Fall Outdoor Decorating: From Halloween to Thanksgiving

Add to the natural autumn beauty of your yard with harvest-inspired outdoor decorations. Our versatile ideas will span the season -- from September to Thanksgiving.

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Draped in Garland
Draped in Garland

    Decorate a fence or porch rail for fall with a corn garland. Cut rope 2 feet longer than the area in which you intend to hang the garland. Then twist screw-eye hooks (with openings about the same size as the rope diameter) into the tops of mini ears of corn, one per ear. Bend corn husks into loops and hot-glue the pointed ends together. Thread the husks and ears onto the rope and hang.

On a Rope

    For this harvest garland, first drill holes through apples. Tie a knot at one end of the rope and thread on the first apple. Tie another knot in the rope to hold the apple in place. Repeat, leaving space on the rope between the apples. Stick sprigs of leaves into the holes of the apples to finish the garland.

Flowers for Fall

    Scour antique stores and flea markets for a tall and tapered, galvanized steel container with a handle. Fill with fall flowers and hang by the handle from a hook on your front door.

Table Display

    Outdoor tables are just as suited for centerpieces as their indoor counterparts. This one is a striking arrangement of dried Chinese lanterns, bundled loosely together with curly willow and pumpkins-on-a-stick. A grapevine garland woven with bittersweet vine wraps around the base of the bucket. Visit your local greenhouse, florist, or farmer's market to find unique fall flora.

Potted Pumpkin

    Turn an old planter into a pumpkin perch for fall. Hot-glue cornhusks to a straw wreath form, along the top, bottoms, and sides so that the ends of the husks all point outward. Stick sprigs of ornamental grass into the wreath form to fill in any gaps. Set the wreath on top of a garden urn and nestle a pumpkin in the wreath.

Fall Load

    Fill a wooden wheelbarrow with gourds, pumpkins, dried leaves, and berry sprigs. Work with a variety of shapes and colors to achieve a vibrant look that captures the essence of fall. Paint a "welcome friends" message on two large pumpkin and place on top of the wheelbarrow. Weave artificial berry vines around the wheelbarrow for a splash of stunning red.


    For a country look, wedges ears of Indian corn between the tines of an old metal rake, using hot-glue to secure if necessary. Hang the finished rake on your door as an alternative to a traditional fall wreath.

Perfect Mix

    Green and cream pumpkins are well-suited for early fall, when summer still lingers. Assemble the gourds in a wooden wheelbarrow, adding berry vines for extra color and stacking pumpkins to give height to the tableau. As the season progresses, incorporate more orange and yellow gourds to capture the changing landscape of autumn.

Pumpkins on Parade

    Add some pizzazz to your front yard by lining a walkway with pumpkins. Around Halloween, replace some of the whole pumpkins with carved jack-o'-lanterns.

Tools of the Season

    This stylish rake is meant for display, rather than yard duty. To make the decorative rake, wrap an old rake's handle with ribbon. Hot-glue silk leaves in a cluster at the base of the handle and then along the bottom of the rake to resemble just-swept leaves. Weave raffia and bittersweet vine amongst the tines of the rake. Lean against a tree or porch railing, grouped with pumpkins, for a pretty fall vignette.

Festive Harvest Tree

    Adapt Christmas lights for the Halloween and Thanksgiving season. Position sturdy bare branches in a pot half filled with small rocks or potting soil. Fill in the top of the pot with gourds and pumpkins. Wrap strands of lights (white lights or specialty outdoor party lights) around the bare branches.

Row of Pumpkins

    Display hollowed-out pumpkins filled with potted fall flowers along a retaining wall. A procession of pumpkins would also look stately on your front steps.

Fall Outlook

    Welcome autumn to your front door with a blaze of color. Poke holes in the top of pumpkins with a screwdriver. Insert leaf-covered branches into the holes and flank your front door with this artful arrangement. Include a few green pumpkins for contrast.

    Editor's Tip: Display carved jack-o'-lanterns for Halloween. After the holiday is over, replace them with plain pumpkins to make the arrangement Thanksgiving friendly.

Light the Way

    Add a string of decorative outdoor lights to your porch railing to illuminate the night.

Work with What You Have

    For an easy fall update, tuck gourds and pumpkins amongst your flower beds and window boxes. Choose a variety of shapes and colors for an eye-catching harvest display.

Sill Space

    Dress up blank windowsills with an arrangement of harvest-inspired elements such as miniature hay bales, ears of Indian corn, and leaves. For Halloween, add a miniature jack-o'-lantern or two. For Thanksgiving, add a handful of pinecones.

Modern Cornucopia

    A cone fashioned from copper wire mesh holds an abundance of dried flowers and ornamental grasses. This new take on a cornucopia is ideal to hang on your front door or in an outdoor entryway for the fall season.

Mirrored Reflection

    For a fully balanced look, arrange elements symmetrically along the sides of your front steps. Start with potted chrysanthemums on the top step. Arrange groupings of small gourds and heads of flowering kale on the lower steps.

Pumpkin Bucket

    To make this pumpkin bucket, cut sections out of the top of a pumpkin, leaving a narrow strip in the middle (around the stem) intact. Hallow out the bottom half and fill with fall clippings from your yard.

Perfect Pair

    Give new life to a rusty bucket as a vessel for your deck or porch. Arrange pretty fall branches inside the bucket and pair with a pumpkin for an easy outdoor tablescape.

More Fall Decorations

    Pretty fall wreaths provide a fresh way to decorate that transcends the seasons.

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