glowing jack-o-lantern face as part of an outdoor halloween display

Cheap and Easy Halloween Decorations

When discussing ‘commercialized holidays’ most people think of Christmas and Valentine’s Day, but Halloween is quickly catching up! If you’re a Halloween lover, you know that it can cost a pretty penny! From fancy animatronics and smoke machines to elaborate light displays, it doesn’t take long to add up. Don’t worry! You can set up a great spooky display and celebrate all that this holiday has to offer while sticking to a reasonable budget. Check out these cheap and easy Halloween decorations for your next outdoor display…

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Almost every holiday has turned into a commercial grab in some way today. As the options for decorations evolve, becoming bigger, flashier and more elaborate, so too does the price tag. In fact, if you search ‘Halloween decorations’ on your favourite search engine, it likely won’t take long for you to find a variety of options priced at a couple hundred dollars each, on the low end!

While I’m not saying there is anything wrong with these options (I actually JUST ordered an inflatable with a 3-digit price tag myself for this year’s display), they aren’t always available to all those who love the season. Halloween isn’t supposed to be about whether you’re wealthy enough to afford it – it’s about sharing your love for all things related to the season including the spooky, the creepy and the many important traditions, both modern and dating back over centuries.

If you’re looking for a budget-friendly way to rock the season, I’ve got you covered! Today we’re going to talk about some of my favourite tips and tricks to put together an elaborate Halloween display without breaking the bank.

Check Out These Cheap and Easy Halloween Decorations For Your Outdoor Display:

#1 – Hit the Dollar Store or Budget Section

While many of the dollar stores and budget shops have earned a reputation of carrying only poor-quality products, this isn’t always the case. Sure, browsing the shelve will likely reveal some lower quality knockoffs and mass-produced goods that aren’t going to help the budget long-term as you have to replace them each year, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t some great options just waiting to be found. Take some time to really check out what they have to offer.

My Halloween decorations have grown, changed and multiplied over the years, and I have no problem admitting that a fair number of items have come at a mere $1 or $2 price tag thanks to our local dollar stores and the budget section of some of the big box stores in the area. I’ve even received compliments from people for items that they loved only to find them shocked when I revealed where I picked them up! A cheaper price tag doesn’t always mean it’s not worth your time…

#2 – Visit Your Local Thrift Shops

Another shopping option that many people overlook, many local thrift shops will set up a section this time of year with Halloween decorations and costumes. These are often higher-quality goods at a low cost simply because they are used.

When you head out to go thrifting, you need to have a good idea of the current value of the products you’re looking to find. Why? Some shops will price used items at a higher cost than you can purchase the same item for brand new. This is especially true if there are currently any sales or deals running that will bring that price tag down. You also need to check all products over for any damage or excessive wear and tear, after all, they are used products. That being said, among the clutter you can find some incredible deals if you stick to it and keep searching!

#3 – Get Your DIY On

Do you have a creative streak? Do you enjoy working with your hands? Many of the overpriced items you will see popping up in your local big box stores can be made at home with a much lower price tag. In fact, creating decorations yourself may result in a higher-quality finished product that lasts longer over the years.

Take note of what supplies you have easily accessible and consider what it can be used to create. For example, the tombstones available for purchase in many stores are a cheap foam or plastic that falls apart after a year or two of exposure to the elements. However, you can make your won out of reclaimed wood and a bit of paint. Use a sealant at the end to protect the wood and you’ve got a decoration that you can pull out year after year.

Before you get started, make sure that you’ve got a solid plan for your project. This includes what you plan on doing and what supplies will be required to make it happen. The more detailed the plan, the better for your bottom line. Why? Unexpected snags or hiccups along the way will often cost you more money. Enough of these bumps in the road and your DIY project is going to cost you more than it would have to just purchase the final product and with a lot more stress along the way!

Finally, and this is arguably the hardest part, be honest with yourself about your personal ability! Sure, there are people who can wire up elaborate lighting displays on their own or create immaculate and detailed displays with a paintbrush and a palette. However, this isn’t going to be the truth for all of us. I’m more likely to cause myself some form of bodily harm if I were to try to take on an electrical project! We all have a talent of some form, but we’re not all talented in everything. Acknowledging that something is outside of your skillset may save you A LOT of money.

Need some Halloween DIY inspiration? Check out these tutorials that I’ve shared from my own Halloween displays:

DIY Giant Spider Decoration

DIY Mandrake Root

DIY Potions Bottles

 #4 – Online Shopping is the New Budget Shopping

This shouldn’t come as news to anyone here, but the Internet and the world of E-commerce have made a huge impact on the way that we shop today. By eliminating the need for brick and mortar stores, online retailers are often able to provide similar or even identical products at a significantly lower price point. For this reason, it’s worth logging on to take a look at what you can find, even if it’s just research to drive your in-person purchase decisions!

