Halloween will look very different this year due to the continued precautions surrounding Covid-19. Gone are the parades and huge parties of the past (for now), but that doesn’t mean you can’t still celebrate October 31st in style!
Retailers have hopped on board full steam ahead with their 2020 decor, and below you’ll find some of our favorite picks among the new crop of eerie delights. We also consulted with a couple of spooky experts on their favorite items to help you decorate your home this year, and their choices are equal parts adorable, scary, and just downright neat for a long-lasting addition to your collection that you’ll love to pull out year after year.
The first of those experts is Chris Krovatin, a young adult novelist who specializes in hair-raising tales including his upcoming Scholastic book Red Rover (pre-order here) of which he says, “Imagine The Conjuring meets Cujo.” He gave us a long list of his bookmarked must-haves, so we chose the top three scariest and included them near the end of this list.
Our second Halloween expert is popular gothic YouTuber Jade The Libra. Jade is the maven to beat when it comes to Halloween hauls, decorating, “Spooky Kitchen” and book club clips, and a variety of other entertaining videos to keep you entertained all year round. One of her favorite collectible items is the ever-popular Halloween coffee mug, so scroll down to the end of the article to see which captured her heart in this 2020 season. For even more inspiration, check out her stunning Instagram to see gorgeously edited photos that carry a sophisticated, ethereal goth vibe year round.
Whether you’re browsing for decor that could become a darker touch on your walls year-round or you want something that screams “goblins live here,” you’re sure to find something on this list that will dress up your home with spine-tingling fun.
You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn a commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world testing, expert advice and our own research. This revenue helps to fund journalism across The Independent.
Michael’s 8.5″ Wooden Mandala Wall Accent by Ashland
First up on the list is a gorgeous and versatile piece that calls up the darker side of spiritualism in the form of a planchette-shaped wooden wall hanging painted in solar themes, including mandalas. The stunning detail is just edgy enough to qualify as Halloween home decor when paired with other pieces from Michael’s running mystical line (see below for another example), but it works just as beautifully when displayed year-round as an accent piece that hangs delicately among your other art.
Michael’s 7″ Resin Palmistry Hand Tabletop Accent by Ashland
In keeping with the occult-lite vibes of the piece above, this Palmistry hand conveys a mood of times gone by when folks were more apt to believe in the homey folklore of self-appointed seers and magicians.
The etching is pristine, though, and will make a believer out of anyone who gazes long enough at the intricate crossing lines that weave across the fingers and palm, noting special astrological points at different intervals and other signifiers like “logic” and “will.” This one also falls into the category of being permanently friendly for shelf-sitting and admiring, making it a worthwhile investment whether you’re looking to add some temporary spookiness or want a fixture to liven (or is it deathen?) up the place.
Grandin Road Welcome Stay Awhile Gravestone
Grandin Road is a playground for those who grew up waiting all year for trick or treat night and now want to bring that certain macabre magic to their own lawns and lairs. One perfect way to achieve that is with this life-size and lifelike tombstone for your porch or yard, complete with the foreboding messages “Welcome” and beneath it “Stay Awhile” rendered in beautiful, Celtic-inspired script.
Weighing in at eight pounds, the substantial but not immovable piece is easy to move but maintains the look and feel of a real tombstone. The vulture perched atop the resting place marker leers straight ahead, as if guarding the remains below for all eternity. Faux moss accents done up in the all-weather polyresin and stone powder add an even deeper touch of realness, so grab this one and prepare to terrify the neighborhood.
Place & Time Halloween 8in Spider Decanter – Red
JoAnn Fabrics advanced the Halloween decor scene by incorporating an unbelievably chic art deco line this year, and this decanter is the perfect semi-spooky piece to accentuate the other gold-trimmed accessories and wall hangings. The difference here is this is too beautiful to put away when the candy is cleared, so you’ll want to find a shelf or countertop where this beauty can reside all year long. Not safe for those with arachnophobia, but everyone else will fall in love with the vintage-looking ruby glass and uniquely interesting shape.
Grandin Road Undead Crawling Hand
Addams Family lovers will appreciate the creepy-crawly kitsch of this disturbingly whimsical piece.
A disembodied hand lacking the flushed color of the living springs back to life with a battery-operated motor. The realistic polyethylene/latex feels like the flesh of the dead, and a tapping noise emanates from the creature as it scurries across your floor. Grab more than one for a house full of unearthly frights–just make sure you keep them inside away from inclement weather.
Creepy Co. Goosebumps Haunted Mask Plush Pillow
Millennials who grew up on R.L. Stine’s incredibly popular Goosebumps book series won’t be able to contain their nostalgic love for this plush pilllow, inspired directly by the series’ 11th installment: The Haunted Mask.
Pulled directly from the book’s classic cover image, this pillow comes in a protective case and measures 16″ tall by three inches deep, making it the perfect size on which to rest your head.
Animated LED Skull Plasma Ball Halloween Decorative Prop – Hyde & EEK! Boutique at Target
Sure, the “electropathic vessel” engraved on this piece might be overstating its actual abilities, but you and your family will love touching this plasma ball and dragging the tiny lightning strikes inside the clear skull along the path of your finger. Sturdily built and meant to last, this attractive piece will be the centerpiece of parties to come for years. At just $15, grab one quickly before they sell out of Target’s always wildly popular Halloween decor selection.
10″ Animated Halloween Plush Spinning Ghost – Hyde & EEK! Boutique
If you like your spooky with a side of cute, look no further than this utterly precious little man just waiting to come bless your household with his dapper charm.
Standing a strong 10″ in his white felt coat, this ghost holds a special banner and dances about when activated before making a quarter turn and repeating the whole process. Friends, kids, pets, and everyone else can’t help but smile when he begins, and none can resist the adorable details like his teensy tophat.
