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Homemade Halloween: Celebrating Halloween on a Budget

Updated on November 19, 2015

Halloween. While buying props is fun, it can take its toll on one’s wallet. With just a bit of creativity, you can easily create your own at much less cost – and they’ll likely be a lot more authentic too. Most of what you find in the shops is made of cheap plastic anyway.

This article will delve in to ways that you can celebration Halloween without breaking the bank – perfect for if you are one of those latecomers, and Halloween is nearly upon us, and you can’t find anything worthwhile in the shops because they’re all sold out of props and decorations. Or maybe you’re a spendthrift like me.

A hangman’s noose

If you have some spare rope or cord lying around, you could make a hangman’s noose, maybe even a few, and hang them around. If you don’t have rope, you could go for cables or even use shoelaces. But rope works best, because it’s more authentic. To the right is a video tutorial on how to tie hangman’s knot.



Having candles around a darkened house lends itself to a spookier atmosphere than if it were lit up by electric light sources. You can use candelabras and even candle-lit lanterns as well. Of course, jack-o-lanterns are best, except not all countries have pumpkins, or they might not be in season depending on where you live. In this case you could substitute a butternut squash. Something I've seen locally is people using milk bottles and carving them up like a pumpkin and placing a candle inside -- very ingenious. Instead of a boring old candle holder, you could use an old drinking glass or perhaps even a vase if it's a very tall candle.

Fake blood

You don’t have to spend much money on making fake blood. One can make fake blood out of stuff lying around the house, and it can even be edible too. A bit of water with red food colouring and maybe a touch of flour or corn starch to thicken it and lighten the colour is simple to do. One can go further and make edible blood punch and puddings – even jelly. The main ingredients include the ones that I listed above, blue food colouring (to make it darker if needed) and other things as a base, like tomato sauce, syrup, honey, etc.

Bottles with spooky labels

To add a scary touch to your Halloween meal, you could have bottles and other containers with spooky labels on them. You can design labels yourself or download and print some made by others.

Garage tools and kitchen utensils

No scary props you say? Rubbish. Take a look at your garage, shed, or basement. there’s bound to be a few scary things that could contribute to the overall mood. Imagine a murder scene with an axe, steak knives, or even a hammer, complete with plenty of fake blood -- just be careful because it might stain. Don't use it on carpet!

Cut-out bats, signs and other decorations

Try to get a hold of some stiff paper or cardboard. It can be any colour, but white and especially black will work best in most cases. Then you can draw or trace the basic shape of a bat, rat or another creepy creature on it, and cut it out to stick on walls, ceilings and doors. You can even design some yourself on your PC and print them out, or download ready-made designs from the internet to save a lot of time. Sprinkle some sparkly glitter on it if you want it to stick out more or show up at night when it reflects the light.

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Anyone care for a lemon meringue?
Anyone care for a lemon meringue?
Anyone care for a lemon meringue? | Source

Burned bits of paper

Do you remember years ago at school making burned pieces of parchment for projects, usually involving pirates and lost treasure? You can do that here too. Make a bit of paper with some gobbledygook on it, or even write down some Halloween-themed jokes, or have menus for you and your family and/or guests so they know what’s for dinner – in this case a starter of blood soup, sheep’s head for the main course, and jellied eyes for desert (don't forget some disgusting hors d'oeuvres to go with it). All you need to age the paper is tea bags, and if you want to singe it a bit, simply use a candle. Wetting the paper a bit with the teabag before lighting the corners will stop it from catching alight and burning too quickly.

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Old books

Old books can be a bit spooky. Think of something creepy like a medical dictionary covered in cobwebs or dust. Or maybe scatter some famous horror novels on the coffee table. Don’t blow the dust off of them if there is any – it adds a bit of character, although it might just prove to your guests that it's just for show and you haven't read them!

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There are two things that could be meant by this. One is that you could design your own Halloween-themed greetings cards, or download freely available ones and print them out. You can display them on your mantelpiece or put them on a table where people can see them.

The second idea is that if you have playing cards lying around, you can use those to create some ambiance. For instance, on the one surface, I put the legendary “Dead Man’s Hand” which is said to be comprised of two black suit (spades and clubs) 8s and aces, along with a fifth card, which in my case happens to be the Queen of Hearts, although some say it's a card belonging to the diamond suit. Tarot cards are the best though if you have them, perhaps even with a crystal ball! If nothing else it makes for a good conversation piece.

Repurpose Christmas decorations

One could have a tree as an attraction, but this would be a Halloween tree and not a Christmas tree. Ideally it would be bare, which isn’t hard to find if you live in the Northern hemisphere. On it you could hang various adornments, including some repurposed Christmas decorations if it suits you. Baubles that are colours like orange (pumpkins), blues, purples, light greens, yellows and even black would look best in my opinion. Reds, dark greens, gold, and silver are to be avoided because they're too Christmassy. Dark or cold colours would work best in general. From the tree you could hang some of those hangman's nooses!

Make your own Halloweed (sic) wreaths and displays

If you’re lucky (or unlucky) enough to have a large amount of foliage in your garden, you could take some ivy vines or other creepers and put them around your doors and windows. Maybe even intertwine them between burglar bars to really make the place look abandoned. Take some weeds and put them in vase instead of flowers to display on your table.

Yes I let him out... eventually.
Yes I let him out... eventually. | Source

Create your own creepy zoo display

Catch some insects, flies, spiders, geckos and other creepy crawlies and put them in see-through plastic or glass containers (make sure to put some small little holes as needed in there for them to breathe) for those who are brave enough to ogle. After hiring them out for the night, just remember to set them free later.

If you have a pet snake, this is his or her time to shine, as long as it is reasonably docile. Just don't bring it out if there are babies or very small children around.


What's that, your DVD collection doesn't contain horror movies, and there's absolutely nothing on TV worth watching?

For entertainment, look no further than YouTube. There are many public domain movies that fall in to the horror genre, and are available at official channels on YouTube belonging to the likes of CineNet, which provide classic films to watch – free of charge and completely legal. So one could watch George A. Romero’s classic Night Of The Living Dead (1968) for instance.


Those are thirteen ways I've been able to think up that you can celebrate Halloween without breaking the bank on buying cheap plastic props and other decorations, and instead you can have a much creepier and authentic Halloween house. You'll be the talk of the town. Just don't be surprised if nobody ever comes round to your place again!


© 2013 Anti-Valentine


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