Looking for some ways to add spooky Halloween outdoor lighting to your yard? These ideas are sure to make your house the coolest one on the block!
Halloween is my absolute favorite holiday, which is why I always go all out with Halloween decorations like my haunted house decor and my annual Halloween graveyard. But no matter whether I’m doing indoor or outdoor decor, I think lighting is what makes or breaks a good Halloween display.
It’s no secret that I love Halloween…and I especially love doing up my yard with Halloween lights.
And there’s no missing my house on the block. I definitely don’t subscribe to the “less is more” school of Halloween decorating (although to be honest…I don’t really belong to that school for any kind of decor).
It’s been many years since I created my first yard haunt with lighting (and I still use all of those lighting ideas in my Halloween yard decor).
However, since then Halloween decorating seems to have taken on a life of its own.
Every year I learn a few more lighting tricks to help make my yard look spooky. So the list keeps getting longer!
Keep reading to find my favorite Halloween outdoor lighting ideas.
1 | Choose the Right Colors
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The first step to getting awesome Halloween outdoor lighting is choosing the right colors.
Blue, green and purple spot lights add the perfect spooky atmosphere for your front yard Halloween cemetery or yard haunt.
I like to add orange and red lights as the accent colors since they contrast well with the blue and green. (They are opposites on the color wheel).
And they are usually bright enough that people can still see where they are walking.
Try to stay away from too much white light for Halloween as it tends to drown out the other colors (you know, the ones that add the spookiness factor).
2 | Use Colored Flood Lights for Atmosphere
If you only do one kind of outdoor Halloween lighting, this should be it.
Colored flood lights let you provide broad light across a scene, or highlight a specific feature depending on how you position them.
You can vary the color to provide a different feel for different sections.
Blue, green and purple lighting tend to be eerie and ghostly (great for a cemetery, as I mentioned above) while orange and red are more fiery, like pumpkins and flames.
Pointing the spot light at light colored props like skeletons, tombstones and ghosts will make them look like they glow in the dark.
For even more flexibility, you can buy LED spotlights that allow you to change the color…then you can re-use them in all kinds of different situations.
These low watt LED flood lights that plug in and have a remote* are perfect for Halloween settings (and can be re-used for other lighting applications as well).
I have also started to use these ones* that come with 4 spot lights spread along one light string.
They’re similar to the originals in that you can still set the color. But they all have to be set to the same one. And you use an app on your phone to control them (rather than a remote).
The big benefit of them is that they only take up one electrical socket. So you don’t need as many extension cords.
Because they are so versatile, I use these two options almost exclusively in my Halloween graveyard.
Using white props like skeletons (and my white fence) really reflects the blue flood light and creates a spooky atmosphere.
3 | Replace Porch Lights With Colored Bulbs
Change out the bulbs in your porch and garage lights with red or orange light bulbs.
This still provides light for guests coming and going from your house, but doesn’t overwhelm the rest of the yard with white light.
You can also use it as back lighting for a Halloween banner* which makes the sign really stand out (get more information on how to use Halloween Banners).
4 | Use String Lights For Accent Colors
String lights are the same kind of lights that everyone uses for Christmas, but are now becoming more common place for Halloween outdoor lighting as well.
String these along fences, over arbors, or over bushes as you would Christmas lights…but again, it usually works best not to use white bulbs.
Purple and orange lights are easy to come by around Halloween and work very well.
You can also use them in more non-traditional ways. Put a coiled up string of orange lights under a witches cauldron* to make it look like it’s simmering on coals.
Like the flood lights above, string lights also come in an LED version* with a remote to set the color.
They are quite a bit more expensive to buy than the regular kind.
But they are cheaper to run (since they are LED) and I can use the same ones for all of the holidays. Which means I can leave them up between Halloween and Christmas. And that saves me a ton of time! So I have switched all of mine over.
5 | Make A Cauldron Boil
Continuing with the witch theme from above, you can also use Halloween outdoor lighting to make the cauldron look like it’s boiling using a mister*.
Put a shallow dish with water in the cauldron and add the mister.
The water should cover the top of the mister by about 1/4″ for the best mist effect.
Add some witches to really make an outdoor Halloween scene.
The light from the mister will also help to draw attention to the cauldron.
6 | Set Out Luminaries
Luminaries are bags with words or designs printed on the front of them that are lit from within.
You can buy them pre-made from the store (I got the Enter If You Dare ones from grandinroad.com*…they are usually available for the couple of months before Halloween).
