DIY Halloween Décor on a Budget

Including how to make Halloween wreaths, ghosts, and tombstones. Cleo loves a Pinterest board.

Two Halloween pumpkins against a blue background.

Move aside wedding season, we are formally entering spooky season.

And similar to a load of old guys in De Beers’ marketing team making up the three months’ salary rule for engagement rings, it turns out that Halloween wasn’t always about spending a ton of money - we have Big Candy to thank for this.

There are plenty of money hacks to trick or treat on the cheap, and have a cute time while doing it.

Why do you hand out candy on Halloween?

Turns out, back in 1916 with only Christmas and Easter as major holidays to peddle sweets, candy marketing execs were looking for a way to boost Fall candy sales.

This started off as Candy Day in the 1950s, which eventually merged with Halloween. Fast forward to 2022, and the average American spends 100 bucks on Halloween as a holiday.

Look, I’m not saying we should go back to giving out coins and nuts to trick or treaters like in the 50s. I for one am a huge advocate of stockpiling candy like a little mouse preparing for the winter. But Halloween should not have to break the bank.

So you have two options: sit your sweet children down, and create a spooky atmosphere by delivering a lecture on living under late stage capitalism.

Or, you can make a lot of decor yourself, which also doubles as a wholesome activity for those wanting to elongate the Halloween season. You also don’t require children to enjoy some solo crafting cuteness.

How to make Halloween ghosts

You can make hanging Halloween ghosts with stuff you probably already have in the house.

How to make a ghost out of paper
Image courtesy of Rhythms of Play.

This is all you need:

👻 For the ghost’s ..skin..?:  new or recycled white tissue paper, white garbage bags, a roll of tulle or cheese cloth.

👻 For the insides: cotton balls, crumpled recycled paper or plastic bags, cloth scraps, or old socks.

👻 Fishing line or string.

👻 Scissors and a permanent marker.

How you make ‘em

First, cut squares of whatever material you’re using: white garbage bag, tissue paper or tulle. 10-12 inches works, but you can do larger or smaller. You need two for each ghost.  Lay them on a surface so that they make the shape of an 8-pointed star (take a look at the pic).

Place your stuffing - a cotton ball or scrunched up piece of paper, on top, and fold the paper around it. This is the ghost’s head.

Tie your fishing line around the ghost’s neck, with about one or two feet left to hang it from the ceiling. Then just draw a pair of black eyes on the ghost and you’re good to go. Terrifying.

You can find more on the Rhythms of Play website.

How to make a Halloween wreath

You can make an extremely 💅 tasteful💅 wreath using fall leaves that can be found on the street 🍂for free🍂

There are two ways of making this wreath, starting with a slightly simpler and more child-friendly version.

A wreath
Image courtesy of The Artful Parent.

What you need:

🍂 A selection of your finest, driest fall leaves

🍂 Metallic paints

🍂 An embroidery hoop

🍂 A glue gun

How you make ‘em

Paint your fall leaves with metallic paint to preserve them.

Run a line of hot glue around the edge of your embroidery hoop. Most embroidery hoops come with an inner and outer hoop, but you just need one of these.

Then arrange the leaves along the glue, and tie a piece of string around the hoop so you can hang it up. For a more detailed run through, check out this website.

Halloween wreath
Image courtesy of Natural Crafts and Recipes.

For the slightly more complicated version, you’ll need:

🍂  More leaves

🍂  A grapevine wreath

🍂  A glue gun

🍂  Hairspray

Start by spraying the leaves with hairspray to preserve their shape.

Then add the hot glue to the stem of the leaf itself, rather than the wreath.

Thread the base of your leaves into the wreath. You wanna start at the outer edge, and work inwards. Vary the colors and direction that the leaves are facing.

For a more in-depth tutorial, check out this YouTube video.

How to make Halloween tombstones

What you need:

⚰️Craft foam

⚰️ Spray paint

⚰️ Hot glue

⚰️ Grey paint

⚰️ Modge podge glue

This website recommends a few additions: a clear spray paint top coat and Rustoleum accents spray paint - but these aren’t totally necessary.

Halloween tombstone
Image courtesy of Little Yellow Wheelbarrow.

How you make ‘em

⚰️ Using a black marker, draw the general shape of the top of the stone on your Styrofoam sheet

⚰️ Using a utility knife, cut along the top line of the tombstone shape

⚰️ Then cut out the lettering in your craft foam, and glue this onto the Styrofoam. Just be sure to squeeze the glue onto the craft foam, as it will melt the Styrofoam.

⚰️ Then, paint over two coats of Modge Podge glue, so the paint takes.

⚰️ Paint the whole thing grey, and use a permanent marker to outline the lettering.

Voila, you have your own budget graveyard.

So if you do need  a quick spot, you can spend it on important stuff, like a Disney+ subscription to watch the new Hocus Pocus (Joke. Please don’t do this).

And for more ✨free stuff fall✨ vibes, check out our 6 ways to get free coffee.

Enjoy this post? Give it a share or send it along to a friend. And of course, if you want to try the best money app in the world for free, just hit this link right here. Big love. Cleo💙

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