If you're a fan of Halloween, you may have some pretty sizeable (and expensive) decorations that need to head into storage once November rolls around. While a little outdoor exposure tends to make some Halloween decorations more creepy and authentic, you want to make sure that you pack everything up right before you put your ghosts and ghouls and zombie vampires away for the season. That way, they won't end up too damaged to use next year. Here is a good guide to follow.
Wipe everything down with an all-purpose cleaner and dry them off.
For the most part, weather-worn items just look even better every subsequent season, but mold is another issue. Left unchecked, a little bit of moisture left over can spread from one decoration to the next in your storage unit, eating into fabrics and wooden items and causing the sort of decay that will shorten your decorations' lifespans. Take a general, all-purpose cleaner to the surface of all of your decorations and wash them down with a soft cloth. Because of the temperatures outside and the seasonal weather, it's best to bring any items made of cloth or wood inside to thoroughly dry out before you tuck items into storage (even if that does mean looking at the zombie bride and groom or a vampire coffin in the dining room for a few days).
In addition, to fight mold, do not wrap your decorations in plastic. This is a common mistake. Plastic wrap can actually trap moisture inside with your items and create the perfect atmosphere for mold growth. If you're worried about things getting dusty in storage, loosely drape them with clean cotton sheets that allow moisture to evaporate.
Make sure that animatronic displays are given a little extra care.
If you have any animatronic items—like ghosts that moan or dancing skeleton bands—you need to make sure that you open them up and remove any batteries before they go into storage. A battery that leaks or rusts over the summer will ruin it's functionality for sure. If any of them run on electric, invest in a pack of zip ties and bundle the cords up in a roll so that they don't get tangled or pulled while you are moving them in and out of your vehicle and the storage unit. That can end up causing a lose wire that makes the display non-functional next year.
If the animatronics come apart, you can either break them down for more compact storage (especially if you have the original boxes) or you can store them in one piece to make it easier to put up next year. It's strictly a matter of personal preference.
Give your inflatables the most attention.
Inflatable decorations are probably the hardest to put into storage because they require the most work to get ready. Keep in mind that the inflatables are probably pretty dirty by the time you go to wrap up the seasonal decor. The easiest way to clean them is to lay them on a dry, swept surface (like a driveway) and hose them down while they're still inflated. That way it's easier to see any dirt you might otherwise miss. Make sure that you pick a clear, dry day for the job, because you'll need to let them sit for a few hours to dry. Wiping them off with a soft cloth can also help hurry the process along.
Once the inflatable is dry, unplug the adapter and let the decoration deflate. Once it's empty of air, you can fold the decoration up into a smaller package and put it away either in the original box it came in or a cardboard storage box. That will protect it from getting an accidental puncture while it's in storage.
If you follow these tips, your Halloween decor should last you for many spooky seasons to come!