Digital Decorating 101: Easy TV Displays

September 29, 2015 | Posted in How-to

Halloween’s only about a month away, which means that you’re probably already thinking about decorating for the big night. Whether you’re planning on freaking out your friends by throwing the party to end all parties or if you’re looking to do something special for the neighborhood trick-or-treaters, digital decorations are an amazingly simple way to get stunning results.  

To help get your creative juices flowing, we’ve put together a series of easy-to-follow decorating guides that will show you how to pull off professional-looking effects in no time.

Today we’ll focus on using something that most people already own (and often overlook) – a TV!

Instant, eye-catching displays

When you’re thinking about decorating, don’t let those screens go to waste! All of our digital decorations have a TV display mode, which allows you to transform televisions and monitors of any size into eye-catching props with no extra steps – just pop the DVD into your DVD player (or set up a digital playlist on your computer) and you’re good to go!

If you’re looking to create fun effects with no extra work, here are a few of our favorite ways to display digital decorations on different types of screens.

Classic horror…with a twist

TVs and monitors can be used to show off any of our digital decorations, but are especially great for displaying ones that blend our custom effects with clips from classic horror movies!

Phantasms, Creepy Crawlies 2, and the Triple Thrill Pack all contain scenes that feature footage from familiar classics – with an extra spooky AtmosFX twist. We’ve taken a sampling of recognizable scenes and added our own flavor of scares that can be left to play on their own or, if you’d like to take a more active role in scaring your guests, triggered with a remote control.

Your unsuspecting friends will think that you’re playing a movie in the background – until a demon or ghost suddenly rips through the scene or spiders start pouring through the screen!

Haunt your TV with poltergeists with 'Terrorvision' from the Triple Thrill Pack (left) or 'Sinister Spinster' from Phantasms (right)

Infest any screen with crawling spiders by displaying 'Creepy Spiders' from Creepy Crawlies 2

Open a window to another world

If you happen to have a wall-mounted TV, you can take your decorating a step further by transforming your screen into a digital window. Several of our digital decorations include scenes with built-in window frames, which creates an illusion of looking outside, into another room, or even to another world!

Create instant windows by displaying decorations with built-in digital window frames like Vampire Scenes from Tricks and Treats (left) or Unexpected Guests from Zombie Invasion! (right)

Create a digital gallery

Wall-mounted TVs are also great for displaying any of the creepy animated paintings from UnLiving Portraits – especially if your mount allows you to rotate your television into a vertical position! Each scene includes built-in digital frame options for both vertical and horizontal displays, so all you’ll need to do is select your portrait, choose the framed option, and pick your desired orientation from the easy-to-use DVD menu. 

Or, for an instant gallery effect, try flipping your main TV to display a vertical portrait, then set up a smaller monitor on a crate or shelf next to it and use that secondary screen to display a horizontal portrait.

Frame your TV

If you’re looking to really take your decorating to the next level, buying (or building) a simple frame for your TV or monitor is a great way to  transform your TV or monitor into a beautiful, unique Halloween prop. With a little craftiness, you can turn any screen into an intricately framed haunted portrait or a realistic-looking window.

A great use of UnLiving Portraits inside of a custom frame, created by AtmosFX fan Ryla Raven

Depending on the size of your TV, you may be able to purchase a pre-made frame from a craft store, framing shop or thrift store. Or, if your display is too large, you can also pick up some inexpensive wall trim or window molding from your local hardware store and cut it to size.

Once you’ve built the frame, you can customize it to fit the look you’re going for. Distress it with paint or wood stain to create an antique portrait look, or add a grid made of wood or foam strips to simulate window panes for a creepy cabin window vibe.

Transform your house into a horror movie with a simple custom frame and a scene from Night Stalkers.

When the frame is dry, you can attach it to the front of your TV with velcro strips (using felt to protect the surface from scratches).

To complete the illusion, consider adding an inexpensive curtain rod and sheer curtains to your new display. For an all-in-one solution, you can attach a light-weight rod directly to your frame. Or, for a more realistic window effect, attach the rod hardware to your wall with small screws or removable hanging strips and pull the curtain in front of the screen.

Bring the horde to any room by adding curtains to a framed TV display of Zombie Invasion!

TV Hollusion Displays

Some of our digital decorations also include a “Hollusion” display mode, which displays illuminated characters against a solid black background. While this mode was designed for creating lifelike projection effects (which we’ll cover in a future article), it also works fantastic for TV and monitor displays.

To create a realistic hologram effect using your TV or monitor, drape a thin black cloth over the screen. (If you happen to already own our Hollusion Projection Material, you can experiment with it to see what kind of results you get, but for television displays, we recommend using a darker fabric for the best effect). When your room is dark, the cloth will make your TV frame “disappear”, but the digital scene will still glow through the fabric. This gives the illusion of characters materializing, floating and disappearing from sight – without the use of a projector!

Ghostly Apparitions’ ‘Head of the House’ comes alive in Hollusion mode.

This effect is especially fun to use for nighttime trick-or-treating! For the best results, set your TV inside on your windowsill or on a table positioned in front of a porch window with the screen facing out. Pull your curtains or blinds close to the frame to prevent light from leaking from the inside of your house (if light is still showing through, consider draping an extra set of blackout curtains over your curtain rod, sandwiching your TV between your regular curtains and the additional dark layer).

Now, set your candy bowl on an outdoor table directly in front of the display and prepare for scares! And don’t forget that many of our scenes include a “startle” effect that allows you to use your remote control to trigger when ghosts appear. For an extra hands-on approach, keep an eye out for trick-or-treaters and use this option to make your candy-seekers jump out of their skin!

Guard the candy bowl on your front porch with a ghoulish ghost from Ghostly Apparitions.

If you’re looking for a less scary display, don’t worry – we have plenty of family-friendly decorations that are great for young visitors! Our singing pumpkins from Jack-O’-Lantern Jamboree are a big hit with the kids, and our singing witch from Witching Hour is sure to make any trick-or-treater smile.

As you can see, you don’t need much to get started with digital decorations! With a little creativity, you’ll have your guests screaming and laughing in no time.

Have you used your TV or monitor to display our digital decorations in a cool way? We’d love to see what you did! Post a link to your photos or videos in the comments below, or send them to us at


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