32 Awesome Halloween Decorations and Props You Can Get at Target

damedeeso/iStock via Getty Images
damedeeso/iStock via Getty Images

It’s never too soon to start preparing for the best holiday of the year—which is Halloween, of course. And whether you’re planning a Halloween party or a haunted house, we have good news for you: Target’s Hyde & EEK! Boutique has created a number of incredible decorations and props that will help take your shindig to the next level. Here are a few of our favorites.

1. Light-up Pumpkin

A light-up pumpkin lamp from Target.
Target

Let's start with the classic symbol of Halloween. If you love the carved pumpkin look but don’t want to deal with the mess of actually carving a pumpkin, consider this 5-inch-tall prop, which lights up. At just $5, it's wallet-friendly. There’s also a version with pointy teeth, and a 9-inch version in teal.

2. Animated Light-Up Pumpkin Decorative Halloween Prop

For a more interactive version, check out this pumpkin, which—in addition to lighting up—emits spooky noises when motion activated.

3. LED Skull Plasma Ball

An image of a clear skull with tubes coming out of it.
Target

This steampunk-esque skull is perfect for the mad scientist space in your haunted house. Those brave enough to touch it will see a plasma filament reach up to meet their finger.

4. Crashing Witch

A cloth figure of a witch wearing green and black striped tights that looks like it's crashing into a wall.
Target

This quirky witch adds a little levity to your Halloween decor. The 9-inch-tall figure can lay flat against a door or wrap around a column either indoors or out.

5. Life-sizeD Skeleton

A poseable skeleton standing in front of a white background.
Target

This 5-foot-tall skeleton is both poseable, and, at $40, affordable. If you want to spend $5 more, you can get a life-size skeleton that also lights up with a green glow.

6. Werewolf Skeleton

A werewolf skeleton posed as though it's attacking in front of a white background.
Target

Human skeleton just too boring? Try this werewolf skeleton, which is just over 5 feet tall.

7. Victorian Style Telephone

This phone looks old-fashioned, but motion will cause it to ring—and when you pick up, a voice states, “I know who you are!” followed by a creepy laugh.

8. Eyeball Wreath

A wreath made of fake eyeballs
Target

Trick or treaters will know your house has the best candy when they see this eyeball wreath, which uses orange LEDs to create a creepy glow.

9. Opera Singer Tombstone

If you want your Halloween decor to belt out a few tunes from the beyond, there’s this animated opera singer tombstone prop, appropriately named Ophelia Payne. This unique decoration uses motion sensors to know when to sing a ghoulish tune for unsuspecting trick-or-treaters.

10. Pumpkin Halloween String Lights

20ct LED Pumpkin Halloween String Lights
Target

Sometimes you just want to go back to basics, and these pumpkin string lights are as simple, yet effective, as they come. Each set comes with 20 toothy jack-o’-lantern lights, perfect for adding classic Halloween ambiance to both indoor and outdoor displays.

11. Tree Decoration

Tree Face & Arms Halloween Decoration
Target

Make sure to leave no area of your property undecorated with this face and arms kit that turns any tree on your property into a spooky Halloween display.

12. Punny Tombstones

36" Ben A. Live Foam Tombstone
Target

Add some laughs to your Halloween display with a foam tombstone prop crafted in the memory of a poor departed soul named Ben A. Live. At 36 inches tall, this punny piece of spooky decor also sports a grinning jack-o’-lantern at the top to cap off the lighthearted decoration. If you want more than one punny tombstone, grab this one for Imma Gardner. You can round out your display with this set of cemetery props, which contains 18 pieces.

13. Serving Tray

"Happy Halloween" Wood Serving Tray
Target

You can’t serve snacks at your party without a seasonal tray, right? And this one is as classic as it gets, with a trio of jack-o’-lanterns ready to add the requisite scenery to your Halloween shindig.

14. Eyeball Halloween Candy Bowl

Animated Light-Up Eyeball Halloween Candy Bowl
Target

If you’re looking to keep a far more literal eye on your candy hoard this Halloween, this bowl has got your back. Whenever anyone reaches in and tries to snatch up that candy bar you’ve been saving for yourself, a motion-detecting eye will open up and growl “I’m watching you!” at the unsuspecting thief.

