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I shopped at Home Depot and Lowe's for Halloween decorations, and I'd return to the more expensive store

A Halloween decoration display inside a Lowe's store.
The Halloween section of Lowe's.Amanda Krause/Insider
  • Home Depot and Lowe's are the top two stores when it comes to outdoor Halloween decor.

  • I shopped at both to see which has better offerings this spooky season.

  • Both are worth checking out, in my opinion, but I think Lowe's is ultimately superior.

If there's one thing I love to do in the fall, it's shop for Halloween decorations. This year, I visited Lowe's and Home Depot to see which store had better options.

Reporter Amanda Krause at Home Depot's Halloween section.
I'm a big Halloween fan, so naturally I had to visit Home Depot and Lowe's for decorations.Amanda Krause/Insider

Both have become popular Halloween shopping spots in recent years, partially as a result of the 12-foot-tall skeleton first sold by Home Depot in 2020.

After the massive decoration went viral, Lowe's introduced a giant mummy in 2022 and a 13-foot animated Jack Skellington this year.

The two stores have been competing ever since to deliver the best outdoor decor — giant animatronics and otherwise.

So, to kick off spooky season, I visited both Lowe's and Home Depot to see which had better offerings. In my opinion, the winner was clear.

I first visited Lowe's, where I found an expansive Halloween display near the gardening section.

The 2023 Halloween section at a Lowe's store.
The Halloween section at Lowe's was super easy to find.Amanda Krause/Insider

It made sense to me that Halloween decor was displayed here, as most of the items available are meant for outdoor use.

It also meant the section was right near one of the store's entrances, which made it easy to find.

The first thing I noticed was a huge wall of inflatable, light-up, and animatronic decorations — most of which were on display.

Halloween decorations at Lowe's on September 12, 2023.
This display was massive, with dozens of options to choose from.Amanda Krause/Insider

I loved how you could see the actual size of these decorations, with clear price tags stating how much each cost.

Most of the inflatables depicted licensed characters like Chucky and Stitch, while the light-up and animatronic decorations were more generic Halloween designs, like jack-o'-lanterns and ghosts.

Boxes of those decorations were shelved beneath the displays, making it easy to find any you might want to buy.

Halloween decorations at Lowe's on September 12, 2023.
Aside from a Stitch inflatable, most decorations on this wall were in stock.Amanda Krause/Insider

Almost every decoration on this wall was in stock when I visited, which I appreciated.

The smaller inflatables retailed around $35, which I felt was a fair price, and the larger ones cost upwards of $130.

Next I browsed the animatronics, which were on display in the middle of the floor.

Halloween animatronics at Lowe's on September 12, 2023.
I quickly noticed that the displays were built on top of pallets, making them look larger.Amanda Krause/Insider

The animatronics were pretty impressive, though I noticed that they were all displayed on top of pallets, making them look a bit larger than they actually were.

Most of the animatronics also had "Try Me" buttons attached to them, which allowed shoppers to see the decorations in action if they wanted.

There was one set, however — two reaper-esque creatures with instruments — that moved and played a rendition of "I Love Rock 'N' Roll" nonstop. I had only been shopping for a few minutes when I heard the song for what felt like the 10th time in a row, much to my dismay.

Buying the massive decorations at Lowe's seemed pretty convenient.

Animatronic boxes at Lowe's on September 12, 2023.
It wasn't hard to find each animatronic, as they were stacked neatly behind each display.Amanda Krause/Insider

Boxes of each animatronic were stacked behind the displays, allowing shoppers to load their carts with any they wanted to buy.

Prices for these pieces ranged between $199 and $348 each. Though the prices were steep, the animatronics were impressive, in my opinion.

I especially appreciated the signs on each one.

A Halloween decoration at Lowe's on September 12, 2023.
There were only three of this animatronic left at the Lowe's store I visited.Amanda Krause/Insider

Not only were there clear price tags on each decoration, but some also had notes listing how many of that specific piece were left in store.

Eventually, I moved on to check out the smaller Halloween decorations available.

Halloween decorations at Lowe's on September 12, 2023.
Immediately, I noticed pillows, fake spider webs, and massive spiders.Amanda Krause/Insider

There were pillows priced around $17 — not far off from what you'd pay at stores like Home Goods — and giant packs of fake spiderwebs for $7.

I also noticed $13 garden flags, $22 banners, $2 window clings, and dozens of other items. I thought some items were fairly priced and others a bit high, but the range of decor was so impressive that I knew most shoppers could find something in their budget.

As a big fan of classic horror movies, I appreciated the licensed decor section.

Licensed Halloween merchandise at Lowe's on September 12, 2023.
As a big fan of "It," I wanted to buy all of the Pennywise merchandise.Amanda Krause/Insider

There were "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" lights for $25, a Ghost Face door decoration for $20, and even a life-size Pennywise animatronic for $239.

I frequently shop at Spirit Halloween, and I know how often they sell out of merchandise from popular movies. So I was thrilled to learn that I could find similar items at Lowe's.

And there were options for Disney fans, too.

Decorations from "Haunted Mansion" at Lowe's on September 12, 2023.
Fans of Disney's "Haunted Mansion" will recognize this character from the popular ride.Amanda Krause/Insider

In addition to inflatable Mickey Mouse decorations and fall-themed Disney flags, there were also a good number of "Haunted Mansion" themed items.

