Halloween Decorations or DISTRACTIONS?

Industry Observer

 Well it's that time of the year when the ghost, goblins, gouls come out of attics and basements and into homes. While for some the day is great fun... for other's Halloween carries a negative connotation. 

You might want to suggest to your seller's that this year they cut back or totally avoid decorating.

As a stager I advise our clients to use VERY little or NO decorations. WHY? For the simple reason... when selling a house the HOME is to be the "star of the show" not the stuff.

PRO OR CON Halloween... NOT decorating makes sense because:

 * If a buyer LIKES Halloween you don't want them looking at all the wonderful cute decorating... you want them to see the house.

 * If the buyer does NOT LIKE Halloween, you don't want them "spooked" by the decorations.

Staging 101... When selling a house, make it appeal to the largest home buying demographic possible.



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Rick & Ines - Miami Beach Real Estate
Majestic Properties - Miami Beach, FL
I absolutely and totally agree with you Craig.  As fun as Halloween may be (and I do celebrate and go out with my kids and do Halloween giveaways), it really takes away from the home.  I would not even recommend the front porch because it is the FIRST IMPRESSION a customer has, and if it is a bad one, you are done.   Your pointers are always right on!         Ines
Sep 30, 2006 09:41 AM #12
Sharon Simms
Coastal Properties Group International - Christie's International - Saint Petersburg, FL

This would be bad advice in the Old Northeast neighborhood of St. Petersburg. Part of the culture of this Florida neighborhood is that every home decorates for every holiday - and if there's too long in between holidays, they make one up. This is a neighborhood of front porches with garages relegated to the alley in the back. It would make sense to limit the extent of the decorations, but not to eliminate them.

 On the other hand - years ago I had a home listed and was appalled when I went to show it a few days before Halloween - it had spider webs everywhere, hands hanging out of cupboards, even coffins in the swimming pool! The No Decorations rule should certainly have applied to that house.

Sep 30, 2006 09:43 AM #13
Crystal Pina
774.289.5521 - Worcester, MA
Remax Professional Associates

Part of what you're selling is a lifestyle. If you're selling to a family, they will expect decorations. I think you have to find that fine line between tasteful and offending, though. Some people think Halloween is evil and won't buy a house or even go in it if it's decorated in death and evl. On the other hand, I can't imagine asking someone not to put up a Christmas tree. I agree that maybe the outdoor lighting can be toned down, though.

Sep 30, 2006 11:19 AM #14
Sara Lipnitz
Max Broock Realtors - Birmingham, MI


I've always found myself in the middle of the road on this issue.  I personally am not a fan of Halloween.  However, my customer base tends to have kids who want to celebrate the spooky holiday. 

I may have to put out an email to all my listings about THE MASTER STAGER'S thoughts about this subject. 

I think you just got me out of the middle of the road. 

Sep 30, 2006 12:08 PM #15
Mitchell J Hall
The Corcoran Group - Manhattan, NY
Lic Associate RE Broker - Manhattan & Brooklyn

Wow I'm so glad others have said it. I really don't like Holloween that much. When I was a kid my mother always made these creative costumes I was never allowed to have a store bought one. Then the teachers always paraded me and my sister and brother around the whole school to show off our great costumes. I hated it!

Craig you make sense, even if I loved Holloween I don't think a house that is on the market should be cluttered with junk.

Sep 30, 2006 12:42 PM #16
Marguerite Crespillo
Marguerite Crespillo - Roseville, CA

While I agree to keep it simple, I also let my seller's know that they do have to LIVE while their home is being marketed and that everything in moderation works best.  With homes sitting on the market for sometimes months it is hard to put your life on hold.

Sep 30, 2006 01:19 PM #17
Ray Saenz
Exit Realty Laredo - Laredo, TX
Homes for Sale in Laredo, TX - Texas, Realtor

I respect all opinions, I agree with Craig.

Ray Saenz, Broker Associate
United Property Brokers, INC
Homes for sale in Colorado Metro Denver Area
Ray Saenz Real Estate Agent & ActiveRain  Network User

Sep 30, 2006 01:49 PM #18
Phyllis Pafumi
ReStyled to Sell Home Staging New Jersey - Old Bridge, NJ
ReStyled to Sell Staging Homes NJ

Hi Craig

You are right on and I just had the same conversation with some other stagers. Halloween sets a real negative connotation for many. Some homes today are way, way out there with their decor and I am quite sure that these homes will certainly "spook" home buyers. What I suggest for this time of year is to take advantage of the wonderful Harvest theme. Lots of mums, placed properly throughout with some simple harvest decorations such as pumpkins and haybails and apples. Welcome them in don't scare them away. Always enjoy your blogs..Phyllis Pafumi, ReStyled to Sell, NJ

Sep 30, 2006 02:17 PM #19
Elaine Reese, REALTOR® in central Ohio
Real Living HER, Powell Ohio - Powell, OH

I agree with Phyllis on the subdued fall decorations.