Or if you are interested in making your own, this video from Southern Living shows you how.
7 | Add a Lightning Machine
The next one of my Halloween outdoor lighting ideas is to plug your lights into a lightning machine*.
A lightning machine doesn’t really create lightning, but it does cause all of your lights to flicker on and off to the beat of music…which gives your yard the look of lightning.
If you’re planning on adding cemetery music to your outdoor decor, consider plugging all of your lights into a lightning machine for added drama.
Place the lightning machine near a speaker and make sure that the sound is loud enough that the machine can pick up the beat (otherwise it will look like it’s not working).
8 | Use Halloween Path Lights
Halloween path lights perform 2 important functions in your Halloween outdoor lighting scheme:
- looking spooky (obviously)
- putting some light on the ground so people can see where they are walking.
This will prevent anyone from tripping over your decorations or cords.
9 | Add solar Lanterns
These solar torch lights* that look like they have flames inside are perfect for a Halloween graveyard.
I like to use them like path lights, so they outline where people are supposed to walk.
To make them taller, I stuck the end of them in a PVC pipe that I painted black and made into a fence with some chain.
When Halloween is over, I put them out in the backyard as real path lights. So they’re functional all year round.
And since you don’t have to plug them in, you can put them anywhere.
Or if you’re looking for something smaller, these old-fashioned lanterns are also solar powered.
So you can put them where you want them and don’t have to use up another electrical outlet.
10 | Put Out Pumpkins
Whether you use a real carved pumpkin or plastic ones that you plug in, no Halloween scene is complete without at least one pumpkin.
I try to place them in unlikely places so they are a bit of a surprise.
11 | Add Strobe Lights
Buy some inexpensive mini strobe lights to add a spooky blinking effect.
I prefer the ones with plugs for my outdoor display because they can be turned on and off at the outlet (at the same time as all of the other lights).
However, you can also get these strobe lights* that are specific for Halloween which come with spooky Halloween sounds and are usually battery operated. Since there is no cord, you have a little more flexibility on where you can place them.
In either case, I like to put them in bushes so that the strobe creates spooky lighting effects with the branch shadows.
12 | Add Eyes To The Bushes
Make it look like people are peeping out of your bushes by installing these flashing light-up eyes*.
These lights are easy to install and add the creepy factor to any of the bushes in your yard.
13 | Hang neon signs
Neon signs are another way to add some spooky lighting to your yard haunt.
Especially if you can find one that matches your theme, like the “No Vacancy” sign from my haunted hotel graveyard.
14 | Use Moving Light
A kaleidoscope spot light* creates this really cool-looking orange and purple mixture of lighting.
Reflecting it off some white creepy cloth* over an arbor makes your entry way glow.
Or project it through some tree branches to get a spooky shadow pattern behind it.
These spot lights are similar to regular flood lights except the light rotates like a kaleidoscope and it often has a mixture of colors.
The lights create a wave effect that makes the shadows look like they are moving.
15 | Project Ghosts In Your Windows
Next on the list of Halloween outdoor lighting ideas is to add some projected images to your Halloween decor.
To make Halloween spirits come to life, try projecting a phantom video in your window. This one is behind my Halloween cemetery and looks very realistic!
I use a Halloween holographic projector to create a ghost that floats in and out of view in my window.
To use it, hang up a semi-transparent piece of fabric (like this one*) on the inside of a window and project one of the included videos onto it from inside the house.
The exact projector model I have isn’t available anymore, but you can buy this one* that’s similar on Amazon.
It comes with 6 Halloween holographic videos (you can see what they look like on the linked page above).
But it will also play videos from other sources if you prefer. Which is great because you can use it anytime you want to project video, like setting up an outdoor movie night in the summer.
16 | Use lighted props
These days there are a ton of Halloween props available, and a lot of them come with their own lights.
Like this carriage that I got from Home Depot (which unfortunately they no longer carry).
The problem with most of them is that they’re battery operated, which used to be a bit of a show stopper for me. (I’m not running outside every night to turn them on and them turn them off again.)
But then I found these gadgets that replace the batteries with a plug-in version. And they come in different sizes so you can get the one you need:
17 | Make Ghosts Glow
If you prefer to use real ghosts, lighting them properly will make them glow and look like they are floating.
Uplighting is the best way to do this.
Position a spotlight at the bottom of the ghosts that is pointed directly up at them. Blue or green usually gives the eeriest effect.
