The cool wisp of fall is on its way in to the Midwest and with it, Halloween. While many choose to celebrate All Hallows' Eve, not everyone takes the same approach to Halloween decorations. One certain thing, Chicago is ripe with places to shop for transforming your spooky abode but it all depends on how scary or sophisticated you want to be in your presentation.

Halloween outdoor decorations

If you are looking to scare away trick-or-treaters, Halloween Express is your one-stop shop for outdoor Halloween props, gory accessories, body parts and nightmare-inducing clowns.

Move your Halloween scare factor up a notch, with frightening old portraits that, at first glance, look like a historic photograph of an ancestor. In an instant, the image transforms into a ghoulish site, leaving guests looking for a stronger beverage to erase the memory of the hair-raising snap shot.

Severed heads, Halloween-themed window posters, and the Fungus Amoungus Rocking Corpse brings the realistic side of Halloween to life as the semi-grisly detail of Halloween Express’ inventory knows no bounds.

Lighting is key to darken the mood at Halloween and strobe lights, hanging cauldrons and everything glow-in-the-dark can be found at Halloween Express.

Homemade Halloween decorations

While finding seasonal treasures at Goodwill and The Salvation Army are hit or miss, making the trip to your nearest friendly repurpose shop is a fantastic idea this time of year. The sky is the limit when it comes to donations of home décor and finding items at Goodwill and The Salvation Army is bound to inspire a way to outfit your home for Halloween. Goodwill has a Halloween Pinterest board filled with DIY ideas based on donations.

Still stuck for inspiration? Create from scratch or buy assembled, the variety of Halloween décor at Hobby Lobby is chock-full of anything your imagination can conjure. Cast iron keys, home accents, candy corn satin ribbon, Halloween fabric, and Martha Stewart Jack-o-Lantern Punch All Over Page will get any creative started on multiple projects. Include the kids in the decorating by creating a Halloween accent together, weaving fall striped mesh ribbon onto a large grapevine topiary for your mantle.

Natural Halloween decorations

Kuipers Family Farm in west suburban Maple Park is a great way to stock up on natural décor like fresh pumpkins, corn stalks, and barrels of hay for your outdoor Halloween scene. Pick-your-own or select from a huge variety of pumpkins and gourds from the Barn Store. Sprinkled among the yummy edibles like honey, apple pies and canned goods, is a mixed bag of Halloween décor and items for your home. Hanging skeletons, decorative pumpkins, festive banners, and “Countdown to Halloween” calendars fill the more “harvest-like” themed inventory.

Sophisticated Halloween decor

Only Pottery Barn can make a spooky holiday classy. Known for creating a picture perfect lifestyle from floor to ceiling, Pottery Barn does more for polished décor at Halloween than any other fine home design and furnishing retailer.

For the softer side of Halloween, a pumpkin patch of ceramic, wire and antique mercury glass pumpkins highlight the season and let guests know you are not opposed to Halloween, but prefer a reasonable and toned down version of the day.

On the flip side, if you are into Poe-inspired décor like black crows, dusty books and skeletons, you will enjoy an abundance of decorative Halloween accents for your walls, mantle, entryway and front door.

For the young at heart, “Boo” signs, trick-or-treat banners, and faux fur bats transform any entry way into a festive and spooky place to be. Add illumination by using string lights and boneyard ceramic hurricane lamps to your scene for optimal ambiance.

Looking for a little less spooky and bit more sophisticated décor that can transition easily into another season? Pottery Barn has Moroccan candle sleeves, silver candelabras, and paper mache pumpkin luminaries to bring non-Halloween specific mood lighting to your space.

Dark yet whimsical, the Skeleton Hand Condiment Set, Cauldron Punch Bowl with Ladle and Vampire Cheese Knife Set is destined to bring out the spooky vibe to a late-night soiree.

And let’s not forget the “Day of the Dead” table ware… Napkins, salad plates and table runners depicting replicas of the Mexican Calavera Catrinas are a classic and bold statement for your Halloween get-together.

Whatever emotion you are looking to summon, this year, Chicago retailers are not holding back. From toned down décor to full out gruesome, the only thing missing from your perfect Halloween presentation is the whisper of a snippet from Edgar Allen Poe, “Quoth the Raven, ‘Nevermore.’” – available as wall art via Etsy seller NeverlandDreamDecor.