Get into the spirit of Halloween with these fun and sometimes scary decorating ideas.

Whether you’re having a party for the kids, or hanging out with adults who love to be kids around Halloween, it’s one of the best times of year to let your creative, and even goofy side, show. We’ve listed some fun and scary decorating hacks for trick-or-treaters and partiers of all ages. You can do most of these with little time and money.

1. Spray paint a fall wreath black. Scare it up by adding fake spider webs, spiders, bats or snakes. See this great example that includes winding rubber snakes. And for that matter, spray just about any typical decoration black. For example, find one of those owl statues that doesn’t really work all that well at keeping birds out of your garden at a garage sale or flea market and paint it black. Then place it strategically near the front door and loop a recording to match. You decide WHO and what to say.

2. Having a costume party? Darkening the bathroom is fun, but adding a towel with fake blood stains on the towel rack? That’s just perfect. Use an old towel and make fake blood handprints. Maybe have some disposable themed towels handy as alternatives…

3. Put some teeth into your decorating. Use fangs in cut-outs of small pumpkins, as napkin ring holders for the office party or to hold Peeps. In charge of the morning donut run? Slip a set of fangs inside the centers. Add chocolate chips or a small squeeze of black cake icing for vampire eyes.

4. Come alive. Scare a few trick or treaters outside without going too far. Set the bowl of candy on a card table in front of the door. Dress up in a costume or mask that’s so cheap and tacky, it looks like a fake person. Put out a sign to take only what they need. Come alive every once in a while to say “boo,” or have some fun, especially with the older kids and neighbors you know who can take the joke without being too scared by it.

5. Glow like a worm. Anything that glows on Halloween is fun, lights up pathways and dark party rooms and adds to the spirit of the day (or night). Use glow-in-the-dark paint to light up a tray under serving dishes, a few rocks along the path to your house, or some old vases or mason jars and flea market finds. Use glow sticks inside items with holes, including pumpkins, paper cups, or even paper towel holders (cut the slits to look like cat eyes). It’s up to you where and how to place them for fun or scary effect.

6. Make a mummy. One of the easiest Halloween decorations to make is the classic mummy. Wrap nearly any rectangular or oblong object with a long , thin white material, add eyes, and you have a mummy. Use white first-aid tape on small objects like juice boxes, white duct tape on cereal boxes, or crepe paper on large items such as your front door or office door. Want a human mummy? Cut gauze or old white sheets into long strips and wrap a willing participant. Not too tightly, of course. And your mummy can come alive for visitors (see no. 4 above).

7. Moving eyes. Blow up an old portrait on plain paper, hang it where it’s accessible, behind an opening in a door or a fake wall (made of cardboard or wood, for example), and position someone behind the portrait to follow partygoers with their eyes. Or simply paste fun wiggly eyes from a craft store onto flea market old-time portraits and use them as place markers or decorations, letting party guests choose the ones they think they were in “a previous life.”

8. Work with pumpkins and gourds. The possibilities are endless. If you’re not a carver, or are averse to the goop inside, stencil or paint on the pumpkins. Use fake pumpkins if you want to have the same decoration next year. If you want to go more for decoration and less for scary, use a pumpkin to paint your family name or house number for your front porch as part of an arrangement. Or incorporate colors that work with your porch décor.

9. Use smoke and mirrors. You can’t beat dry ice as a tried and true Halloween decorating trick. Why not make the kitchen look more like Frankenstein’s lab or make yard fog near the front door. Food coloring makes it even more fun! Check out tips for handling dry ice with caution and on keeping your water warm to maintain the effect. Or spook up a mirror with a witch silhouette or ghost effect.

10. Wire up a few ghosts. Men who love chicken wire projects can get involved in shaping a few ghosts for the front yard. A bent-over old man near the gate or a few “women” in flowing gowns headed toward the sidewalk make for a fun and spooky effect.

 

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