15. Trick-or-Treat Painted Halloween Pumpkin Bundle

3pk Trick-or-Treat Painted Halloween Pumpkin Bundle Black/Orange/Cream
Target

This three-pack of foam pumpkins come decorated for you in various sizes and colors—just set them out to add more life to your Halloween-themed festivities.

16. Talking Skull

Animated Taking Skull in Cloche Halloween Décor
Target

Don’t be all doom and gloom this Halloween. This talking skull will start telling jokes when it senses movement—and because it’s battery-operated, it can be placed wherever you think it’ll entertain the most guests.

17. Inflatable Dragon

6' LED Blue Dragon Inflatable Halloween Decoration
Target

This huge, 6-foot-tall inflatable dragon is perfect for any Halloween-themed Game of Thrones display. It's equipped with LEDs, so it's just as effective at night as it is during the day. (There's also a dragon skull that looks like it came straight from the cellar of the Red Keep.)

More into dinosaurs than dragons? Try this 9-foot-tall costumed T. Rex.

18. Zombie

Animated Zombie Groundbreaker with LED Eyes Decorative Halloween Prop
Target

This motion-activated zombie plays creepy music, groans, and turns its head when someone walks by, its single flashing eye constantly on the lookout for BRAINS.

19. Monster Boombox

Animated Monster Boombox Halloween Décor
Target

With a fiendish face and catchy song, this monster boombox is just the type of decoration your Halloween party needs to make it truly unique.

20. Rotating Skull Projector

Animated LED Rotating Skull Halloween Projector
Target

Disco balls are so over. For Halloween, try this LED-equipped disco skull.

21. Skull and Crossbone

ight-Up Skeleton Crossbone Halloween Wall Decor
Target

Spooky decor doesn’t get much more classic than the skull and crossbone, and with this light-up version affixed to your wall, you can bring a timeless charm to any Halloween theme you’ve got your eye on.

22. Reaper Skeleton

5' Animated LED Reaper Skeleton Ghoul White with Chains Decorative Halloween Prop
Target

This skeleton reaper gives the perfect Halloween greeting to trick-or-treaters as it lets loose a horrifying wail and rattles its chains.

23. Giant Spider

Giant Spider Decorative Halloween Prop
Target

Hang this creepy, hairy monstrosity from the ceiling to give everyone a fright. Suitable for display both indoors and outdoors.

24. Alarm Clock

Animated Monster Alarm Clock Halloween Décor
Target

Creatures of the night will agree: There's nothing scarier than getting up in the morning. This novelty alarm clock pops open to reveal a monstrous face within. It’s more cartoony than frightening, and perfect for anyone looking to throw a fun Halloween bash for all ages.

25. Animated Succulent

Blood Succulent Artificial Halloween Plant
Target

Add some potted terror to your Halloween with these “Blood Succulents” that will be right in line with the season as your dining room table centerpiece or displayed on a windowsill.

26. Fishbowl

Animated Fishbowl Halloween Décor
Target

Just set this battery-powered skeleton fishbowl on a table to add a fun layer of character to your Halloween decorations. The two fish will swim along, among the flowers, tombstone, and skull in the bowl. And because the display uses batteries, you can move it wherever you want.

27. Crow’s Feet Serving Glass

Crow Feet Glass Halloween Serving Bowl Black Tall
Target

Containing both the bowl and the creepy crow’s feet holder, this display is a suitably fiendish way to serve candy this year.

28. LED Computer

Animated LED Computer with Skull Decorative Halloween Prop
Target

Your guests will think you haven't updated your computer in ages when they see this prop, which is straight out of the '80s. Motion triggers it to fire up and reveal a talking skull, which warns your visitors about mice.

29. Dug Up Coffin

Animated Dug Up Coffin Decorative Halloween Prop
Target

Inside this 2-foot-tall coffin—which appears to be broken—is a skeleton that wakes up and glows green when people walk by. But he's more silly than spooky: He complains that they "don't make coffins like they used to" but is excited to "have a window now!"

