It’s almost time for Halloween, and you know what that means: your lawn will suddenly become a focal point for the entire neighborhood. Along with Christmas, many households go all-out when decorating their lawns for Halloween. So how do you prevent any wayward trick-or-treaters from spiriting your yard decorations away? We have a few suggestions.
Think Like a Thief
This idea is simple: if you think like a thief, you can prevent thieves from taking your stuff. Most people attempting to steal from your yard will not be professionals. They will be looking for an easy heist. But there are a few notable differences between someone trying to steal something small like a yard sign and someone trying to steal your holiday decorations.
The most obvious difference here is money. Some Halloween decorations are expensive. For example, some Halloween inflatables can cost upwards of 200 dollars! The people who steal them are probably looking to make a quick buck by reselling them online. The level of planning and professionalism will vary with your thief, but be extra secure, just in case.
The other difference is that it’s easy to plan the theft of a holiday decoration that will be on display yearly. Someone could see your decoration one year and plot to steal it the next. The element of surprise is important. You may need to change tactics if you had your lawn decorations stolen before.
Is a Fence Enough?
If you have a fence around your yard, you might think your decorations are safe. They are not. Determined thieves will jump the fence, cut the locks, and do whatever they need to if they have planned to steal your stuff. These decorations are worth hundreds of dollars, and some people have been waiting for the right time to strike.
If fences do not work, what does work? Here are a few tried and true methods.
Best ways to Secure lawn decoration
Get a Security System
Sometimes, the mere presence of things like security signs and cameras can be enough to deter a thief. Most novice thieves won’t gamble on stealing something out of your yard if there’s a chance they might get caught. In the case of yard signs, the risk VS reward is clear: it is not worth going to jail for a piece of plastic. Even a fake camera or sign may be enough to scare them off.
But yard décor is different. There is more money on the line, and those decorations are tempting to more people than any yard sign. As cost-effective as it is to get a cheap “decoy” sign or camera, the thieves after your yard decorations are going to be more skilled and motivated than the people who go after yard signs.
If you get a security system, be sure that the signs and cameras are visible—even at night. It’s worth it to protect hundreds of dollars in decorations.
Weigh/Tie/Tape It Down
If you can, weigh your yard decorations down. When you buy your décor, be sure to see how much it weighs; if you have trouble lifting it, a thief will probably have a hard time getting away with it.
Failing that, tie your decorations down with chains, bolts, or invisible strings. Zip-ties and lawn stakes are other easy-to-get options. Strings of lights can be taped down to make them harder to run away with. Some of these methods make your decorations heavier and tether them to your yard.
Lock Your Lights
Locking extension cords are a great way to stop people from taking decorations that require electricity. These cords “lock” with the press of a switch so that the machine they are attached to does not unplug itself in the middle of a job. You may already have one to prevent your lawnmower and other outdoor power equipment from becoming unplugged as you work.
Motion-activated lights are a great way to keep thieves away from your decorations. Even though the rewards for stealing yard decorations can be great, the risks include up to 5 years in jail. To all but the most skilled thieves, the prospect of getting caught is enough to keep them off of your lawn.
Expensive Up Front
Another piece of general yard thief-proofing advice also applies: if you keep something close to your house, people are less likely to steal it. They will not risk stealing things the closer they are to your front door. Any noise could alert you to their presence. No matter how amazing your décor is, it is probably not worth 5 years of jail time.
There are ways that you can have your lawn and decorate it, too. It is possible to strategically decorate your yard so that cheaper things are farther away from your house and more expensive things are closer to your front door. This arrangement can be enough to make thieves re-assess their plans to steal your pricey decorations.
We mentioned earlier that people often try to steal yard decorations and sell them for a quick buck online. But what if you had a decoration that was so distinct that it would hurt its market value? Or what if it had your name on it? Personalization is easy enough for small things like Christmas stockings and pumpkins, but what about larger decorations?
If you make your own yard decorations, make that fact known. Hide your signature on the back, or someplace only you would know to look. If you can get neighbors to attest that the work is yours, or you can otherwise prove that your piece was stolen, thieves won’t try to steal from you again.
But even if you do not DIY, just writing your name on your decorations can diminish their market value. They aren’t mint condition after that, and people might not buy something with someone else’s name on it. At a minimum, you know where you signed your name, which will allow you to identify the decoration if it gets resold.
The easier it is for you to say, “this is mine and I can prove it,” the less likely a thief is to resell it. And if someone tries to sell, say, an inflatable pumpkin with the name “Joe” visible on the base, that limits their buyers to people named Joe. If the money they were going to make from your decoration goes out the window, they will not chase after it.
If you are both technologically savvy and willing to invest in them, tracking devices can be a way to make sure that you know where your yard decorations are at all times. Tile is one of the easiest brands to find on the market. It is one of the easiest ways to track other easily lost items with your phone as well, so that alone may make it a worthy investment.
Halloween is the time to find creative ways to scare people. Motion-activated decorations are everywhere. Regular fences won’t work, but Halloween is an excellent time to put up something intimidating like barbed wire. Coat your signs in messy things like grease, glitter, or petroleum jelly. Any way you can think of to surprise would-be thieves might be a good one. Remember: if they have time to plan a yard heist, you have time to plan against them.
Yard decorations are a big part of Halloween (and other holidays) for many households. People spend thousands to turn their front lawns into spectacles. But some people may want a piece of that spectacle for themselves, or to make a small fortune online. It is up to you to make sure nobody takes your hard-earned, carefully-arranged decorations.
Your yard decorations are worth a mint. Protect them like the treasures they are. Hopefully, this article has given you some ideas for guarding your yard.