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Halloween Guide and Ideas

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Halloween Guide and Ideas
 
Halloween Guide and Ideas

EXTERIOR HOUSE HALLOWEEN LIGHTING


Special thanks to Giant Monster for the great picture!

Colored outdoor  lights are a wonderful and effective way to illuminate your Halloween graveyard, but they can also be used for creating a very spooky look to your entire home by directing the light from ground level upwards onto the outside of the house.

The first thing you need to do is decide what color you want to use to light your house with. As a general rule, we don't like to mix colors on the exterior of the house as this can detract from the overall theme the color is to create, so we stick with just one color.

The next thing is to calculate how many colored light bulbs and accompanying fixtures will be needed to light-up the front of the house. Typically, one bulb in a 8-1/2" parabolic light fixture will cover about twelve to sixteen feet wide and high with colored light.

Green colored bulbs are great for creating a ghoulish or zombie appearance.
Blue
gives a ghostly impression, particularly with a graveyard in the front yard.
Red
illumination conveys a demonic and macabre look to the house.
Orange is festive and works great when you don't want things too spooky.
Yellow isn't very spooky for exterior lighting, but can be used indoors.
Black Light works well as indoor light, particularly with blue or red exterior light.

Fluorescent Light Bulbs
Photo by Gadeer M.In the past, we used several 150watt colored incandescent flood lights to illuminate the outside of our house with a creepy color, but as of a few years ago we started using colored fluorescent FEIT Party Light bulbs (twist type) mounted inside parabolic clamp-on shop lights exclusively.

These bulbs have several advantages over incandescent flood lights including a more even distribution of the colored light, they use substantially less electricity, drawing only thirteen watts to create the equivalent of a standard sixty watt bulb. Plus, they do not get anywhere as hot as incandescent bulbs, reducing the possibility of causing a fire.

These bulbs are available in a variety of colors and can be purchased at your local hardware store for around five dollars each. In addition to using these as flood lamps to illuminate the exterior walls of our home with a particular color, we temporarily change out the everyday outside lights, such as the porch lights, with bulbs of our chosen shade.

Lamp Fixtures
Special thanks to Eric for the great picture!We use inexpensive parabolic clamp-on shop lights that have a 8-1/2" diameter aluminum shade for most of our exterior lighting. These can be purchased at most hardware stores for under ten dollars each.

Once the bulbs are screwed in, we clamp each fixture to a short wooden stake that we have temporarily staked into the ground, then direct the light up at the face of the house.

As with any light fixture that you want to use for Halloween, you will want to hide it behind something or position the fixture so that the back is in the direction where your visitors will be, so that they cannot see the bulb and where the colored light is coming from. We spray paint the outside of the aluminum shade of the shop-light with high-temperature flat black paint, sometimes called stove paint, to help it blend into the shadows and conceal it from our visitors.

Even though these bulbs don't produce a lot of heat, we never place anything on or near them that could catch fire. Be sure to place all extension cords out of the path of your guests, so that no one will trip over them. These fixtures/bulbs should not be used in the rain, snow or when there has been precipitation, as they are not designed for outdoor use.

Interior Lighting
Special thanks to Woody for the great picture!If you are not going to be using any special lighting on the inside of the house, using complementary indoor lighting that can be seen through the windows can be added to enhance the overall effect. What ever light fixture you use indoors, it should be positioned in a safe place where it and the bulb cannot be seen from the outside.

The soft purple color produced by a black light works very well in conjunction with exterior lights. A strobe light can also be used indoors where the flashes of light can be seen out the windows.

If you have two front windows that are spaced apart, you can turn your home into a giant Jack O' Lantern by illuminating the outside with orange lights and two of the windows with yellow light from the inside to give the impression of two big glowing eyes.

Illuminating Trees
This same technique can also be used to illuminate some of the trees in your yard in a creepy way by directing the colored light from ground level up into the tree to illuminate its branches, leaves, and/or its trunk.

Contrasting colors work well, except for a combination of red and green, as these tend to make you think of Christmas.

Be sure to rake any dead leaves and other debris from the area before using an outdoor light source under trees that could become a fire hazard.

Don't think that you have to use a colored light to create a very spooky effect. The right tree under-lit with a regular white flood light can do a great job of giving it a bleak or even monstrous appearance.

Thanks to Greyloch for this great image!A dead or leafless tree that is a little bit distant from the viewers works best for this effect. The most important part is the amount of light. To much and the tree is to bright to be scary, not enough light and the tree cannot be seen.

We place a parabolic shop light equipped with a standard household fluorescent twist-type bulb near the base of the tree pointing almost straight up to give it a spooky impression.

Be sure to hide the light source and cord from view so that observers cannot see them.

The pictures shown above are perfect examples of lighting your house or trees with a specific color. Thanks to the original posters of these wonderful images!

Be sure to read our Electrical Safety Tips article
 

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