30. Cat and Pumpkin Lantern

Cat/Pumpkin Silhouette Metal Lantern Halloween Decoration
Target

Keep your seasonal decor cute with this lantern, which has cat and pumpkin cut-outs against an orange insert. It's battery-operated, so you don't have to worry about a fire hazard.

31. Animated Black Cat Statue

Animated Black Cat Statue Decorative Halloween Prop
Target

This motion-activated kitty statue meows, yowls, and hisses just like the real thing.

32. Apothecary Jar

Transformation Potion Apothecary Jar Halloween Décor
Target

Place the Transformation Potion Apothecary Jar on your bar cart for a subtly spooky touch.

10 Fascinating Facts About the Thesaurus for National Thesaurus Day

iStock.com/LeitnerR
iStock.com/LeitnerR

Writers often turn to a thesaurus to diversify their vocabulary and add nuance to their prose. But looking up synonyms and antonyms in a thesaurus can help anyone—writer or not—find the most vivid, incisive words to communicate thoughts and ideas. Since January 18 is Thesaurus Day, we’re celebrating with these 10 fascinating facts about your thesaurus.

1. Thesaurus comes from the Greek word for treasure.

Greek lettering.
iStock

Most logophiles consider the thesaurus to be a treasure trove of diction, but the word thesaurus really does mean "treasure." It derives from the Greek word thésauros, which means a storehouse of precious items, or a treasure.

2. The plural of thesaurus is thesauruses or thesauri.

Row of old books lined up.
iStock

How do you refer to more than one octopus? People say everything from octopuses to octopi to octopodes. Similarly, many people have trouble figuring out the correct plural form of the word thesaurus. Though thesauri is technically correct—it attaches a Latin suffix to the Latin word thēsaurus—both thesauri and thesauruses are commonly used and accepted today.

3. Early thesauruses were really dictionaries.

Close-up of the term 'ideal' in a thesaurus.
iStock

Ask a French scholar in the 16th century to see his thesaurus, and he'd gladly give you a copy of his dictionary. In the early 1530s, a French printer named Robert Estienne published Thesaurus Linguae Latinae, a comprehensive Latin dictionary listing words that appeared in Latin texts throughout an enormous span of history. And in 1572, Estienne's son Henri published Thesaurus Linguae Graecae, a dictionary of Greek words. Although the Estiennes's books were called thesauruses, they were really dictionaries comprised of alphabetical listings of words with their definitions.

4. A Greek historian wrote the first book of synonyms.

Stacks of books surrounding an open book and a pair of glasses.
iStock

Philo of Byblos, a Greek historian and grammarian, wrote On Synonyms, a dictionary of synonyms that scholars consider to be the first ancient thesaurus. Dating to the late 1st century or early 2nd century CE, the book lists Greek words that are similar in meaning to each another. Sadly, we don’t know much more about On Synonyms because copies of the work haven’t survived over the centuries.

5. An early Sanskrit thesaurus was written in the form of a poem.

Sanskrit lettering.
iStock

In the 4th century CE, an Indian poet and grammarian named Amara Sinha wrote The Amarakosha, a thesaurus of Sanskrit words. Rather than compile a boring list of similar words, Amara Sinha turned his thesaurus into a long poem. Divided into three sections—words relating to the divine, the earth, and everyday life—The Amarakosha contains verses so readers could memorize words easily. This thesaurus is the oldest book of its kind that still exists.

6. A British doctor wrote the first modern thesaurus.

Portrait of Peter Mark Roget.
Thomas Pettigrew, Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

Peter Mark Roget is the British doctor credited with authoring the first modern thesaurus. In 1805, he began compiling a list of words, arranged by their meaning and grouped according to theme. After retiring from his work as a physician in 1852, Roget published his Thesaurus of English words and phrases; so classified and arranged as to facilitate the expression of ideas and assist in literary composition. Today, Roget’s Thesaurus is still commercially successful and widely used. In fact, we celebrate Thesaurus Day on January 18 because Roget was born on this day in 1779.