Inspired by the Disney theme park ride — not the 2023 movie — there was an animatronic of a popular character, spooky lights, plush toys, and more.

As a huge fan of the franchise, I loved that I could shop for these items so far away from any Disney park.

After shopping for a while, it was time to visit Home Depot. Again, I found the store's Halloween decor near its gardening section.

Inside a Home Depot store on September 12, 2023.
You couldn't miss the Halloween section at Home Depot.Amanda Krause/Insider

After walking through Home Depot's Garden Center, I entered the store and found the Halloween section immediately. With massive animatronics on display, it was hard to miss.

Immediately, I could tell that Home Depot offered more animatronics in stores than Lowe's.

Animatronics at Home Depot on September 12, 2023.
Shoppers could test these animatronics by stepping on the "Try Me" buttons.Amanda Krause/Insider

Whereas Lowe's had one main animatronic display, Home Depot had two.

The latter store's options were also noticeably bigger, the "Try Me" buttons were neatly arranged on the floor, and the prices were lower.

Small animatronics cost around $90 and most larger ones were priced at $249.

The most impressive decoration by far was the 13-foot Jack Skellington animatronic.

The Jack Skellington animatronic at Home Depot on September 12, 2023.
It's a pricey decoration at $399, but probably worth every penny to fans of the movie.Amanda Krause/Insider

Not only was the $399 decoration massive, but when you pressed the "Try Me" button it also moved smoothly, talked, and sang.

I'm not a huge fan of "The Nightmare Before Christmas," but there was no denying that it was one of the coolest Halloween decorations I've seen in stores this year.

If you wanted to buy the animatronics, however, you seemingly needed to ask an employee for help.

Halloween decorations at Home Depot on September 12, 2023.
Only a few animatronics were stocked on shelves in the Halloween section.Amanda Krause/Insider

At the store I shopped in, I noticed a few animatronic boxes lined against the floor and wall. Most of the bigger pieces like Jack Skellington, however, weren't there, meaning you'd need an employee to retrieve them from the stock room for you.

In an email sent to Insider, a representative for Home Depot said that "while it varies by store location," Halloween and holiday animatronics are typically "stocked in the aisles for shoppers to load into their own carts, as available."

"Of course, our associates are always there to help, should you need it!" they added.

The store's inflatable display left something to be desired.

Halloween decorations at Home Depot on September 12, 2023.
I found myself wishing I could see more of Home Depot's inflatable decorations.Amanda Krause/Insider

There were a few generic inflatable decorations displayed against one wall and licensed Disney ones in another section. Still, compared to Lowe's, it seemed like Home Depot wasn't selling as many.

At the store I visited, there were also a few in boxes with no displays, which was disappointing since you couldn't tell exactly how big they were or what they looked like inflated.

"We display select inflatables at Home Depot locations, but this does not encapsulate our entire, wide-ranging collection, which can be found online," a store representative told Insider. "To note, there are many Halloween items only available online."

Prices, however, were the same, with most small ones costing around $35 and larger ones priced around $150.

So did the smaller decorations. I visited in mid-September and lots of items were already sold out.

Halloween decorations at Home Depot on September 12, 2023.
This pumpkin section was especially scarce.Amanda Krause/Insider

I was drawn to a shelf of pre-made jack-o'-lanterns priced upwards of $15, as some of the designs were really unique.

But I quickly noticed tons of empty spots on the shelves, and was a little disappointed that I may have missed out on the coolest ones.

But out of the available items, there were some really unique decorations.

Halloween decorations at Home Depot on September 12, 2023.
I was surprised by how high quality these statues were.Amanda Krause/Insider

I particularly loved a statue that was a mix of a bear, pumpkin, and skeleton. The decoration was unique and good quality for only $39.98, so I considered buying it.

Home Depot's prices seemed a bit cheaper than those at Lowe's.

Halloween decorations at Home Depot on September 12, 2023.
I thought these outdoor welcome mats were a bargain.Amanda Krause/Insider

Welcome mats were priced at $12.98, lighted decorations cost around $25, and fake animal skeletons cost approximately $13 — prices that I thought were a bargain in many cases.

Plus, I noticed that some basic decor was cheaper at Home Depot. Wooden signs, for example, were around $25 at Lowe's but $13 at Home Depot.

But ultimately, I preferred shopping for Halloween decor at Lowe's and would return there in the future.

Halloween decorations at Lowe's on September 12, 2023.
I'd recommend shopping at both stores, but Lowe's had superior decorations.Amanda Krause/Insider

I truly enjoyed shopping for Halloween decorations at both stores and would return in the future. Still, I thought there was a better variety of Halloween items at Lowe's.

Sure, some things were slightly more expensive there. But the decor seemed to be of high quality and the designs stood out from decorations sold at other stores.

Home Depot did have Lowe's beat when it came to animatronics, in my opinion, but even then, there were a few unique ones at Lowe's that really stood out to me, like the realistic Pennywise.

With more than a month to go until Halloween, I'll probably visit both stores again. But if I get caught up in spooky festivities and only have time to shop at one, it'll be Lowe's.

Read the original article on Insider