GHOSTLY HALLOWEEN DÉCOR
Properly preparing for Halloween means getting into the spirit by decorating the front door, porch, windows, and yard. These penny-pinching ideas for homemade Halloween props keep the holiday fun without spooking the neighbors or ruining a budget. When the big night comes, set up a smartphone speaker to play haunting music or sound effects found online (a witch's cackle, a door creaking open, a cat hissing). Replace a porch light with a dim or colored light bulb to create a spooky mood, and dress up in costume to pass out candy. With these ghoulish decorations, your house will be the talk of the street.
Use electrical tape that contrasts with the front door color to create a mouth (one horizontal strip to start, and smaller vertical stripes for teeth). Make two eyes by gluing circles of black construction paper onto plain white paper plates and add electrical-tape eyebrows. If Frankenstein is the model, use black construction paper for the hair; alternatively, choose a couple of bright colors for a wacky monster look. Cut uneven strips and attach them above the eyebrows to complete the 'do. Construction paper can also be cut into spiders, stitches, or other adornments.
This low-cost Halloween decoration calls for white streamers, two paper plates, and black construction paper. Create two eyes from the plates and paper (follow the door monster directions) and affix them to the door. Starting at the top, tape strips of streamers across the door and work downward, allowing the eyes to peek out. Use double-sided tape to attach the strips, and be sure to overlap them.
BLACK CAT DOOR
A front door that's black or another dark color is purrfect for this DIY decoration. Use construction paper to make eyes, a nose, and whiskers, then add a toothy smile for a Cheshire cat effect.
This cheap Halloween decoration requires five 2-by-4s. Paint one of the boards black for the base; another orange for a pumpkin; a third white for a ghost; a fourth green for a monster. Use black paint to add hair and facial details. Wrap the remaining piece in burlap to look like a mummy and paint on eyes. Nail each 2-by-4 monster onto the base and set the finished sculpture on the porch.
Wash and dry several empty milk jugs, then cut a small hole in the bottom of each one. Either create facial features from black construction paper and paste onto the outside or use a black permanent marker to draw the faces. Grab a strand of Christmas lights and push a handful through the bottom of each carton, then line them up on the porch or along a walkway and flip the switch.
FOAM SPIDERS AND BATS
Make spiders using two foam circles (one for the body and a smaller one for the head), pipe cleaners for legs, and wiggle eyes for a playful finishing touch. Glue these homemade decorations to the door and windows, hang them from the porch ceiling, or throw them in the bushes. Make bats by cutting the shape out of foam and attaching wiggle eyes. String them from the porch ceiling, the lintel over the doorway, or outside window frames.
A garden stake and a white sheet are the raw materials for this decoration. Stuff the center of the sheet with hay or another sheet, then tie the sheet at the base of the stuffing. Paint black eyes, a nose, and a mouth onto the sheet, or tape construction paper cutouts onto the surface. Attach the ghost to the stake. Make several in different sizes, place in a group, and focus a spotlight on the ghost family.
For this easy and cheap decoration, cut cardboard shipping boxes into the shape of tombstones. Paint each gray, write "RIP" in black paint, and tape short yard stakes on the back. Tap the stakes into the ground and place hay around the bottom, or glue fake moss for a more dramatic effect. A wooden cross made of branches and twine also adds to the cemetery.
Stuff rubber gloves with newspaper and use fishing line to hang them from any trees with low-hanging branches. Try clear plastic gloves stuffed with red tissue paper for a scarier look.
This Halloween decoration uses pool noodles to make it look like a witch crashed headfirst into a planter on your front stoop. Place craft foam in a large pot and cover it with fake Spanish moss. Drive bamboo rods or spikes down the middle of two pool noodles and stick them in the pot. Cover the "legs" with cheap stockings and put shoes on the ends (a pair of old high heels will do the trick). Stick an upside-down broom into the craft foam to complete the effect.