Tricking out your house for Halloween in San Francisco can be a real treat. But just as with a Halloween costume, the more thought you put into it the better. Not doing your research with a Halloween costume can result in, say, a slight stain leftover from green face paint. Not doing your research when decorating your house for Halloween, on the other hand, can result in something much worse, such as a break in or damage to your property.

As with many holidays, San Francisco does Halloween big. Many residents go all out with decorating their homes for Halloween and whole neighborhoods are even closed to traffic on Halloween night for trick-or-treating. Pumpkin patches and costume stores pop up throughout San Francisco like ghouls rising from their graves. And there’s a party somewhere in the city every night for all of October.

Dos and Don’ts for Decorating Your House for Halloween in San Francisco

Knowing how to properly decorate your house for Halloween in San Francisco will delight passersby and trick-or-treaters and help you get into the Halloween spirit. Just follow these tips and tricks to ensure that your Halloween is the right kind of frightful:

Do be wise when hanging decorations. The exterior of your house may be sturdier than the interior, but you can still do some real damage if you hammer a nail in the wrong place. Minor consequences from hanging decorations, such as scratching or chipping off paint, can add up to some big costs if you’re not careful.

Don’t decorate if you’re not giving out candy. Or at least remove the decorations before Halloween night. While most people would be mildly disappointed to discover that a decorated house was in fact closed for candy, keep in mind that lots of different characters will be out that night and some have a penchant for mischief. Cleaning up egg yolk or broken decorations is probably not how you want to spend your morning on November 1st.

Do turn off lights if you’re not giving out candy. This courteous gesture lets trick-or-treaters know that your house is not a stop on the candy train. Plus, it will deter people from coming to your front door if you don’t want to be bothered. Still keep lights on in alleyways or in places where burglars could be tempted to break in.

Don’t poison the dogs. There’s a rumor that there are more dogs in San Francisco than there are children. Think of our four-legged friends this Halloween season and keep any kind of toxic decorations (such as silly string) off the ground. Another hazard to dogs and other animals is chocolate, which is just one of the many reasons to not put out an unattended bowl of candy. This may be tempting if you’re not home Halloween night and want to leave something out for trick-or-treaters, but it’s asking for trouble of all kinds.

Do make decorations kid-friendly. Children will be extra-excited and rambunctious on Halloween night. To prevent injuries, keep pathways and entrances clear from decorations that could be tripped over, and check decorations for sharp edges.

Don’t obstruct the gutters. Hanging decorations over gutters or obstructing gutters is a disaster waiting to happen. Plus, it is unlawful to obstruct gutters in San Francisco. Private driveways, as well, cannot contain items that would obstruct the free flow of water to gutters in the street.

Do keep large decorations away from windows to prevent robberies. Lots of people will be out on Halloween night, including burglars. If you’re not going to be home on Halloween night, don’t give thieves easy access to your home by leaving large decorations that can be used for climbing into windows.

Don’t use indoor lights for outdoor decorations. It’s important to make sure lights have been tested for outdoor use, including exposure to UV light from the sun and water from rain and fog. Prevent fires by checking lights for frayed wires or cords.

Do keep lights on a timer. Motion sensor lights and lights that are on a timer will keep your electricity bill down. It’s also best to not annoy your neighbors; having a yard that’s lit up like a jack-o-lantern 24/7 is Halloween spirit overkill.

Don’t leave decorations up past the season. Take decorations down in a timely manner so that your house doesn’t make the neighborhood resemble something out of The Nightmare Before Christmas. Rotting pumpkins are also not the most pleasant sight for neighbors and passersby. Plus, leaving pumpkins out is just begging for them to be smashed.

Do adorn your door. Decorating your front door for Halloween is one of the most simple but delightful ways to add some spooky cheer. A Halloween wreath is easy to hang and window decals will add a touch of Halloween spirit without requiring any clean up or much assembly.

For more home tips, check out the SFhotlist blog! Wishing all of you a spooky Halloween from Danielle Lazier :: SFhotlist Team and Keller Williams San Francisco.

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