I love Halloween. It’s probably one of my favorite holidays. Maybe it’s that you can pretend to be someone else, real or imaginary, for an entire day or that I love a good scare. I remember my dad used to make a small haunted house in our garage, complete with motion activated strobe lights and noises. It scared the pants off a lot of the trick or treaters. My current neighbors also go crazy with their outdoor Halloween decorations. They create a whole cemetery scene, complete with an eight-foot-tall motion-activated Jason Voorhees. He, and my dad, probably spent a few hundred dollars on decorations.
I, like many others, don’t have a ton of money to spend on elaborate outdoor Halloween decorations. To save money, I’ve racked my brain to come up with some easy-to-make and cheap Halloween decorations. As a bonus, they’re made from items you probably have around your house now.
Eerie eyes everywhere
Over the next few days, save up used toilet paper and paper towel tubes. Using some scissors or a box cuter, cut some oval-shaped holes in the tubes. Grab some glow sticks, which you can purchase at the local dollar store, crack them, and tape them to the inside of the tubes. Finally, place the tubes in the shrubs, trees, or flower bed in front of your home. This obviously won’t last for weeks, but it’s a quick decoration that you can put up when trick or treaters visit.
Creepy cardboard cut-out figures
Go to your local grocery store and ask if they have extra cardboard boxes, chances are they’ll have some extras around. Also while you’re out, pick up some acrylic paint at the craft store. When you get home, take your boxes and trace any Halloween object you can think of on the box. Start off with something easy, like maybe a tombstone. Cut out your decoration and paint it up, simple as that.
If you don’t feel artsy enough to draw something freehand, don’t worry! Doing a quick Google image search can give you some templates to print and trace. Once you have your decoration finished, use something like a spare dowel or pipe, tape your decoration to it and stick it in the ground.
Last year, I made an entire cemetery and some window decorations for my home. It cost me pennies! You can’t get decorations this cheap, even at the dollar store. Plus it’s a fun family activity. If you have some pre-cut decorations you can let your kids decorate them.
Create your own crime scene
Start out by making some sidewalk paint, which won’t stain your cement and will wash off the next day with some water. Mix about a half cup of water with a half cup of cornstarch. Make sure to get all of the cornstarch clumps out. Then take some red food coloring and add it to your concoction. Plan to use about 20 drops or more, depending on how dark you want your blood.
Grab your sidewalk paint and chalk. Then head outside and have a friend lay down on the cement area in front of your house and trace an outline of their body. Draw one or 10 body outlines, it really doesn’t matter and depends on how much space you have. Then splatter your paint around the outlines, make some bloody handprints, or make streaks down the driveway.
You don’t necessarily have to use red blood, either. For a twist, do an Area-51-inspired alien crime scene, and make the blood green or blue. You could even mix a little laundry detergent in your alien blood and set up a black light. Fun fact! Laundry detergent glows in a black light.
Scary science lab
If you have a porch, you can cordon off an area for a mad scientists lab. Cover a table with a white cloth, maybe add some tears in it and splatter some acrylic or washable paint all over the table. Place a stool or chair with a dirty, bloody lab jacket next to the table. Then grab some old canning jars and gather some random objects, like a doll’s head or plastic toy snakes. Then put your finds in the jars. Fill them up with water, add some food coloring, and then place them on the table. Leave some fake plastic knives or kitchen shears on the table. If you can find one of those kids’ chemistry sets at a thrift store, add that stuff to the table, too. Finish it with some dry ice safely out of reach and you’ve got one spooky science lab!
Bloody bodies everywhere
Remember those old clothes you planned on taking to Goodwill? Grab a few outfits and make some bodies to put around your yard. Stuff the clothes with old newspapers or plastic grocery bags that you planned to recycle but haven’t yet. Paint the openings with red acrylic paint for some extra fake gore. If you have some extra rope around the house, hang a homemade body or two from a tree.
I plan on trying to combine several of these ideas to make a wicked awesome and cheap Halloween scene that rivals my neighbors for a third of the price. So skip those expensive figures and decorations at the store. With a little creativity, you can make some scary scenes and decorations for your front yard this year.
Do you make any of your own outdoor Halloween decorations? Share your ideas with other Zing! Readers.