7. The thesaurus has a surprising link to a mathematical tool.

Image of a vintage log log slide rule.
Joe Haupt, Flickr // CC BY-SA 2.0

The division between "words people" and "numbers people" is deep-seated. Many mathematicians may try to steer clear of thesauruses, and bibliophiles may avoid calculators, but the thesaurus is actually linked to a mathematical tool. Around 1815, Roget invented the log-log slide rule, a ruler-like device that allows users to easily calculate the roots and exponents of numbers. So while the inventor of the thesaurus was compiling words for his tome, he was also hard at work on the log-log slide rule. A true jack-of-all-trades.

8. The Oxford English Dictionary has its own historical thesaurus.

Synonyms for
iStock

In 1965, a professor of English Language at Glasgow University suggested that scholars should create a historical thesaurus based on entries in the Oxford English Dictionary. The project was a massive undertaking, as people from multiple countries worked for 44 years to compile and classify words. Published in 2009, the Historical Thesaurus to the Oxford English Dictionary contains 800,000 words organized by theme and date. The thesaurus covers words and synonyms from Old English to the present day and lets readers discover when certain words were coined and how long they were commonly used.

9. One artist turned his love of words into a series of thesaurus paintings.

Mel Bochner,
Mel Bochner, "Crazy," 2004. Francesca Castelli, Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

In 2014, the Jewish Museum in New York showed a survey of conceptual artist Mel Bochner’s art. Bochner had incorporated words and synonyms in his paintings for years—which were collectively referred to as the thesaurus paintings—featuring word paintings and lists of synonyms on canvas. The brightly colored paintings feature different groups of English and Yiddish synonyms. According to Bochner, Vietnam and Iraq war veterans cried after seeing his thesaurus painting Die, which features words and phrases such as expire, perish, succumb, drop dead, croak, go belly up, pull the plug, and kick the bucket.

10. There's an urban thesaurus for all your slang synonym needs.

Copy of an Urban Dictionary book.
Effie Yang, Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Urban Dictionary helps people decipher the latest slang terms, but where should you go when you need a thesaurus of slang? Urban Thesaurus, of course. The site, which is not affiliated with Urban Dictionary, indexes millions of slang terms culled from slang dictionaries, then calculates usage correlations between the terms. Typing in the word money, for example, gives you an eclectic list of synonyms including scrilla, cheddar, mulah, coin, and bling.

More Than 100 National Parks Are Waiving Fees on Martin Luther King Jr. Day

noblige, iStock via Getty Images
noblige, iStock via Getty Images

The National Park Service is hosting five "free days" in 2020—the first of which lands on January 20. In honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, the NPS is waiving its regular entrance fees at 110 national park properties around the country, USA Today reports.

Of the 400-plus parks managed by the agency, 110 charge admission fees ranging from $5 to $35. These include some of the most popular sites in the system, like Yosemite, Yellowstone, and Grand Canyon national parks.

Every one of those parks will be free to visit on Monday. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is a day of service, and parks across the U.S. will be hosting service projects for volunteers looking to give back to their communities. If you'd like to participate, you can find volunteer opportunities at your local NPS property here.

If you're just looking for a place to reflect, you can't go wrong with any of the sites in the national park system. Before planning a visit to one the parks below participating in the free day, read up on these facts about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Here are the National Parks that will be free on January 20, 2020:

  • Acadia National Park, Maine
  • Adams National Historical Park, Massachusetts
  • Antietam National Battlefield, Maryland
  • Arches National Park, Utah
  • Assateague Island National Seashore, Maryland/Virginia
  • Badlands National Park, South Dakota
  • Bandelier National Monument, New Mexico
  • Big Bend National Park, Texas
  • Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, Colorado
  • Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah
  • Cabrillo National Monument, California
  • Canaveral National Seashore, Florida
  • Canyonlands National Park, Utah
  • Cape Cod National Seashore, Massachusetts
  • Capitol Reef National Park, Utah
  • Capulin Volcano National Monument, New Mexico
  • Carlsbad Caverns National Park, New Mexico
  • Castillo de San Marcos National Monument, Florida
  • Cedar Breaks National Monument, Utah
  • Chaco Culture National Historical Park, New Mexico
  • Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area, Georgia
  • Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park, Maryland/West Virginia/Washington, D.C.
  • Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park, Georgia
  • Christiansted National Historic Site, U.S. Virgin Islands
  • Colonial National Historical Park, Virginia
  • Colorado National Monument, Colorado
  • Crater Lake National Park, Oregon
  • Craters of the Moon National Monument & Preserve, Idaho
  • Cumberland Island National Seashore, Georgia
  • Death Valley National Park, California
  • Denali National Park & Preserve, Alaska
  • Devils Tower National Monument, Wyoming
  • Dinosaur National Monument, Utah
  • Dry Tortugas National Park, Florida
  • Eleanor Roosevelt National Historic Site, New York
  • Everglades National Park, Florida
  • Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument, Colorado
  • Fort Davis National Historic Site, Texas
  • Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine, Maryland
  • Fort Pulaski National Monument, Georgia
  • Fort Smith National Historic Site, Arkansas
  • Fort Sumter and Fort Moultrie National Historical Park, South Carolina
  • Fort Vancouver National Historic Site, Oregon/Washington
  • Fort Washington Park, Maryland
  • Gateway Arch National Park (formerly Jefferson National Expansion Memorial), Missouri
  • Great Falls Park, Virginia
  • Glacier National Park, Montana
  • Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, Utah/Arizona
  • Golden Spike National Historical Park, Utah
  • Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona
  • Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming
  • Great Sand Dunes National Park & Preserve, Colorado
  • Guadalupe Mountains National Park, Texas
  • Gulf Islands National Seashore, Florida/Mississippi
  • Haleakalā National Park, Hawaii
  • Harpers Ferry National Historical Park, West Virginia/Virginia/Maryland
  • Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park, Hawaii
  • Home of Franklin D. Roosevelt National Historic Site, New York
  • Hovenweep National Monument, Colorado/Utah
  • Isle Royale National Park, Michigan
  • James A. Garfield National Historic Site, Ohio
  • Joshua Tree National Park, California
  • Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park, Georgia
  • Lake Mead National Recreation Area, Nevada/Arizona
  • Lassen Volcanic National Park, California
  • Lava Beds National Monument, California
  • Lewis and Clark National Historical Park, Oregon/Washington
  • Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument, Montana
  • Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado
  • Montezuma Castle National Monument, Arizona
  • Mount Rainier National Park, Washington
  • Muir Woods National Monument, California
  • Natural Bridges National Monument, Utah
  • Olympic National Park, Washington
  • Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, Arizona
  • Padre Island National Seashore, Texas
  • Pea Ridge National Military Park, Arkansas
  • Perry's Victory & International Peace Memorial, Ohio
  • Petrified Forest National Park, Arizona
  • Pinnacles National Park, California
  • Pipe Spring National Monument, Arizona
  • Pipestone National Monument, Minnesota
  • Prince William Forest Park, Virginia
  • Pu'uhonua o Hōnaunau National Historical Park, Hawaii
  • Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado
  • Sagamore Hill National Historic Site, New York
  • Saguaro National Park, Arizona
  • Saint-Gaudens National Historical Park, New Hampshire
  • San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park, California
  • San Juan National Historic Site, Puerto Rico
  • Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks, California
  • Shenandoah National Park, Virginia
  • Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, Michigan
  • Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument, Arizona
  • Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota
  • Thomas Edison National Historical Park, New Jersey
  • Tonto National Monument, Arizona
  • Tumacácori National Historical Park, Arizona
  • Tuzigoot National Monument, Arizona
  • Valles Caldera National Preserve, New Mexico
  • Vanderbilt Mansion National Historic Site, New York
  • Vicksburg National Military Park, Mississippi/Louisiana
  • Walnut Canyon National Monument, Arizona
  • Whiskeytown National Recreation Area, California
  • White Sands National Park, New Mexico
  • Wilson's Creek National Battlefield, Missouri
  • Wright Brothers National Memorial, North Carolina
  • Wupatki National Monument, Arizona
  • Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming/Idaho/Montana
  • Yosemite National Park, California
  • Zion National Park, Utah

[h/t USA Today]

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER