According to the National Retail Federation, last year the average American family spent about $74 on Halloween decorations. With Thanksgiving and Christmas around the corner, it might be a good idea to pocket the cash for other events.
Luckily, most of us can look no further than inside our own homes and combine existing items with a little creativity to decorate for less! Before shopping your home, have a theme in mind to make decorating easier. Want to create a spooky Halloween experience? Or do you want to make passersby laugh with characters from The Big Bang Theory? Is the force with you? Or are you a huge Marvel Comics fan? Putting your own unique spin on these and other themes can be the difference between “blah” and “Bazinga!”
Keep it Simple
Some (like Denver homeowner Gary Alishio) go over the top and commit to creating the ultimate Halloween experience. But just because they do, doesn’t mean you have to. There are a handful of us who enjoy Halloween, but don’t want to go broke decorating. Before you commit, there are a few things that you should do. First, think about the amount of time it will take to put up and take down your decorations. Next, if you live in an HOA-governed community, double-check the rules and avoid drama. Finally, avoid decorations that could potentially damage your home and drive up your costs. Now it’s time to begin shopping your home for awesome decorations.
Get Some Scary Inspiration
Once you’ve created a theme, the decorating part is easy. Websites like Pinterest are great places to look for homemade Halloween ideas and find cool items to transform your home.
In order to make this easy, we’ve compiled a list of items you might already have at home to make decorating a snap.
- Cotton balls - There are tons of ideas on Pinterest that show what what you can do with these guys. Some ideas: ghosts, popcorn, bunnies, and clouds.
- Glue - This is self-explanatory. You always need some Elmer’s to work on these projects.
- Paper - Recycle your paper and use the back of non-confidential printed materials to cut up, color on, or make signs.
- Crayons and Markers - You may need to color in some details.
- Toilet Paper - Just don’t teepee your house (or someone else’s!) It takes forever to clean up. But, if you want to be a mummy, 2 or 3 rolls of toilet paper make a great and easy costume.
- Yarn or dental floss - Create spider webs or use them to hang items from the ceiling.
- Cardboard - Collect your boxes and cut them up to create cool decorations.
- Empty glass jars – Here’s a fun tip: take old spaghetti sauce jars and remove the labels. Then put electric tea lights inside to create cool ambience with no fire danger.
- Food Coloring - Use food coloring to make homemade fake blood or green goo.
- Electric lights - Repurpose your holiday lights and use them for Halloween. If you have extra electric tea lights, use those as well.
A couple of words of caution as you shop your home—be mindful and think about decorating safely. Avoid using decorations that would endanger you, your kids, or your home. Avoid small items that might present a potential choking hazard for kids. Love candles? Of course, everyone does, but, keep it simple and use electric flickering lights instead. Also, remember to unplug everything when you go to sleep to avoid having cords overheat (and to avoid annoying your neighbors).
Halloween can be a lot of fun but you don’t have to spend a ton of money creating a memorable experience. Spend time thinking about the overall experience you’d like to have, use a lot of creativity and create a fun and affordable Halloween this year.