Haunting the Garden for Halloween

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To add a little spookiness to your own garden just in time for Halloween, give these tricks a try!

1. Put off tidying the garden.

For a truly spooky atmosphere in the Halloween garden, clear out just enough debris for safe trick-or-treating. Cut back roses that can catch on costumes, and make sure that paths are clear of tripping hazards. Otherwise, let brown foliage and rustling leaves contribute to the garden’s uncanniness.

Make your garden magical for Halloween!

Make your garden magical for Halloween!

2. Plant pansies and cabbages.

Cabbages and kale come in fabulous, frilly forms in shades of white and purple. And pansies perk up the fall garden, especially if you plant ‘Halloween Mix’ (an orange and dark purple mix) or ‘Autumn Blaze’ (in shades of red and yellow). These fall stalwarts will look good far past Halloween.

3. Swap out your plant signs.

Creating oversize plant signs with glow-in-the-dark paint lets visitors know what weirdness is growing without actually trampling the garden.

“Mandrake” takes the place of plain old beets, and a past-its-prime beanstalk grows “Magic Beans.” Or borrow from the Harry Potter cannon to name your plants “Venemous Tentacula” and “Devil’s Snare.”

Use mysterious names on your plant tags for Halloween.

Ground cherries become Devil’s Snare with just a sign switch.

4. Light it up!

Strike a balance between spine-chilling darkness and the ability to see clearly. Be especially careful to light steps and changes in grade.

In addition to the porch light (essential to let the trick-or-treaters know there’s candy on tap), consider using candles in mason jars or repurposing a couple of strands of Christmas lights. Uplights pointed into trees or at a witch’s cauldron cast eerie shadows.

5. Don’t forget the pumpkins.

Jack-o-lanterns are a must-have for any Halloween garden. Whether you stick with the traditional grinning face or carve your pumpkins in the form of plants (Audrey II from Little Shop of Horrors, perhaps?), use them in the garden itself and not just on the porch.

Jack-o-lanterns can go straight into the compost heap after Halloween, as long as you haven’t sprayed them with a preservative.

Want to make your garden even more magical? Check out our posts  Garden Magic and 5 Spellbinding Perennials. Happy hauntings!

Amy graduated from DePauw University with a degree in physics, a lifelong love of theatre, and a problem-solving style that combines the approaches from both those fields. A Master Gardener and long-time communications professional, Amy conducts gardening seminars and blogs about gardening in addition to her work with Spotts.

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