It’s the most wonderful time of the year…

No, it’s not Christmas, it’s the first week of September, and the retailers have this year’s Halloween decor out. For myself, as a budding yard haunter, the best place to get real quality props and decor is the Spirit Halloween pop-up store, which I’m lucky enough to get in our town. Last year I waited too long to get the best stuff there, but hope to rectify that this season.

That said, other retailers have been stepping up their Halloween game the past couple years, in some kind of macabre (severed) arms race. Maybe the best I’ve seen so far is Home Depot. You know, the place you go for tools and raw materials for stuff you’ll never build? Well, my wife and I stopped in the other day, and I was blown away with what they had out this year.

To start, if you’re looking for big props, look no further. Last year, our Home Depot had a full-size skeleton horse, and this year they’ve added a 10-foot Tyrannosaurus Rex, big eggs with animated baby skeleton dinos and a triceratops (sadly not full size).

There are also several other full-size animated characters, including witches, skeleton bikers, scarecrows, mummies and a larger-than-life animated werewolf. That said, if you don’t need animation, a lot of those props are easily (and cheaply) made with PVC pipe, a mask and old clothes from Goodwill.

If you’re looking for some realistic skeletons at a decent price, they’ve got some great ones. I don’t recall the exact price, but it wasn’t more than fifty bucks for an articulated skeleton that didn’t look half bad.

Lots of other stuff for the yard as well, including an array of tombstones, ghosts and other props. Some of the tombstones were pretty elaborate and lit up and/or made noise. For me, though, at a certain price, I’m leery of putting something outside that might get swiped during the month. But that’s just me.

The shelves are chock full of great stuff like skeleton figures, strobe lights, candelabras and other indoor props. They had this rusty, vintage-looking movie projector that I think I’m going to put in my office. Speaking of lighting, they had tons, include a wide array of lights that you point at your house with some cool designs. They also had one that simulated lightning flashing on your house that I might have to pick up.

And they had a surprising amount of stuff for the more serious home haunter. Naturally they had fog supplies; I piked up a hose system that will pipe fog through my cemetery and attaches to the nozzle of my fogger. They also had web shooters, which surprised me. If you haven’t seen them, they look like a glue gun, only you put in special “web” sticks and attach it to an air compressor. It shoots out realistic cobwebs that look amazing.

They also had a full display for the Window FX (aka AtmosFX) digital decorating system. Essentially, this is a projector that runs video from a pre-loaded SD card. You position the projector indoors, pointed at a window with a sheet over it. The rear projection looks, from the street, as if your house is full of animated ghosts, singing pumpkins, and ravenous zombies trying to get out. They had them last year and I just had to pick one up. They were a huge hit in the neighborhood. If you have nice big front windows, I highly recommend it.

There were way too many cool things to recap here, but I’ve included some photos below. Looking forward to seeing what Lowe’s has this year, and hope to check out our local Spirit store very soon.

Know of any other retailers with great haunting supplies? Let us know in the comments!