First up, I’m not a fan of a “kitchen sink” holiday yard, where people just throw everything sitting in the garage onto the lawn willy nilly, plug it in and you’re done. It may provide a momentary visual diversion, but it is generic and probably not that memorable.
I think it’s way more fun to present a theme, a tone or maybe even a bit of a story- even the suggestion of one- to hang your whole concept on. It’s more involving and interesting to conjure a story instead of merely a setting populated by some generic props. Examples:
- Aliens crash land and emerge from their craft to do battle with police!
- A zombie outbreak that starts in a lab and ends up in a graveyard!
- Witches are conjuring pumpkins into pumpkin-demons!
- Scarecrows are coming to life!
- A graveyard where the dead have been revived!
It can be as simple or ambitious as you want.
Where to start when you have no ideas yet? To begin my search for themes, concepts and creature ideas, I search the web for images- monsters, movies or TV shows I love, maybe even a particular scene or character or even a word search that will yield inspiring visuals. Maybe you collect a few masks that speak to you and build your yard around those.
A great place to start is on Pinterest. You put in your search (e.g. “Halloween scarecrows” or “zombie attack”) and you start assembling an easily accessible and shareable “photo bucket” full of inspiration. Even if you just search for something like, “Halloween Yard” or “haunted house,” you will get an overflow of ideas you can begin selecting and collecting. It’s incredible the level of creative skill at work out there!
Next, I pick my theme(s) and creatures and sketch out a basic “skeleton” idea I can create with PVC tools and flesh out with masks, fabrics, etc…