Nothing says the holiday season is upon us like yard inflatables. While Christmas was once the main event for outdoor decor, Halloween is quickly surpassing December as the top time to adorn your lawns with seasonal elements—and inflatable decorations (think larger-than-life blow-up ghosts, monsters, and more) are on the rise as a must-have during this spooky time of year.
But what do you do with your inflatable holiday decorations in the off-season? And are there ways to preserve them for use year after year? We turned to the experts to get their advice for making the most of those yard inflatables.
Meet the Expert
Follow the Instructions
“Deflating and storing Halloween inflatables isn’t as tricky as it may seem,” notes Lance Allen, decorative holiday merchant at The Home Depot. “Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for a step-by-step guide, but generally, unplugging the airblown inflatables and opening the zipper will deflate them.”
Clean Before You Store
"Make sure your inflatable is clean, and let it air dry thoroughly before storing it,” says Allen. “We recommend you wipe it clean with a damp cloth, such as an all-purpose cleaning cloth, then check the manufacturer’s instructions to see if you should close any zippers or vents before you put your decoration away.”
Pack Them up Nice and Tight
“I always recommend using a storage bin with a lid that fits snugly,” Allen says. “Put the manual and any extra parts in small bags and add them to the bin, as well. Label the bin so you won’t forget what’s inside, and keep it in a cool, dry location. The next time you take out the inflatable, check again for tears, rips, or holes and, if there are any, repair them before using it again.”
If you’re not sure what size container you’ll need, Allen says, “A good rule of thumb for determining the amount of storage space needed for your inflatables is their original box!” You can also take the original box and add it to a larger, sealable storage container if you'd like to keep the inflatable in its original packaging. (This can also help when it's time to set everything up again next year, as you'll know what's in each box at a glance.)
Laura Turton, the organization editor of the storage company MakeSpace, says, “Take smooth items, like old towels or unwanted clothes, and place them between objects in the [storage] bin. This will prevent unneeded friction and holes in your inflatables, [and] protect the contents from accidental damage or wear.”
Roll Them up (Don’t Fold!)
“Rolling will help make the most space for inflatables to fit in a bin while minimizing wrinkles and unnecessary wear and tear,” Turton says. “The more carefully they’re stored, the longer they stay in good condition. Remove dust and dirt before storing!”
Store Like With Like
“Similar items packed in the same bin will make it easier to find the items you’re looking for,” Turton notes. “When you’re ready to remove them from the bin, they’ll all be in the same spot. No more digging through all your seasonal decorations for the inflatable you’re looking for. By keeping items packed together, you’ve created a quick one-stop-shop for your essentials.”
Inspect Before Use
“Before using and reusing, inspect the product carefully,” advises Allen. “Discard any products that have cuts, damage, frayed wire insulation or cords, cracks in the socket enclosures, loose connections, or exposed copper wire. And if you accidentally tear your inflatable throughout the years, rips can be sewn by hand (no special thread is required) or taped with clear packing tape to extend its lifespan. Applying tape from the inside of the inflatable will be less noticeable.”
Don’t Expect a One-and-Done Experience
“The Home Depot’s colorful inflatables are larger than life and often come pre-lit with energy-efficient LED lights, which is why I love them for adding a long-lasting, durable, and festive staple to your overall Halloween theme year after year,” says Allen.
Shop the Sales with Confidence
“If you find an on-sale inflatable near the end of the season, you can know that you’re getting a great deal on a quality product that was designed to last and bring joy to your family, trick-or-treaters, friends, and neighbors for many Halloween seasons to come,” says Allen. “Really the only thing you should worry about is making sure you store it with your other Halloween products, so you can find them for the next season.”
There are even a few things you can consider when designing and preparing your display once your inflatables are unpacked. A little careful planning can help preserve your inflatables even more, and even while they're in use.
“Leave enough space between your inflatables so that they won't bump into each other if they sway in the wind,” says Allen. “Keep them away from tree branches or anything else that could catch, snag, or tear their fabric shells. If you live in an extremely windy location or have harder ground to anchor into, I also recommending heavy-duty anchor stakes to secure your inflatables.”
But most importantly, enjoy them. As Allen tells us, “with proper care and storage, inflatables can last a lifetime!”