How to Decorate a House for Halloween on the Cheap

How to Decorate a House for Halloween on the Cheap


halloween decor

I just found out that a frenemy of mine has bought a fog machine for her yearly Halloween décor-gy. Well, good for her. Meanwhile I'm replacing the zipper in my daughter's hand-me-down Minnie Mouse hoodie and juggling bills, but who's counting? Anyway, not to be a bitter poor person, but I'm sure plenty of people know how it is. I'm still planning on dressing up our house for Halloween -- but doing it in a way that doesn't stick its fangs into our bank account to drain it dry.

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In addition to that, I'd also like to dress the house. But, let's just say no one is going to catch me running out to purchase a fog machine. For people who are looking for Halloween décor that doesn't make them shriek with sticker shock, there are actually a lot of DIY decoration ideas to try.

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The great thing about Halloween is that things can look sloppy. I mean, has anyone ever seen a neat, pristine haunted mansion or abandoned graveyard? Cobwebs and decay rule the day. So just by virtue of being a neglectful homeowner, one could have a fabulous haunted house! Hardy har. Here are some actual ideas for low-cost Halloween embellishments that are sure to get the house ready for Halloween.

  • Magnetic Spiders


    This super easy and creepy DIY from Delia Creates is sure to creep people out. All she did was buy a bag of plastic spider rings, cut off the ring part, glue magnetic strips to the bottom of the spider, and that's about it! Double-sided tape could also be used if they're not going on a magnetic surface. 

  • Paper Bats


    All that's needed for this one is black construction paper and tape. Made Everyday just cut out a bunch of bats and taped them to the wall so they look like they are flying around. It came out pretty awesome! 

  • Balloon Spider Webs


    These DIY spider webs turn out looking so cool! It only takes a few items and many people probably have some of them lying around the house already. Plus, it's a fun activity to do with kids. 

    More from CafeMom: 11 Baby Halloween Costumes That Creep Us Out

  • Ghostly Fridge


    This is another DIY that only requires black construction paper and some tape. Jean's Crafty Corner had the clever idea to turn the refrigerator into a giant ghost. 

  • Cardboard Tombstones


    This creative yard decoration from eHow is another one that is easy and involves really cheap supplies. Guests won't even be able to tell that they're just cardboard, glue, and paint. 

  • Spirit Jugs


    The folks at Eighteen25 came up with the most innovative (and cheap) way to fill a front yard with glowing spirits. All someone needs to do is draw ghost faces on empty milk jugs, cut a whole in the back, and pop some lights in them. If they are lined up in a row, a string of white holiday lights can be weaved through them as well. 

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  • Mummy Door

    mummy door

    Image via ekorob/Instagram

    Make the home scary starting with the front door! Wrap paper streamers or white packing tape around the front door to make it look like a mummy. Maybe even find giant eyes to slip into the bandages for an extra-freaky effect!

  • Haunted Portraits

    Haunted Portraits

    Image © A Sanchez

    These are so hilarious, it's scary. Do a Google Images search for "Oil Painting Portrait" or similar, and find something that will look somewhat spooky in the right environment. Download the image, blow it up as big as you can, and print it out. Don't worry if it's blurry, poor quality, or uneven: That just adds to the effect. Use spray mount to stick it onto cardboard, and make a fake-fancy gilt frame to go around it (gold spray paint topped with Sharpie details, easy-peasy huggy-squeezy). This original post directs people how to create glowing eyes out of LED lights; I'm not that advanced, but for those full of the spirit, go for it and let me know how it works out. Hang these portraits in that newly haunted mansion ... so spooooky!

  • Balloon Ghost

    Balloon Ghost

    Image ©

    Hang up some ghosts by tying a piece of white garbage bag or paint cloth over a balloon and tying at the neck.

    More from CafeMom: 14 Ways to Celebrate Halloween With a Toddler That Aren't Trick-or-Treating

  • Mad Scientist Specimens

    Mad Scientist Specimens

    Image © Salisbury

    I know others, like me, have many large plastic toys of dubious origin. If not, there are loads of them at Goodwill or recycle shops. Pop them into glass jars, fill the jars with water, and add green food coloring. Put them in front of a spooky light source for maximum scary effect.

  • Zombie Trees

    Zombie Trees

    Image ©

    Head out to the woods and get some great branches, especially ones that have enough appendages to look like trees. (Note: Do not kill a tree to do this! There should be plenty on the ground!) Drag them home and stick them into buckets, planters, or other big tub-type containers filled with sand, rocks, or dirt to keep them upright. Spray paint the branches black and drape them with cobwebs. Or make them gray and hang creepy ornaments on them -- eyeballs, hands, whatever suits one's fancy. So scawwy!

  • The Un-Dead Lurking in the Shadows

    scary shadow in window

    Image ©

    Every other house has old clothes stuffed with newspapers, set to look like a zombie sitting on the porch. Yawn. But what if someone tacked those clothes to the walls of the house so they looked like ghostly people standing in the shadows? What if someone had them dancing with each other? What if someone had a black dress that he or she draped onto a mannequin and then stood in an upstairs window, back-lit in red with parasol in hand, like a headless widow searching for her long-lost husband? (I have no idea how she lost her head. Let your imagination run wild.)

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  • Pumpkin Candle Holder


    Image ©

    Use a mini-pumpkin to make a cute candle holder. Carve a hole in the top just large enough to hold a votive candle. Leave plain, or draw on a jack-'o-lantern face with a sharpie marker.

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