How to Care for Holiday Lawn Inflatables This Season

Read these before you get the air pump out!

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Every October, I drive around to see all the elaborate outdoor Halloween decorations the neighbors have put up. With pumpkins, skeletons, and large inflatables already on display, it seems everyone is already embracing the Halloween spirit. And this year, there appear to be more inflatable decorations than ever before.

Inflatables are a great way to decorate for the season because they make a big statement in your yard, but they don't require much storage space; at the end of the season you can just deflate them and pack them away with the rest of your Halloween decor.

But before you get the air pump or add any oversize lawn decorations to your shopping cart, there are a few things you should know. Since inflatables can be pretty expensive, you'll want to properly care for them so they can be used year after year. We talked to Lance Allen, the decorative holiday merchant at The Home Depot to get his best tips for how to care for lawn inflatables this season.

home depot inflatable
Courtesy of The Home Depot

How to Care for Lawn Inflatables

Keep the Packaging

When you get a new inflatable, it can be tempting to rip open the packaging to put up your lawn decor as soon as possible, but Allen recommends carefully opening the inflatable so you can store it in the original packaging at the end of the season. If you don't have the original package, he suggests using a storage bin with a lid that closes tightly and keeping it in a cool, dry place during the off season. If you have the operating manual, instruction book, or any extra cord and parts, you can place them in gallon-size zip-top bags and store those in the bin as well so you'll have everything you need when it's time to break out the decor next season.

Check for Damage

Before you air up the inflatable, check for tears, rips and holes that might prevent it from inflating all the way. If you do find any, be sure to repair or patch them before setting up. You'll need to discard any products that have frayed wire insulation, damaged cords, cracks in the socket enclosures, loose connections, or exposed copper wire (these aren't safe to repair on your own). But small rips and tears can be mended with a regular needle and thread, or taped shut with clear packing tape. Allen recommends applying the tape from the inside, so it'll be less noticeable.

Check Your Placement

The most important thing to consider when setting up the lawn ornaments happens before any inflating is done. When you're setting up your spooky scene, be sure to leave enough space between your inflatables so that they won't bump into each other if they sway in the wind. You'll also want to keep them away from tree branches or anything else that could catch, snag or tear their fabric shells. "If you live in an extremely windy location or have harder ground to anchor into, I also recommend upgrading to aluminum yard stakes to secure your inflatables," Allen says.

Watch the Weather

Once your inflatables are in place, be sure to keep an eye on the weather. Allen suggests only inflating your decor on dry days, so when rain or snow is in the forecast, you should unplug the inflatables and take them inside to stay dry.

"If your inflatable deflates in winter rain or snow, let it thaw completely before trying to inflate it again," he recommends. "If it becomes too windy for the safe operation of your décor, simply allow your inflatable to deflate, and wait for better conditions before re-inflating. If the temperature is below 14° F (-10° C), the motor may temporarily stop running, but the motor will begin functioning again when temperatures rise."

You should also be mindful of the electronic components of the inflatable; you'll need to keep the electric fan and power cord away from direct exposure to water, so try not to place them in low areas of the yard (where puddles might form) and take all the electronic elements inside on wet days.

Store in a Clean Dry Space

When you're ready to take the inflatable down for the season, you'll need to do a few things before storing it away. Allen recommends wiping the inflatable clean with a damp cloth, then be sure to check the manufacturer's instructions to see if you need to close any zippers or vents before you put the decoration away. You'll also want to let it air dry completely before storing it.

Roll, Don't Fold

When you're ready to store the inflatables, Allen recommends rolling them up (rather than folding). Rolling the inflatables tightly will help you get any extra air out, so they'll take up less space in storage.

Halloween Inflatables to Buy

Halloween Pumpkin Inflatable

pumpkin inflatables
Courtesy of Target

These aren't your traditional jack-o'-lanterns! This 3.5-foot stack of pumpkins requires no carving, and the best part? They won't rot on your front porch!

Dragon Inflatable

home depot inflatable
Courtesy of The Home Depot

If you're looking to go all-out on this year's haunted house, add this 8.5-foot dragon to your cart. He's the perfect companion for The Home Depot's viral 12-foot skeleton!

Ghost Inflatable

walmart halloween inflatable
Courtesy of Walmart

Add a friendly face to your outdoor Halloween decor scene with this smiling ghost inflatable. At 4 feet tall, he's the perfect height to greet trick-or-treaters coming up the driveway.

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