‘Tis the season to eat, drink, and be scary, and suitably spooky surroundings are always key to maintaining the mood. Maybe you’ve already festooned your house in orange and black, but if you enjoy decorating for Halloween even more than you like trimming the tree and decking the halls for Christmas, don’t forget your gazebo!
Whether you decide to party under the pergola, simply light it up for Fright Night, or transform your gazebo into a fun, funky spook house for neighborhood kids, the possibilities—which range from simple to spooktacular—are only as limited as your imagination.
If you’re short on time and prefer simple with a touch of class, wrap the frame of your gazebo in orange mini lights. Add the spooky by populating the interior with a pack of glowing Jack-O-Lanterns—grinning, snarling, screaming, and/or scowling. If you don’t have time to carve, you can always fall back on paper lanterns or prefab pumpkins. If you’d like to take your gazebo decor a short step further, tack up Halloween-themed bunting between, or bundle crackly cornstalks around, each post. Both ideas are inexpensive and easy.
If you like simple, but classy isn’t your bag, keep the Jack-O-Lanterns but switch from mini lights to strings of skull or chain-of-bones lights. Increase the creep factor by lining the path to the gazebo with moving eyeball lighted pathway markers. If you’re partial to the UFO effect, you can achieve it by tucking eerily glowing green, orange, and blue bulbs at the top of each post inside the gazebo.
Folks who can’t imagine using the words overdone and Halloween in the same sentence will, of course, want to do still more.
Let’s start on the outside. Tent your gazebo in black plastic and add an air-blown inflatable archway. If you’re the handy type, you can make tombstones out of Styrofoam or cardboard and plant them around your gazebo. Create ghosts from layered cheesecloth and poster-board black bats, then hang them with fishing line—in trees around your gazebo, between its posts, or from the roof inside. Cut out coffin shapes to cover the railing pickets.
Or, you can drape your gazebo in cobwebs. Swag web-like bunting between uprights on the on the outer edge of the pergola or hang shredded-fabric webs under the roof and in ragged swathes along the railing. (Save money by using DYI cobwebs made from a few yards of the aforementioned cheesecloth or by cutting apart, tearing holes in, and shredding the edges of old T-shirts.) If you’re the all-out sort and prefer a more realistic effect, sling stretchy, clingy cobwebs between posts and under the roof. Of course, you’ll want to let a few low-hanging ends dangle to trail across unsuspecting faces.
Better yet, spin a giant spider web with clothesline rope, anchoring one end to the top of your gazebo, the other to the ground.
No matter which you choose—cobwebs or man-sized rope web—remember to add spiders to the mix—giant for the rope web, small for inside, clinging to the ceiling or climbing the railing—to achieve the complete awful arachnid effect.
Speaking of effects, why not add sound? Music, if you’re partying, of course, haunted house sounds—creaking doors, moans, shrieks, and tortured groans—or sinister organ riffs if you’re taking your gazebo in the spook house direction. Add “Candy Corn” or “Creepy Crypt” fog scent to involve all the senses, and your Halloween gazebo will become a full-body (or would that be out-of-body?) experience.