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Ten Budget Halloween Decorating Ideas

8 of 12 in Series: The Essentials of Halloween Parties

Halloween decorations can look fabulous, even if you're on a budget. Create a stunning Halloween display with these money-saving decorating tips, whether you're using only a few intricately carved jack-o’-lanterns or going all out by making your home into a creepy castle:

  • Lighted labyrinth: Turn on some spooky music and turn out the lights! Make your room a labyrinth by gathering candles of every shape, size, and color and placing them all in one room. (Take care to protect your surfaces from any wax that may ooze its way down.)

    For a different but just as eerie effect, place lighted candles on a path leading visitors or guests from one room to the next.

  • Lonesome luminarias: Use plain paper lunch bags to make luminarias. Write haunted words like “Boo!” and “Scream!” with a black marker on them. Stamp them with Halloween stamps. Add sand in the bottom of them and place a votive candle in them for an eerie welcome into your home. Battery-operated votives work great!

  • Haunted home: Throw sheets over all your furniture as if you’ve left for the season. Remove a few furniture pieces from the room to give a really “moved-out” effect. Sprinkle a light dusting of talcum powder, baking soda, or cornstarch on shelves, mantles, or other surfaces to give an accumulated dusty look.

  • Floating ghosts: Blow up a balloon and drape a sheet over it. If you place the tied end of the balloon at the top, you can insert a safety pin through the sheet and the tied end of the balloon to suspend the ghost from the ceiling.

  • Stacked pumpkins: Grab a garden urn or flowerpot and stack two or three pumpkins, one on top of the other, to make a pumpkin topiary. Cut off stems and hot glue them together for added security so that they don’t topple.

    Novelty stores and party supply supercenters are great resources for inexpensive decorating ideas. You can buy just about anything from fake eyeballs to glowing skulls, and a lot of them for less than $10.

  • Lab specimens: Put a few drops of green food coloring in a jar of water. Float a novelty item such as a fake eyeball or pack it with a rubber bat for a great gross-out effect and place this eye-catcher around a light source.

  • Tombstones: Carve large sheets of Styrofoam into gravestone shapes, press the edges of the Styrofoam with your fingers to make them look like hewn stone. Spray paint with a faux stone finish or simply use gray spray paint. Use a black marker to write on the front of it.

    Hang your tombstone on a door, or to stake it in the ground, by inserting long dowel rods through the bottom of the gravestone leaving at least six to eight inches of dowel rod showing for staking into the ground. Remove the dowel rods from the tombstone, insert them into the ground, and then reinsert the tombstone onto the dowels.

  • Spooky silhouettes: Draw or trace outlines of werewolves, bats, witches, and monsters on black poster board. Using a piece of chalk is best, so that you can easily see the lines. Cut around each shape and wipe away any chalk residue. Tape these to your windows. These spooky silhouettes transform your home into haunted house just by turning on all the lights in your rooms.

  • Webs: Hang fake spider webs and plastic spiders to spook up a hall, corner, or chandelier.

  • Black lights or spotlights: A black light makes all things white, including teeth, glow. Place one in a small room or near a window. If you’re answering the door for trick-or-treaters, make sure to have one close by as your only light source.

    Spotlights, bought at any home improvement store in the lighting section, can be placed under plants, fake cobwebs, and other props to cast shadows on the ceiling.

Check your favorite Halloween supply stores the weekend before Halloween. Many stores deeply discount these seasonal items as much as 90 percent to make way for all the Christmas merchandise coming.

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