Mitchell, I feel sorry for you. My mom was that way too! Oh for a cheezy store-bought costume. ;-)


Sep 30, 2006 03:23 PM #20
Susan Milner
Florida Future Realty, Inc. - Cape Coral, FL
Cape Coral Real Estate Broker, FloridaFutureAgents
I think Halloween is a very fun holiday. I typically don't decorate though. I couldn't imagine showing a home cluttered with Halloween - or any holiday decor for that matter  - decorations. What a distraction & most likely turnoff.
Sep 30, 2006 03:37 PM #21
Carl Guild
Berkshire Hathaway Home Services New England Properties - East Hampton, CT
Central Connecticut Real Estate
What could be better then walking in the door and seeing a coffin with a decaying body in it when your showing a house!.... Ok maybe Craig has a point.
Sep 30, 2006 03:51 PM #22
Angus in Naperville IL
RE/MAX of Naperville - Naperville, IL

Great post Craig!

No halloween decorations, no way.

The decorations are fine for those folks not on the market.


Sep 30, 2006 03:58 PM #23
George Galvan
Professional Real Estate Partners - Gilbert, AZ
I say NIX the halloween , sell your house and spend more $$$$$$$ on X-mas. OOOOPS, or should I be politically correct and say Winter Holiday or Winter Break? Whatever the case....Just say NO to the decorations.
Sep 30, 2006 04:16 PM #24
Roberta Murphy
San Diego Previews Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
Carlsbad Real Estate and Homes

I tend to agree with Craig, but all these responses only serve to remind us all that real estate is local--down to the city, down to the neihborhood, down to the individual home.

All most of us want to see is a property that is clean, uncluttered and STAGED!

Sep 30, 2006 04:59 PM #25
Michele Van Detti
CJR - Gilbert, AZ

I agree with George.  Just take it easy this year.  For those of you who have clients who MUST do something, just make it tasteful.  Don't make my buyers write "crazy Halloween house" on their planos.  It won't help sell the house at all, but it might give us something to chat about in the car. 

PS, George, should I wear my costume when I take you to lunch?

Sep 30, 2006 08:26 PM #26
Bryant Tutas
Tutas Towne Realty, Inc and Garden Views Realty, LLC - Winter Garden, FL
Selling Florida one home at a time


I showed a house a few years back that was owned by a single guy in his early 40s. I guess he was a spiderman freak. He had spiderman from one side of his house to the other. Everywhere you looked was spiderman and cobwebs and more spiderman. And it had nothing to do with Halloween!! This was the way he lived. My buyers were freaked out and we left real quick. His Realtor owned the local Real Estate Co and was his sister. I believe see finally had to move him out and have the house despidered in order to sell it. 

Oct 01, 2006 12:11 AM #27
Jay and Linnea Hanley
PrudentialFloridaRealty - Jupiter, FL

I'm sick of being politically correct. How dull. GO FOR IT AND ENJOY HALLOWEEN or whatever HOLIDAY you choose to celebrate!

Jay and Linnea Hanley

Oct 01, 2006 10:46 AM #28
Mark Wojewnik
Equity Source Home Loans, LLC - New Port Richey, FL
I have got to agree with you on this one.  You definitely don't want a mass of clutter being the first thing a potential buyer sees, especially in todays market.
Oct 02, 2006 05:21 AM #29
Craig Schiller
Trempealeau, WI

WOW... lots of dialogue on this one.

My final thoughts on all this is is that again the HOME is and should be the star. When it comes to staging neutral still reigns supreme!

I recommend Little or No Decorating... but that is a recommendation not a mandate.



Oct 03, 2006 02:46 AM #30
Tricia Jumonville
Bradfield Properties - Georgetown, TX
Texas REALTOR , Agent With Horse Sense

Gee, All Hallows Eve is about murder?  Who knew? 


 That said, I think if the family is so inclined, or if it's a "family neighborhood" where trick or treating and decorating is the order of the day, then a small nod to custom is all right.  Nothing outlandish, but a ceramic pumpkin, perhaps, for agents to drop their business cards in when showing or something in recognition of the holiday that displays the brochures?


Oct 16, 2006 06:27 AM #31
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