Spirits arise to transform pool into Halloween bog

Backyards often get ignored when it comes to decorating for the holidays. Moving to the pool area for these special occasions allows one to enjoy the beauty of the pool year-round and create enchanting, fun and memorable events.

Halloween is an amusing time when kids and adults enjoying throwing on costumes creating an alter ego of a funny, scary, romantic or adventurous nature. And, with fewer households allowing their kids to travel door to door for trick or treating, you may consider throwing a water-themed Halloween gathering by the pool. Awaken your imaginative spirit to transform the pool into a Halloween bog.

Quality décor that can be used year after year is available at party stores, costume outlets, theatrical supply stores, retail seasonal displays, pool supply stores and even garden departments of home-improvements stores. Combining a mixture of pool toys, garden ornaments and Halloween decorations and staging the elements at different elevations will give the décor a professional, realistic ambience.

Take time to develop the theme and plan the setting before you run out and buy the decorations.

Determine a focal point to draw your guests’ attention and then create pathways to allow the curious access to the area. The pool can be the focal point or simply complement the water-themed setting.

Converting patio covers and outdoor structures into haunted mansions, mausoleums, abandoned houses, pirate coves or castles is easy with the use of large rolls of black plastic found at party stores. Tacked up with tape, stapled or draped over sturdy rope, the black plastic can create faux walls or gates. When torn and shredded, the draping will take on a distressed look and flow in the wind.

Here are a few ideas to get your decorating plans into high spirits:

Storybook setting. A fairy tale comes to life with an enchanted forest, magical castle and moat. Place fairies and butterflies of all shapes and sizes around the yard. Hang pink, white and gold twinkle lights throughout the landscaping and on pillars to appear as colorful fireflies.

Turn the pool lighting to pink or purple and place floating flowers, lily pads and candles on the water. Set garden ornaments such as statues, toads, unicorns, bird feeders and gazing balls around the pool to complete the mythical evening.

Adventure on the high seas. Ahoy mate! The excitement of pirates, treasures and damsels in distress has been renewed with the blockbuster success of “The Pirates of the Caribbean” sequels. People of all ages have become enamored with the swashbuckling Captain Jack Sparrow, resulting in a large array of pirate-themed paraphernalia to wear and decorate with outdoors.

A must have for this setting is a pirate’s chest draped with velvet material and filled with treasures of jewels, coins, crowns and gold. A tattered pirate’s skull and crossbones flag should hang high warning off trespassers. Lanterns, vultures, bats, rusty hooks, balls and chains, and skeleton bones complete the pirate’s cove.

To reflect the beautiful waters of the Caribbean, turn the pool lights to blue. And, floating rafts draped in black become lairs for skeleton bones wrapped in tattered, simulated-blood-stained mesh fabric.

Eerie spirits. If you’re into the macabre, create a haunted house with a swamp side cemetery. Grave markers and spooky trees covered with spiders and webs can line a green-lit pool. Ghosts, goblins and zombies can be placed lurking from behind planters, pots and landscaping, while witches sway in the wind from the balcony. Half-open coffins lining the pool deck and waterproof caldrons with witches brew placed on the wet deck and steps complete the eerie scene.

Creatures from a black lagoon. The creepy factor can be one-upped by borrowing ideas from scary movies where creatures arise from marshes. A black lagoon is created when the pool lights are turned off. Adding a handful of lighted floating jelly fish and numerous floating alligator rafts produces an ominous effect. Lifelike creatures and mummies should be placed around foliage and in other unsuspecting places. Hang moss purchased from craft stores on pillars and trees.

Final touches. Line walkways with luminaries or solar, battery or electric path lights. Multiple stagings of dry ice and professional foggers will add either a creepy or enchanting feeling to a theme.

Sound effects are also an important element; there are many CDs with sound effects and music to fit any theme. And, with a large selection of lighted, animated and motion-sensor demons and characters available, incorporating these props throughout the poolscape will keep trick or treaters entertained and bring your vision to life.

Safety. Lastly, place all electrical cords and outlets away from the wet areas. And, when considering a theme, think age appropriate so as not to over-frighten the little ones. Also, remember to keep an eye on them around the pool.

Joe Vassallo is the president of Paragon Pools, as well as a member of the Association of Pool and Spa Professionals, a certified building professional and a representative of the APSP National Builders Council, Region XI. Send questions or suggestions for column ideas regarding pools and spas to him at jvassallo@paragonpools.net or 251-0500.

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