How to Decorate for Halloween in Sunny Southern California

Article Posted By: Denise Cortes

How to Decorate for Halloween in Sunny Southern California

Sometimes you have to make a few tweaks to your holiday decor if the local climate doesn’t fit the ideal. Denise Cortes of Pearmama lives in warm, sunny Southern California, and she knows exactly how to decorate for Halloween even if it’s short-sleeve weather and there aren’t any colorful leaves on the ground at the time.

This is Denise’s contribution to our Halloween Style Challenge series here on The Home Depot Blog. We sent her a mystery box of Home Depot Halloween decorations (suitable for any climate!), and she did the rest.

Denise created a fun, not-too-spooky patio that’s colorful, fun and ready for trick-or-treaters. She also shows us how she built a DIY bat figure that’s illuminated from behind. which would look great for anyone’s Halloween decorations.

How to Decorate for Halloween

When you live in Southern California, there is no guarantee that Halloween will look like it does in the movies. As much as I’d love to hear crinkled, orange leaves underfoot and feel the brisk weather on my face, it doesn’t always happen that way. Sure, we have pumpkin patches and falling leaves, but since we are notoriously without real “seasons,” Halloween looks a little bit different for those of us in the Golden State. More often than not, it’s still warm in October, so this means we move our spooky celebrations outdoors.

Decorating a Halloween-themed space for my family means utilizing our outdoor patio, which is really a portion of our driveway sectioned off by a DIY pallet wall. In an effort to create more living space for my family of eight, I carved out a space outdoors for us to congregate — we eat, relax, read, talk, paint, look at the moon, hang out with friends, listen to music, make stuff and skate in this space.

This is where our “Southern California Halloween” takes place. I love to decorate with plants — native plants like agaves, succulents, snake plants, palms and cactus, so I wanted to integrate my Halloween decorations with them. After all, this is the first thing our trick-or-treaters will see when they walk up the driveway in search of candy on October 31st. I didn’t want to make it look overly spooky or cartoonish. I wanted our space to reflect our style as a family: DIY vibes, twinkling lights, plant life, candles and pops of orange here and there.

How to Decorate for Halloween in Sunny Southern California

Together with my daughters, we had fun spreading the sticky spider webs and spiders, which look really real when it’s dark out. Eeek!

How to Decorate for Halloween in Sunny Southern California

We also strung a few strands of black and orange striped lights through the palm trees and along the fence because twinkling lights are a no-brainer. They make a big impact and you don’t even have to try very hard.

How to Decorate for Halloween in Sunny Southern California

I also decided to add a few spooky touches here and there, now that my kids aren’t little ones anymore. You won’t see any flying witches or bloody knives in my patio but this grim reaper will do.

How to Decorate for Halloween in Sunny Southern California


DIY Illuminated Bat for Halloween

One of my favorite things about my space is the do-it-yourself bat. My brother made it for me by cutting out a bat shape on an inexpensive piece of plywood. After we painted it with black spray paint, we stapled several strings of orange mini-lights to the back. We hung it on the pallet wall with inexpensive fishing wire. When it’s plugged in, the bat is illuminated from behind and it gives a really cool effect.

How to Decorate for Halloween in Sunny Southern California

DIY Bat that's illuminated from behind

DIY Tip: Make your space reflect your style. Add funky outdoor furniture pieces. Don’t be afraid to repurpose — I used the large jack-o-lantern luminaria as a planter. It’s the subtle touches like the orange lights, webs and flocked spiders, the creepy edison bulb candelabras and the vibrantly green plants throughout the patio that really make the space come together.

How to Decorate for Halloween in Sunny Southern California

How to Decorate for Halloween in Sunny Southern California

How to Decorate for Halloween in Sunny Southern California

How to Decorate for Halloween in Sunny Southern California

I’m so happy to have a fun place to entertain with my kids while we welcome the trick-or-treaters from the neighborhood.

Denise Cortes is a writer, an artist, a Latina, a wife and the mother to six kids. Her blog, Pearmama, points a lens toward family, art and culture and being real about motherhood and life.

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