you’ll see, he also knows how to draw scary Halloween stuff.

He’s back with a completely new Halloween yard display that might be even more impressive than before. Follow along as Scott takes us from concept to completion of his spooky showcase.

Imagine you are walking down a desolate stretch of road late one October night. The air is cold and thick fog is starting to form. In the distance you hear the slow churn of a calliope and see the glare from hundreds of flickering lights. As you approach the spectacle you see a ticket booth and a shadowy figure inside promises you sights not meant to be seen by the human eye. A shiver runs down your spine as you claim your ticket and enter the world of Spookshow Obscura

Spookshow Obscura represents what I try to achieve each year with my Halloween yard display, and that is to create an immersive experience for anyone visiting our home. The experience is achieved by adhering to a solid theme and making sure that every element included in the display works to transport guests into a fantasy world.

Outdoor Halloween Decorations: A Spooky Yard Display from Concept to Completion

When I was asked to participate in this Home Depot Halloween Style Challenge I sort of had the dark carnival theme in the back of my mind, but would need to wait to see what Home Depot products I was given before any construction could begin.

On Friday, September 12, I received a large shipment from Home Depot and as I unpacked the boxes I realized that the majority of the items could be incorporated into a dark carnival sideshow theme.

The idea of a carnival theme appealed to me for a couple of reasons, the first being that it was something different from past years and the secondly being that I knew it would be a serious challenge to get everything done in two weeks.

Home Depot Mystery Boxes of Halloween Decorations

Included in the items were a considerable number of Halloween lights including strobes, LED mesh rope and LED Blood Drip Light sets, all perfect for a carnival theme.

Halloween Decorations from The Home Depot

In addition to the lighting there were a number of different outdoor Halloween decorations that could be incorporated into the display. The menagerie included spiders, vultures, skeletons, pumpkins and grim reapers.


Concept Sketches

Concept Sketches for Scott Stoll's Halloween Display

Concept Sketches for Outdoor Halloween Decorations

After taking an inventory of all the Halloween goodies, I did some quick concept sketches.

My goal was to create five large circus posters, four large cages, a ticket booth and a ten-foot-long “Spookshow” sign that could be mounted on a roof.

After locking down the concept, I made a quick trip to The Home Depot to purchase the necessary supplies, which mostly consisted of lumber, paint, PVC pipe and 4 x 8 sheets of hardboard.


Creepy Circus Posters

Creating Creepy Circus Posters for Outdoor Halloween Display

Creepy Circus Posters for Outdoor Halloween Display

Creepy Circus Posters for Outdoor Halloween Display

The first thing I would tackle would be the circus posters.

Each circus poster was six feet tall by three feet wide and each one was painted by hand. The posters were very time intensive and took about a week to complete.


The Cages and the Grim Reaper’s Ticket Booth

Prop Cages for Outdoor Halloween Decorations

DIY Grim Reaper Ticket Booth for Halloween Display

After the posters were complete I built four cages and a six-foot-tall ticket booth from 2-ft. x 4-ft boards and PVC pipe.

I painted the cages black, and the ticket booth received the same color and graphic treatment as the posters.


Setting Up the Halloween Display

Scott Stoll's garage before set up of Halloween decorations

After everything was built, it was time to set up the display. For this challenge I opted to decorate the empty space behind our garage.

Our garage is nothing special, just a blank space usually occupied by a couple of trash bins and gardening tools.

Spookshow Obscura Halloween Tableu

The concept was to use the side of the garage to display the large circus posters, then place the cages and ticket booth in the foreground.

Each cage would feature the creatures advertised on the posters, and the animated five-foot bobble head grim reaper would occupy the ticket booth.

Skeleton parts from a Home Depot Halloween decoration

The cages were filled with the appropriate creatures. The zombies, rats and aliens were papier-mâché props that I had built in past years, and the spiders were from The Home Depot.

The bottoms of the rat and spider cages were littered with human skulls and bones using Groundbreaker Skeletons from The Home Depot. The effect was very creepy and fit the dark tone of the Spookshow.

Outdoor Halloween Decoration Ideas: Skulls and Bones in a Spooky Cage

I used cheesecloth to create the spider web effect on the cages, a simple and reusable technique.

Outdoor Halloween Decoration Ideas: Creepy Circus Posters

One final piece that was created for Spookshow Obscura was a ten-foot-long sign that I mounted on the roof of my garage.

The letters were cut from white hardboard and attached to a 2 x 4 that was painted black. The bold lettering was sort of the icing on the cake and worked well to complete the theme.

Outdoor Halloween Decoration Ideas: Zombies in Creepy Cage

Outdoor Halloween Decoration Ideas: Bones and Giant Rats in Creepy Cage

Outdoor Halloween Decoration Ideas: One-Eyed Alien in Creepy Cage

I ran a fog machine to add to the spooky atmosphere. The fog worked well with all the lighting details and added a sense of mystery to the creatures displayed in the cages.

Outdoor Halloween Decoration Ideas: Vulture Looms Over Scary Scene

Four vultures perched on the cages and ticket booth, completing the ominous feeling of the display.

Outdoor Halloween Decorations: A Spooky Yard Display from Concept to Completion


Choose a Theme for a Cohesive Halloween Display

This year’s Home Depot Style Challenge was a lot of fun to put together, and I hope shows that by choosing a solid theme you can incorporate a variety of different elements into one cohesive space.

Thank you to Home Depot for allowing me to participate in this challenge; it’s always fun and always an honor.

Outdoor Halloween Decorations: A Spooky Yard Display from Concept to Completion

Happy Halloween!

Scott A. Stoll is an award-winning papier-mâché artist specializing in Halloween-related subject matter. He lives with his wife and two sons in Midland, Michigan, where he has his Stolloween Studio. See more of Scott’s amazing papier-mâché creations and tutorials, and sign up for his classes on his blog STOLLOWEEN.

For more DIY Halloween and harvest ideas, see other articles in our Halloween Style Challenge series, and follow our Halloween Style Challenge pinboard on Pinterest.

Visit The Home Depot’s online Holiday Decorations Department for everything you need to decorate your home for Halloween and fall.

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