Beetlejuice Molded Coffee Mug
Of all Tim Burton’s quirky, surreal films, Beetlejuice stands out as an irrefutable classic. The tale sees the titular character lead a newly dead married couple through the trails and tribulations of the afterlife, causing plenty of trouble for both the passed on and living alone the way.
Relive the memories of when you first saw the 32 year old movie each morning, and transport yourself to a land of sinister enchantment with this absurd mug. Beautifully rendered in a green, black, and white striped pattern, the cup’s crowning achievement is the molded sandworm coiled up at its base as a reminder to never stray too far from home, lest you meet the toothy end of one of these formidable creatures.
Stemless Tarot Glass
As you’ve probably noticed, the Tarot theme has run rampant throughout Halloween home decor over the past several years along the modern resurgence of witchcraft, esotericism, and other forms of arcane ritual. This decorative stemless glass will imbue your kitchen with a light sprinkling of that energy, done up in a colorful purple, blue, and gold scheme that adds a pop of brightness with just a tinge of nighttime energy into your cabinets and to whichever beverage you choose to sip from its ample mouth.
Hallmark Keepsake Halloween Ornament 2020, Happy Halloween! Monster in Pumpkin
Prepare to say “awww,” we’ve got another cutie here.
This tiny Frankenstein comes from inside his very own laboratory, hidden inside a pumpkin ornament and sold by everyone’s favorite collectibles company, Hallmark. He’s the Keepsake 2020 edition, so snatch up this little guy for under $20 and keep him for years to come when you can tell your future kids and grandkids how this year’s Halloween wasn’t quite as social as those in years past, but the true believers held tightly to its magic through enchanting little touches like this one anyway.
OurWarm Halloween Advent Calendar 2020
Advent calendars aren’t just for Christmas, so why wait until December 31st to start a fun and interactive countdown?
You’ll find 31 days of fun and merriment with this ghost-covered calendar, complete with a bat who flies into each box as the days inch closer and closer to All Hallows Eve. It can also be reused year to year, so you’ll create a new tradition that builds fun anticipation and counting skills with this small seasonal investment.
FUNPENY Halloween Decoration, 14 Inch Handmade Pumpkin Man Jack-O-Lantern Collectible Wooden Halloween Nutcracker with Pumpkin Candy Bucket in Hand
Nutcrackers are no longer just for Christmas, as evidenced by this handsome, gourd-headed fellow and his knightly wooden build.
The Pumpkin Man holds a candy bucket in one hand and a moon wand in the other, ready to participate in the year’s biggest night for ghosts and ghouls while also giving out treats to well-behaved passerby. He’s a towering 14″ tall and well-crafted, making it a great gift for Halloween enthusiasts and nutcracker collectors alike.
Bath & Body Works Haunted House Nightlight Projector
YA horror author and all-around Halloween expert/enthusiast Chris Krovatin gave us many options, but one of the most popular and hard-to-find is Bath & Body Works’ annual Haunted House wall plug that sells out quickly each year.
“Here’s a sentence you don’t hear everyday: this one’s going to change the game in the Halloween nightlight market,” he tells us of the coveted item. “Bath & Body Works have surprising style with Halloween decor, but nothing they carry beats this nightlight. It’s shaped like a haunted house and projects a witch on the wall — I mean, does it get any cooler than that? Apparently not, because it’s already out of stock!”
While out of stock online, there are a few stores hanging on to some, so call your nearest and see if you can still manage to snag this beauty before they run out for good.
Spirit Halloween Vintage Monster Half Mask
“Spirit Halloween are kind of the big box store of Halloween stuff, but they do have a great for breaking trends,” Chris tells us of his next pick for October decor. “This year’s Vintage Monster Half Masks are an example of how they know what shoppers are looking for right now. Vintage Halloween and old-school monsters are coming back, and these stylish, simple, recognizable character masks really distill the essence of that vibe.”
Dracula versions are already sold out, as are ones depicting The Mummy. Luckily there’s still this creepy-cute Frankenstein available along with this vintage pumpkin head so you can place a pair above the mantle.
Spirit Halloween 6.2 Ft Harvester of Souls Animatronic
Chris didn’t forget those with yards who want to scare the whole block. He tells us of his last pick:
“If you’ve got $300 to spare and don’t mind scare the Bejezus out of the neighborhood tots, this lawn animatronic might be one of the cooler things I’ve ever seen. Using a fog machine blower and fan suction to mimic a soul being swallowed is genius, and incredibly effective. The best large, epic Halloween decorations are the ones that feel like you’ve seen them in your head before, and this thing is straight out of your nightmares.”
Johanna Parker Mr & Mrs Frank Mugs Box/2
Lastly, we talked to Jade The Libra (as mentioned above) to get the lowdown on her absolute favorite item from this year’s Halloween Haul. She chose these Mr. & Mrs. Frank mugs, a clever play on the classic Frankenstein couple, telling us of the maker, “Johanna Parker’s creations are all absolutely amazing!”
She was clearly right, as the mugs are currently sold out but hopefully a few more will be released before the official kickoff of Halloween month on October 1st. Make an account on the the Christmas Traditions website to place them on your wishlist and thus encourage the site to stock more, and until then scroll down for another incredible creation from Jade’s current favorite Halloween artist…
Johanna Parker Dracula Mug
If Frank and the Mrs. above caught your fancy but you can’t wait for a restock, this loveable little Dracula can certainly soothe your pain. His baby face and button nose make an otherwise looming, bloodthirsty character look downright adorbs, so grab him for an under-$20 Halloween treat and enjoy a hot mug of cocoa while you sit on your porch and admire the changing leaves.