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Simple, Low-Cost Ways To Decorate For Halloween

Updated on December 4, 2017
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Having many interests and an inability to make up my mind about which one to focus on is how I came up with my screen name: ControlledChaos1


October Decorating

If you're like me and love decorating for Halloween then a week or so before October 1st is a busy time (for planning). Most stores these days put out Halloween stuff a day or so before October, but the real fun is having all of your decorations up and ready to be seen by the first of the month and then re-arrange as the weeks go by to get the perfect look for All Hallows Eve.

I love everything about this spooky holiday and have found that a limited budget is no reason not to make your home or apartment as creepy as hell. The decorating tips and tricks found below are ones that I use all the time and at very little cost; the only thing a little extra money does is make everything look a little more fancy.


Witches In The Window

You can buy cardboard cutouts of witches, skeletons and monsters to stick on the inside of your windows for others to see, but if you have any artistic talent, why not make your own? I like to use the life-sized versions as they stand out a lot better and kids seem to love them. They do make "safe" markers that can be used to draw on glass, but I've never been that good of an artist.


Old Jars and Bottles With Weird Stuff In Them

Putting weird stuff in bottles have been a staple of Halloween decorations for years. It's a fairly simple process which only requires bottles and jars (with or without lids) and anything you find laying around the house, in your yard or found on any sidewalk.

Jars and bottles of every shape and size can be found (for free) almost anywhere, you just have to be on the lookout for them. I have used old glass soda bottles found on the side of the road, mayonnaise jars and even plastic Karo syrup bottles to make this Halloween prop. Just keep in mind that kids like to pick these up, in which case jars made from plastic and have lids would be favorable.

  • Jars don't have to contain liquid, it can contain just dry stuff. I would avoid powders, though, in case someone decides to open the jar.
  • Stuff that I've used include grass clippings, dust from vacuum cleaner, broken plastic, bits of flower, small rocks, rusty screws, wire, walnut shell, newspaper, glow stick liquid, buttons, shoelaces, rubber gloves and so on.
  • It really doesn't matter what is in the bottle. The thing you want people to ask themselves is "why on earth would someone save this stuff and keep it in a container".

Get Ready, Set, Decorate!

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5 Creepy but Classy DIY Halloween Decorations (on the cheap!)

Jack-O-Lantern Ideas

Pumpkins aren't that expensive and carving a jack-o-lantern and lighting it up can transform even the most mundane area into the Halloween spirit. If you can only do one thing, there is nothing that can you can do to redeem yourself in the eyes of Halloween fans than actually carving a face into a pumpkin and putting fire to it. Pointers found below.

  • Can't afford a big pumpkin? Buy a small one, or even better yet, buy a deformed one; it only adds to the creepy atmosphere.
  • Candles don't have to be used (even though they look awesome) to light your jack-o-lantern. Glow sticks are your friend. You can even break one open and have the glowing liquid running out of the mouth.
  • I prefer basic jack-o-lantern faces on my pumpkin, but you can go as elaborate as you want as long as your willing to take the time.
  • Scraping away the orange rind on the pumpkin to reveal the white will allow light from the inside to bleed through. You don't have to make actual holes.
  • Oh, no! I dropped my jack-o-lantern! No big deal. It will look just as creepy even when broken or cracked. Trust me. I even drop a few of mine on purpose, a little duct tape does wonders.

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Scary Dolls Rock!

Dolls can often be found for pennies (or free) at yard sales and be transformed very easily into some of the creepiest decorations you've ever seen... all it takes is a little imagination.

  • Burning or breaking certain areas to get scars.
  • A sharpie can do wonders if you're interested in a goth doll.
  • Run over or stomp the doll to get an interesting look.
  • Pair your doll with some plastic spiders or insects.
  • Headless dolls can still be used to illicit goosebumps.


Halloween is a good opportunity to really flex your creative muscles and have a lot of fun doing so.

Halloween Ideas For Your Front Door


Parties Equal Costumes

October (Halloween especially) is come as you aren't night. Feel free to dress up in ways you wouldn't ordinarily even think of doing. Halloween costumes can be expensive, but they don't have to be. With some imagination and hard work homemade costumes can look just as good (if not better) than the stuff you buy in stores; and don't forget costumes for your pets.

As an aside, just having costumes laying around on the house will give off an interesting vibe especially if you rip them up a little or put some red stuff on them.

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It's said that All Hallows' Eve is one of the nights when the veil between the worlds is thin - and whether you believe in such things or not, those roaming spirits probably believe in you, or at least acknowledge your existence, considering that it used to be their own. Even the air feels different on Halloween, autumn-crisp and bright.

— Erin Morgenstern

Halloween Party Costume Ideas

Jason Vorhees
Wednesday Adams
Lego Block
Mr. Incredible
Tootsie Roll
Rubik's Cube
The Crow
Zombie Bite Victim
Pizza Slice
Crazy Nurse

Spooky Glowing Eyes

Kids in my neighborhood get a kick when I put these "eyes" all along my hedges leading up to my house. The only tip I would add to the above video is to paint the cardboard roll black using a sharpie or black paint to make it blend in better with the night. You could also hold some tubes and walk towards your "victims"; all they will see is those frightening eyes.

No Inflatable Halloween Decorations Required For Cool

Festive and spooky Halloween Display
Festive and spooky Halloween Display | Source

The Hangman's Noose

This well known death knot takes a bit of practice to learn, but once you do you'll be able to make a noose out of any length of material. Hanging dolls in random place may be extreme if small kids will see them, but most adults will just chuckle. If you don't want to hang something, just making the noose and putting them throughout your property will still cause people's skin to shiver. If you are afraid of someone actually getting hurt you can fasten them with a easily breakable material that won't hold when a larger amount of weight is added. More tips found below.

  • You can use wire, bed sheets or even vines to make crude nooses.
  • To give your noose a little color add some fake blood to it.
  • Feel free to make extremely large nooses and extremely small nooses.


Inspiration From Horror Movies

Don't be afraid to get some ideas from your favorite scary movie. Grab a notepad and jot down some notes when you watch your best slasher or goosebumps flick. I guarantee that if you pay attention you can come up with something that can be affordable, though you may have to put a little work into the project. Below are a few of mine.

  • Phantasm (1979): A styrofoam ball, glue, cardboard cut out into blades and silver paint will give you a passable "ball of death".
  • Hellraiser (1987): Copy one side of the Hellraiser box design onto a large piece of poster board and hang it on your wall.

Halloween Christmas Tree!

The Day After Halloween

Everyone who regularly puts up decorations in October should take advantage of the day after Halloween. All those expensive Halloween costumes, ornaments and embellishments will be available for you to get (in most cases) at a 50% discount, at the very least. If you want the best stuff, you need to be at the markdown areas within the first hour, so ask people at the stores when the markdown sale will begin. Some stores allow customers to buy merchandise within an hour after a holiday officially ends; so be sure to check.

If you're willing to wait until 2 days after Halloween discounts will become steeper, just keep in mind that all the really cool, scary decorations may be gone. The most popular item you'll find when waiting this long is that fake spider webbing in bags. The stuff is useful and can literally be bought for 10 cents a bag (if you negotiate).

Putting Up Fake Spider Webs

More Ideas To Make Your Home or Apartment Just A Little Bit Spookier

  • Paint ghostly shadows or shapes right outside your front door or on the walkway itself.

© 2017 Don

Why Not Share Your Halloween Decorating Ideas

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    • Tastefullywild profile image

      Fern Bailey 7 months ago from Michigan

      Love this post and especially the first image! Those were all decorations we had as a kid!! Thank you for sharing