By Rachel Morrow
With Halloween quickly approaching, many homeowners are getting into the spirit by decorating their homes with festive décor. After all, as a homeowner you can do whatever you want, right? In some cases, yes, but if your home is a part of a community that belongs to a homeowners association, you may have some restrictions.
Since HOA rules can vary dramatically from neighborhood to neighborhood, it’s a wise idea to look over your HOA’s guidelines before you invest time or money in decorating your home for Halloween. While you research your local rules, here are some common Halloween-decorating faux pas sure to spook your local HOA.
Keep Noise Levels LowFor most HOAs, one of the biggest no-no’s during Halloween are displays that make too much noise. Many HOAs consider this noise to be distracting to neighbors — not to mention, fodder for bothering them. Double-check your HOA rules before implementing loud, scary haunted house displays, mood-setting music or characters that shriek when motion-activated.
Be Considerate With LightingNot only is noise considered disruptive, but too much light can also be an inconvenience to your neighbors. For this reason, try to keep your lighting displays to a minimum. You should also have any lights on timers so they automatically turn off at a reasonable hour. As long as you keep your lights sensible, you shouldn’t run into any problems.
Inquire About Yard ArtLarge inflatable characters are very popular during the Halloween season. If you want to adorn your yard with inflatable pumpkins, zombies or goblins, consult your HOA guidelines first. Some HOAs forbid any shrines, figurines or other artwork.
Respect Possible Religious InferencesMost HOAs specify you aren’t allowed to have anything displayed outside of your home that has specific religious affiliations. For this reason, investigate your HOA rules before garnishing your yard with witches, as they can be associated with the Wicca religion.
How Can You Decorate?These common guidelines may seem restricting, but don’t worry. There are still quite a few ways you can decorate your home without provoking your HOA.
Pumpkins have long been a Halloween staple, and chances are, your HOA won’t mind if you adorn the porch with a display of these carved gourds. Place LED candles inside of them so there isn’t a fire risk when illuminating them during the evenings. Fake spider webs stretched over your trees and bushes are another great option to help make your yard look a little spookier. You can also find many great window clings and door signs that can be as cheerful or as scary as you want.
Regardless of what options you go with, just make sure you abide by your local HOA’s guidelines. Doing so will help your home achieve the festive Halloween feel without upsetting your neighbors or your HOA.
Rachel Morrow is a freelance writer for NewHomeSource.com. She covers a variety of topics, including home and outdoor living, interior design and real estate.