In 2020, the pandemic gave some of us a little more time for things like baking bread, organizing our bookshelves, and creating and purchasing elaborate Halloween decorations. Let's just say that in 2020, this 12-foot skeleton did really well, selling out before the month of October was even upon us. (If you're committed to making the skeleton yours this year, check out the reviews on Home Depot for photos showing how people decorated with them.)
But if you're feeling budget-conscious (or a little frightened of the 12-foot skeleton), here are 10 ideas—from DIYs to clever purchases—that can come together to make your house look positively haunted.
Decorating pumpkins—without carving them
Yes, carved pumpkins are a tried and true staple of Halloween (with surprising origins). But instead of the sticky, hours-long process of gutting and meticulously carving a pumpkin, you can involve your kids more by decorating the outside of ol' Jack with stencils, hand paints, googly eyes, and more.
DIY(ish) silhouettes set in your windows
A lot can be accomplished with just a pair of scissors, some black construction paper, and a really steady hand. Instead of buying silhouettes to stick on the inside of your windows that will stand out when the lights are on at night, you can create your own spooky decorations. Etsy is a great resource for stencils if you don't trust you or your kids to do it without one.
Christmas season doesn't own the market on holiday lighting. For anyone with a house, Halloween lights such as these spider projectors or "Enter if you dare" archways can set a spooky, evening mood without any DIY energy—just good, old-fashioned electricity. Make it subtle with just some orange lights in the bushes or create a light show that will have your neighbors tightly closing their blinds.
DIY spooky wreaths
Although this one might include a lot of hot glue gun usage, you and your kids can plan a couple of spooky wreaths to hang outside. Small skulls, spiders, and dark, lacy fabrics can be pulled together to make something seasonally-appropriate. Don't have Halloween decorations at your local craft store? Black spray paint can take even the most happy of roses and turn it goth.
Spider-stained glass window hangings
For the fancy Halloween decorators among us, art like these Venus Glass Art window hangings are a great way to decorate both your indoor and outdoor space. If they're too understated for your tastes, the spiders can also be paired with delicate spiderweb netting that will still let the light in.
If you want to go for the haunted house look, creating a graveyard can be as easy or as involved as you want, ranging from a few, plastic pieces to a whole yard full of bones and ghouls. As your summer plants begin to die off, you can fence off small areas to put tombstones, skeleton hands, and ghosts. Some people create personalized tombstones for celebrities or lost pets, which is a more involved project, but one that Lowe's has a beginner's guide to.
Recycled jar Jack O' Lantern DIYs
With just a few simple art supplies and some old spaghetti jars, you can repurpose your empties before setting them out for recycling. By cleaning them thoroughly and using tissue and construction paper, you can create little pumpkins for your windowsill. Check out this tutorial on Instructables Living or a similar one on Fireflies + Mudpies for instructions.
Personalized spiderweb name
Etsy shop TRENDCUSTOMIZATION has spiderweb wood cut-outs that can be hung indoors or outdoors in a variety of colors—so the kids can know exactly which family gives the best treats. Of course, these can be taken down at the end of the season, but for some of us, the Halloween decor is not just limited to the month of October.
Ghost garland DIYs
Variations of ghost garlands can be found all over the internet, from this easy Jenna Kate At Home idea that uses tissue paper to other, more lasting ideas like this one from This Mama Loves that uses yarn. However you decide to make your little ghosties, they're a DIY that you can involve your kids in and hang in windows around the house.
Creep your neighbors out with birds and pests
Some of the greatest Halloween decorations come with subtlety—the types of decorations that make you do a double take and ask, "Is that real?" If you have a yard with trees, you can purchase a handful of fake ravens to put in the branches, or you can line a railing or a space by your door with an abundance of fake spiders. It's the little things that really make your house look haunted.