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How to Decorate for Halloween on a Budget

Updated on August 23, 2017
RachelWesley profile image

Rachel Wesley is an American author and online freelance writer. She writes for several online businesses and has published two books.

There are a lot of Halloween based things that are easily accessible through the internet and any retail store you visit. However, this is about saving money all while bringing out your inner creepy self.

The Cemetery

Halloween is famous for bringing out the spooky side of people and nothing is quite as spooky as a good old fashioned cemetery.

It only stands to reason then that you need to build your own cemetery, but getting all the materials to create one can get pretty costly. There is a way to build your own, make it look ancient and decrepit without spending a lot of money.

Here's what you need:

  • Thick sticks or thin, old wooden boards
  • Twine
  • Styrofoam, broken lug lids, or other easily shapeable objects
  • Grey paint
  • A black permanent marker
  • Large rocks
  • Grave flowers (optional)

Take your sticks or boards whichever you chose, or both if you want, and make a cross out of them. Now, take your twine and wrap it an X pattern where the two pieces touch. This will bind them together and allow you to move them without worrying that they might fall apart. This is also a useful method if you want less clean up afterward.

Now get your styrofoam, lug lid or whatever else you found that will be easy to shape. By easily shapeable I mean that you can use a thick pair of scissors or a carpet knife on it to shape it into a rounded tombstone.

Make a few, at least 3 or 4, painting them with the grey paint if necessary. This will give your Cemetery an authentic look and with the iconic typical tombstone, it will be easily recognizable to anyone looking at it. Grab your black marker and write something on the stones. It doesn't even have to really be that legible, as they are supposed to be very old.

Dig a very small straight line to place your headstones in and cover the bottom with dirt. This will make them stay in place and look more ancient. Push the stick crosses into the ground. Make sure that you don't crowd them with each other. Depending on how much room you have and want to use, measure at least a little space between your graves.

Grab your big rocks now and place them in various places around your graveyard. The point of these is to represent very old headstones that have eroded away or been damaged. Now they look like broken grave stones.

For added effect, place some old grave flowers in a few spots. Many cemeteries throw away the flowers that have been on graves after about two weeks. They are free to the public if they want them. Some people see it as a good thing while others find it too morbid for their taste. These aren't a must have, just an added feature if you want.

Pumpkins! Pumpkins! Pumpkins!

I assume you already know that you can purchase pumpkins from most grocery stores and from many farms and roadside markets, so you don't really need me to explain that. The worst part about those pumpkins is that they can get expensive pretty quickly, especially if you want more than one.

Instead, for your budget pumpkins, here is what you will need:

  • Large rounded rocks
  • Orange Paint
  • Black Paint

These rocks can be found in a lot of places, especially where work has been recently done. The type of rocks we are looking for here are a form of Limestone. They have a fairly smooth surface and look similar to the photo below.

They can sometimes be found in parks or in piles on the side of the road. Just look around and you should be able to find them.

These are not huge but they are big enough to make some jack-o-lanterns with. Paint them orange and let them dry. Take your black paint and draw whatever faces you want on them.

No, they are not "officially" Jack-O-Lanterns since you can't put candles down in them to light them up, but you can put them up and use them again next year.

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Lighting is one of the most important parts of both Halloween and Christmas. Since they are so popular, they can also start getting expensive. What you want is a way to get decent lighting without spending too much money, right?

Here's what you'll need:

  • Regular light bulbs
  • Permanent orange marker

You can always buy colored bulbs, but you can actually make your own for a lot cheaper. It's a simple process, you just gently grasp the light bulb, color it orange and let it dry, which shouldn't take too long.

Now put the bulbs in wherever you want them to show, say your porch light for instance. This can be done with other colors too if you would like. Purple is always a good color for Halloween!

Up in the Trees

Decorating the trees is another iconic staple of the holiday season. Easter, Halloween, and Christmas are the most receiving of all holidays. There are tons of cute and creepy things to add to that tree out front, but you want to do it without breaking the bank, so here is what you will need:

For the ornaments:

  • White Christmas balls
  • Various colors of paint
  • Various colors of permanent marker

To make the ornaments simply paint them whatever color you would like, white for skulls, orange for pumpkins, green for monsters, witches, etc. Paint or draw faces and/or designs. Hang on trees.

For the skull heads:

  • A balloon or ball
  • Yarn
  • School glue
  • Water
  • A bowl
  • Scissors
  • Corn starch
  • Black felt

To make the skull heads, mix corn starch, water, and glue in the bowl, just enough to make it non-clumpy, but not thin. Pool some of the yarn into the bowl and coat it over. Next start wrapping the yarn around the ball or balloon until it is in a good shape, but there are still some holes in them. Cut the felt into eyes and a mouth and glue them to your globe. Set the globe aside on top of the bowl and allow it to dry. Now just pop the balloon or ball, pull it all the way out and hang it on your trees.

Set some of your rock pumpkins around the tree as well for a little added extra effect.

Window Silhouettes

Making window silhouettes is not only simple, it's also fun. You can print or draw any type of Halloween design you want and put them in as many windows as you like.

Here are the materials you will need to make window silhouettes:

  • Clear tape
  • Scissors
  • Black construction paper
  • Printer

Print out some designs the size you want them, taking into account the size of the windows. If you are so artistically inclined, you can always draw the designs as well.

Trace the stencil onto the black construction paper and gently cut them out. If you feel comfortable enough you can also use a carpet knife to cut the stencils out. Use the clear tape to stick the paper cutouts to the windows and watch the magic happen.

Silhouette Ideas

Black Cats
Bubbling Cauldron
Haunted Houses
Halloween Trees
Spiders and Webs

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    • RachelWesley profile image

      Rachel Wesley 6 months ago from Kentucky

      Thank you!

    • Kailua-KonaGirl profile image

      June Parker 6 months ago from New York

      Super clever ideas. I just have to go and rescue some styrofoam coolers I saw someone throw out this morning for the great idea of turning them into tombstones.