Looking for Halloween yard ideas that will give your neighbors chills? "You can never go wrong with zombies," says Mike Kroll, visual merchandise manager at the nationwide chain . "Over the past couple years zombies have become a mainstream and staple character in all forms of media."
You could walk into your local Halloween prop store and load up on animatronics to create all the zombie creepiness you could want. But here's what to do if you want to build the Walking Dead the DIY way.
Kroll recommends starting your zombie zone by building some cages. "Simply find your way to the plumbing department of your local Home Depot, where you'll find piles upon piles of PVC piping in all lengths and sizes," Kroll says. You'll also need fittings and connectors, plus some fencing options like chicken wire, chain link, or plastic netting, he adds.
Next, assemble the cages using zip ties to attach the fencing to the pipe framing. "And feel free to give the piping a rust and grime treatment with some paint," Kroll says. Tip: You can find cheap paint by asking the paint department in your hardware stores for miss-tints or returns.
Local Halloween stores and prop shops will have a variety of zombies available, or you can create your own using old mannequins or oversize dolls.
Can't find or afford life-size monsters? Find some heads and arms (or make your own!) and stick them in the ground, as if they were coming out from a grave. Add a few tombstones here and there for a very '80s "zombies coming to life" effect.
To kick up the scare factor, Kroll recommends a clever use for a fog machine. "One of our favorite little tricks is to drill small holes randomly in the piping," Kroll says. "Then place your fog machine so it shoots the fog into an open end of the pipe," he adds. This way, when the fog machine activates, the fog will shoot out of those small holes to create the appearance of a bursting steam pipe.
Next, use lighting to create drama. Kroll recommends LED spotlights in a variety of colors. "Use blues and greens for a dark, creepy effect and yellows for a more sterile feel," Kroll says. Reds will give a very sinister feeling to your display. He also recommends trying crossing lights to blend and mix colors. "And don't forget, lighting up your zombies with spotlights will make them seem even bigger and cast really cool shadows," Kroll says.
LED beacon lights (think spinning police lights) are another essential for a zombie scene. Kroll says this adds a feeling of urgency to the scene. Look for cheap painter's aluminum clamp lights at a hardware store. "With a little bit of paint you can have very industrial-looking lights that look like they are power surging without rewiring your house and dealing with electrical inspectors," Kroll says.