Inflatable animated “Beetlejuice” sandworm, $179 from Home Depot. Nothing says Halloween like “Beetlejuice” on the front lawn.

There are a lot of wonderful things about Halloween. Candy. Costumes. Spooky movies.

Scaring the heck out of your neighbors with a gigantic animated sandworm on the front lawn.

It’s the most magical time of the year!

Shopping Siren rarely dresses up her lawn for holidays, but Halloween might be an exception this year. There are too many amazing decorations/creepy lights/faux severed limbs out there to ignore. Want a man-eating clown theme? It’s out there! Want to cover your lawn with zombies crawling up from the grave? You can do that! Need to make your home look like a crime scene without, you know, actually committing a crime? Oh, heck yeah!

It’s all the joy of creating a haunted house without all the troublesome poltergeists.

Go big and go home. It’s my new fall motto.


• Man’s Possessed Friend, Spirit Halloween, $169.99

A life-sized doghouse with a life-sized animatronic monster hound that lunges forward when activated. As you can imagine, he doesn’t lunge forward to give sloppy doggy kisses. (Unless they’re sloppy doggy kisses of death! Bwahaha!)  Pair with the 6-foot animatronic evil clown for $209.99 and life-size twin animatronic ghost girls for $189.99 and your yard will be the creepiest one on the block. Except for that one house. It’s best not to think about that house.

Speaking of being the spookiest on the block, Spirit Halloween is back! There are three stores in Maine this year: at the Shaw’s Plaza in Auburn, in the Target shopping center in South Portland and at the Shoppes at Biddeford Crossing in Biddeford. The perennial pop-up shop is once again filled with costumes and decorations with varying levels of gore. AND it’s offering a 20% off coupon for a single item bought online or in stores. While Spirit has an amazing array of kiddie costumes, I don’t recommend taking your littlest of little ones to shop with you there. That animatronic evil clown? He’s the greeter in Auburn.

• Super stretch spider webs, Spirit Halloween, $6.99

Kick it old school with these white, black or glow-in-the-dark spreadable spider webs. I don’t care how fearless you are by day, you will scream and bat frantically at the air when a web brushes your face at night. Just don’t get caught in your own … web.

• Decaying Zombie Groundbreaker prop, Spirit Halloween, $26.99


Want the local kids to stay off your lawn but don’t want to yell out the window like a crotchety old man? These zombie parts should do it. Place them strategically and it’ll look like the walking dead are crawling up from the ground, just waiting to seize an unsuspecting passerby. No 8-year-old wants any part of that. No 48-year-old wants any part of that. You probably won’t get any visitors for a while.

• Hanging Slimer, Spirit Halloween, $59.99

It’s Slimer! From Ghostbusters! Hang this 17-inch polyfoam green ghost from a porch roof and call it a day. Your work here is done.

• Crime scene tape, Spirit Halloween, $5.99

A 100-foot roll of yellow “crime scene — do not cross” tape. String along bushes, wrap around trees and hang it crookedly from your front door, one end loose and flapping in the breeze so it looks like someone busted through. Nothing says Halloween like possible-murder-spree-in-progress.

• Corn stalks, Home Depot, $19.98 (decorated) or $7.98 (dried)


For that spooky “Children of the Corn” vibe. Prop a few in front of your door and snake your hand through the stalks to deposit candy in the bags of trick-or-treaters. The kids will scream in delight! Probably delight. Possibly terror. Maybe don’t do that after all.

• Headless horseman, Home Depot, $249

I know I’m heavy on the animated fear factor here, but come on, it’s a 7½-foot tall mechanical horse with a headless rider carrying a jack-o’-lantern. The horse kicks its front legs and moves its head. The pumpkin lights up. The horse’s eyes light up. It’s Halloween come to life! Er, death. Un-death? One of those.

• Haunted hotel registry, Lowe’s, $24.98

Blotched, vintage hotel registry that speaks a bunch of eerie phrases and lights up with, “Get out!” when someone tries to sign it. So, like, your average hotel registry.

• Flickering eyeball lights, Lowe’s, $14.98


An 11½-foot string of 20 flickering lights designed to resemble eyeballs. Oooh, spooky. But these lights are also LED! Look that energy savings in the eye.

Best find: “Beetlejuice” inflatable giant sandworm, Home Depot, $179

It’s a black-and-white striped, 9½-foot tall sandworm that is self-inflating and prelit. Also, its tongue moves. If this is wrong in lawn decor, I don’t want to be right.

Think twice: Scottsdale 60-inch Christmas wreath, Lowe’s, $89.98

This decoration is too scary for September.

Shopping Siren’s true identity is protected by a pair of stylish, sweater-wearing Doberman pinschers (who say all dogs are good dogs, even animatronic monster hounds) and the Customer Service counter at the Sun Journal. You can reach her at

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