Take the time to carefully check out any site you visit before making a purchase as many knockoff sites have been identified as poor quality, misleading or a complete scam. There’s nothing worse than spending your budget thinking that you’ve dominated this Halloween spending plan only to find that you either have nothing delivered and are out the money or what you do receive is worth pennies at most. That being said, there are also several incredible online retailers available. I personally start all online shopping searches by visiting Amazon!

When you are deciding if something is a good deal or not, pay attention not only to the product price but also to the associated shipping costs. You also want to take into consideration that some retailers will leave you responsible for covering any costs related to customs.

glowing jack-o-lantern face as part of an outdoor halloween display with the title tips and tricks for cheap and easy halloween decorations

#5 – Make Use of Your Surroundings

Far too many people overlook the surroundings they are working with and how it can be used to lower the costs associated with decorating. It’s often cheaper to enhance something that’s already present than it is to bring in a decoration to take up that space. A large tree can be made into a ‘haunted tree’ by creating some facial features out of clay and attaching them to the side of the tree itself. Meanwhile, a bush can easily be made spookier by adding ‘eyes’ within its branches. The easiest and cheapest way to do this? Cut eyes into the side of a toilet paper roll, place a glowstick inside of it and then place the roll within the branches of your bush. It hardly costs you anything but can create a great effect!

#6 – Team Up With Your Neighbourhood

While you alone are going to be responsible for your indoor decorations, you may be able to cut the cost while creating an incredible display simply by teaming up with those around you! If you live in a close-knit community, pitch the idea to a neighbour or two. With everyone working together to create a larger-scale display together, you’re suddenly only responsible for a piece of the puzzle. Large scale items can be share financially and smaller items are often made cheaper through bulk orders. Furthermore, going back to the DIY discussion, your neighbours may have skills that you don’t possess opening the door to collaborate and create incredible projects yourselves!

#7 – Consider the Long-Term Investment

This point is more about changing the way you consider your Halloween purchase decisions. Often, in our attempt to keep the cost lower, we find ourselves purchasing lower quality items. Unfortunately, these items often don’t last as long and as a result, you have to repurchase them every year. Over a 5-year span, this often costs significantly more than it would have if you just invested in the higher-quality product in the first place. If you know that you are planning on using the same display year after year (which is much more cost-effective), take the time to consider the investment you are making into your display.

A great example of this concept in action is the investment in realistic-looking artificial pumpkins if you plan on displaying a number of jack-o-lanterns every year as opposed to buying actual pumpkins each time. You can still do a couple of real ones if you genuinely enjoy carving them or roasting the pumpkin seeds after but investing in artificial pumpkins will allow you to display a large number year after year.

On the flip side, make sure you are considering how long the higher-cost items are really going to last. It’s easy to get caught up in the mindset that a higher price tag instantly means that something will last you longer, but that’s not always the case! If it appears that the lower-priced item is of similar quality or that it will last just as long, there is no need to burn a larger part of your budget to make it happen. It’s all about shopping smart!

#8 – Window Silhouettes

A little more specific than some of the other options listed here, window silhouettes are a great way to tie your home itself into your decorating plans with little to no effort. Taking black Bristol board or construction paper, create some spooky shapes, silhouettes or scenes. Some ideas may include a man holding up a knife, a witch, spiders, etc. Tape these up in your window ensuring that the scene you are creating can be viewed in from the outside. At night, anytime there are lights are on, those passing by your house will see your silhouettes in action!

At the end of the day, it’s not about the amount of money you are spending as much as it is about whether or not you’re enjoying putting your display together! Have fun with it! After all, if you ask me this is truly the ‘most wonderful time of the year’!

Do you decorate for Halloween? If so, do you have any tips for cheap and easy Halloween decorations that I missed?

20 thoughts on “Cheap and Easy Halloween Decorations”

  1. Those were some great ideas. Halloween is my favorite time of year. I always plan a big party for that night, so I’m looking for deals always because like you said, it could get expensive. I’ve been using Ebay the last couple years. I find that you will always find the deal your looking for on there.

  2. Such smart suggestions! I definitely think if you’re into Halloween, investing in long-terms pieces is an excellent option. However for those of us who like to celebrate it every year and get in on the fun, the dollar store is an awesome place to shop! I also like to buy stuff from Michael’s or a local craft store. I think DIY decorations are cool too and an excellent way to get children involved!! Lovely tips??

    Natonya |

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    I love your suggestion of teaming up with the neighborhood! That sounds like a great way to build a sense of community!

  4. Dollar store and Amazon are my favorite places to get any holiday decorations! Dollar store is cheap and Amazon is quick and has some pretty awesome deals.


  5. I’ve found some brilliant bits in charity shops and even supermarkets in the past. Most of our decorations have lasted us since we were children! Including a large black rat we nicknamed Rattagan.

    1. I was just searching through a local thrift shop the other day, checking to see if I could find anything interesting! I’ve always got my eyes open this time of year regardless of where I’m shopping because you just never know.

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