Yep…I use those same LED spot lights* for this, too.
18 | Uplight Some Dead Branches
Just like in regular landscape lighting, uplighting is a great way to add atmosphere to your yard. And atmosphere is definitely what you want for your Halloween yard haunt!
Place a spotlight at the bottom of whatever you want to light, and then point the light up to highlight your object.
If you can place your light so that it hits the leaves of a tree as well, that will give your yard even more of a spooky factor.
As I have mentioned before, I use these low wattage LED Flood Lights* for all of my Halloween spot light needs.
They are relatively inexpensive. You can change the color of the light any time you want with the remote control. And they can be re-used for other events throughout the year.
19 | Create Silhouettes
Backlighting is another traditional landscape lighting method that works for Halloween too.
If you have props that work well as silhouettes (like these crows), lighting the scene behind them will make them stand out.
It’s fairly easy to create a fence silhouette just by putting most of your spot lights inside the fence.
20 | Add Misters to an Outdoor Bird Bath Or Fountain
If you have (or can add) an outdoor water feature, misters* give you two-for-one spookiness.
They add light to the scene as well as providing mist.
I like to put a couple in the birdbath to transform it into a spooky Halloween misting cauldron.
21 | Use Creepy Cloth To Reflect The Light
The next entry on my list of Halloween outdoor lighting ideas is white creepy cloth*, which isn’t actually lighting at all. But it definitely makes the lighting show up much better in the yard.
And in case you haven’t noticed, I use it A LOT in my Halloween yard haunt.
Part of the reason is because it looks…well…creepy.
But the other part is that creepy cloth is great for reflecting light.
It looks like it is glowing in the dark, even though there aren’t any black lights in my yard.
This arbor effect was created with a blue spotlight in the front, orange string lights over the arbor and a kaleidoscope spot light* behind the arbor.
It doesn’t matter what color of light, you are using, it will show up better when it is being reflected by a surface that adds texture and spookiness to the scene.
And creepy cloth* adds both of those qualities!
Make sure to get the white kind, since the grey and black ones don’t reflect the light nearly as well.
Creepy cloth can be re-used every year, so it’s a good Halloween decorating investment.
22 | Lay Net Lights On The Ground
To really make a Halloween graveyard stand out, try laying down some net lights.
I used blue lights to make it look spooky. Green or purple would have a similar effect.
If you can find dim white ones, they could also work. Especially if you have fog floating over the top.
Combining them with spot lights really makes your Halloween props (like this skeleton) stand out.
23 | Light An Underground Crypt
Okay, so this isn’t really underground. But it gives the illusion that it is.
I created this by wrapping the outside of a palette with this brick scene setter*.
Then put an LED spotlight* on the inside.
And positioned a few skeleton hands to make it look like they were trying to escape.
24 | Put Everything On A Timer
As much as possible, I try to use plug-in lights and accessories for my Halloween outdoor lighting.
Then I can put them all on an outdoor timer* and don’t have to worry about making sure everything is turned on every night.
You can also get a stake version that has 6 outlets* which gives you even more outlets for all the extension cords.
25 | Buy Lots Of Extension Cords
Speaking of extension cords, if you’re using a lot of lights (like I do), you’re going to need some multi-outlet outdoor extension cords.
This multi-directional one* is one of my favorites.
The other great thing about the timers and extension cords, is that you can use them again for Christmas or any other time you want to have lights on a timer.
Hopefully you’ve found some Halloween lighting inspiration that you can use in your own yard.
26 | Waterproof the connections
Nothing is worse than getting all of your Halloween lights set up perfectly, only to have them all go out because some water got in one of the plugs and tripped the breaker.
Especially on Halloween night. (Ask me how I know!)
So if you have problems with this, you’ll probably want to invest in some extension cord covers.
If you have a whole bunch of connections to make in one spot, you might also want to invest in a couple of these boxes* that can keep a multi-plug extension cord dry.
Well, that’s it for my Halloween outdoor lighting ideas. Hopefully, you’ve found some inspiration to set up your own spooky display.
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Other Halloween Outdoor Decorating Ideas You Might Like
- Halloween Fog Machine Ideas: How To Make Low Lying Fog
- How to Create a Spooky Halloween Graveyard
- How to Create Spooky Halloween Planters
Have comments or questions on ways to create spooky Halloween outdoor lighting? Tell us in the section below.
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This post was originally published on October 20, 2016 but was updated with new content on September 26, 2022.