Does anyone else love that Halloween Store Smell? The excitement of cheap plastic trinkets and styrofoam gore-decor is tantalizing, but buying every spooky thing that catches your eye can get pricey.
Fortunately, you don’t have to take out a small bank loan just to get into the spirit. Many of the decorations you see at your local Halloween shops are simple to make yourself for a fraction of the cost! Read on for eight un-boo-lievable ideas that are sure to inspire you.
1. Haunted Mirror. Have you ever noticed how pricey store-bought haunted mirrors are? For almost $30, you’d think they would come with a real ghost! Achieve this creepy effect easily with a little DIY magic. Use an old mirror you have around the house, or visit your local thrift store for a cheap one. Then, sand the back of the mirror until you can see through it. Finally, print out a creepy photo and adhere to the back! This is sure to surprise unsuspecting guests in your bathroom or hallway. RocketCityMom has a great tutorial here.
2. Handprint Window Clings. You’ve likely seen these gruesome window additions selling at Halloween stores for around $5 a pack. Using food coloring, Elmer's glue and wax paper, you can create your own clings for windows, walls or mirrors! Kids love this one; it’s an excuse to get messy. This works with other shapes too, including letters which you can use to spell out “BEWARE.”
3. Creepy Crystal Ball. Blossom at Ever & Ivy has a great tutorial for this. All it takes is lightbulbs, a printer and a lighter or candle. The smoke gives the bulb an eerie effect, and the printed design creates an instantly awesome conversation piece. Set in pillar candleholders or hang to display.
4. Mummy Hands. Before you shell out extra cash on plastic lawn ornaments, consider making your own! These light-up mummy hands only require masking tape and glow sticks. Use craft sticks or tent stakes to display them in your yard, and cover with leaves for the best effect. You could even make your own headstones with cardboard or styrofoam coolers.
5. Bleeding Candles. Sure, you can buy candles that bleed when they melt, or you can make them yourself. Decoratively drip red wax over white taper or pillar candles, or use this tutorial to make candles that drip red as they burn. Tip: make the candles look like fingers. If blood is too gory or graphic for you, try this with any color, like bright green for slime!
6. Eyeball Lights. Novelty lights are expensive and you probably want to save your filament-related funds for Christmas lights. Shortcut the Halloween lighting this year with this easy craft. Simply apply ping pong balls to a spare strand of lights and decorate with Sharpies! You can find ping pong balls from Walmart for as little as $6 per bag. If monster eyes aren’t your aesthetic, you can also draw skulls, spiders or jack-o-lantern faces.
7. Body Bags. Ah, what would Halloween be without a scattering of body bags around the abode? All it takes is artistic trash-sculpting, and really, who doesn’t possess this skill? Stuff black trash bags with newspaper, plastic jugs, old fabric and canisters to create a body shape, then tie off with duct tape. Hang, drape or “dump” throughout the house or yard. Want to go for gore? Use white bags and add a light splattering of fake blood!
8. Shrunken Heads. In case your town doesn’t have a voodoo market, create your own shrunken heads with apples! Soak peeled apples in salt and lemon juice, then carve out creepy faces and dry. The effect is a marvelously icky-looking head that you can decorate with beads, thread, felt and fake fur. Place in bowls around your house, or hang on a string to create an eerie garland. Get helpful instructions and inspiration from eHow.
CiCi Sharstrom is a content contributor for Coupon Sherpa, and a recovering Halloween decoration addict. She only made two impulse decor purchases this year.