Cheap & Easy Halloween Decoration Ideas.

Welcome to my house at Halloween.  If you like creepy as opposed to cutsie Halloween decorations (yay for you by the way), you’re in the right place. Cheap Halloween inspiration for your own haunted house this October.

Handmade witches broom hanging over porch entrance with gauze covered pumpkins flanking a black front door.

There are two kinds of people in the world.  Halloween people or Easter people.  I am a Halloween person and I tend to get along with other Halloween people. You’re my kind of crowd.  Let’s look at this scientifically:  100% of the food associated with Halloween is chocolate or potato chips. 100% of the food associated with Easter is gross or disgusting. That’s really all the motivation smart people like you and I need.   

The trick to cheap but impressive Halloween house decorations is to use a few key pieces for haunting up your house.  They need to be creepy and/or elegant. A few carefully placed skulls and hits of black will convey that “I’m living in a very stylish Transylvanian home just waiting for my good friends Cruella and Dracula to show up for the party.”  Please wipe your feet.


Decorating for an Elegant & Creepy Halloween

Halloween Stuff

  • Use skulls. Pop them everywhere and get the most realistic ones you can.
  • BLACK GAUZE. Dollar stores have a ton of this stuff for really good prices and if you can only buy ONE thing for your Halloween decorating, make it black gauzy fabric.
  • Chicken bones.  Chicken bones are my favourite way to create some ghastly Halloween vignettes.
  • Candles
  • Doll parts.
  • Spiders.
  • Black Feather boas are also GREAT.  They’re creepy but opulent feeling.

If you have a few of those things you’re set for creating a haunted house feel in your home.


Let me walk you through a few of the rooms in my house for some Halloween decorating inspiration. 

BOOOOOOOOO!!!  Sorry to scare you like that but I’ll be doing it a few times through this post so prepare yourself.

Halloween Decoration Ideas.

For a Halloween party or just for the helloween of it. 

 
Elegant dining room with Panton S chairs, a lifesized antique portrait draped in black gauze and a mummified cat on the floor.

  1. Don’t go cutesy, go creepy.  

The mummified cat on the floor in the dining room is basically terrifying. Chances are you won’t be able to find one exactly like mine, but just always keep in mind your goal is creepy not cute.

It was bought after Halloween, on sale, from Shoppers Drug Mart in Canada a couple of years ago for $10. 


Black candelabra and white taper candles with bones stacked in between and around the candles.

2. Candles and Bones.

Putting bones anywhere makes things automatically startling and “Halloweeny”. Is that a word? 

Here’s my whole tutorial on how to clean your chicken and turkey bones for decorating.

The candelabra is one I own, but to get the same effect get some cheap candle holders, spray them black and group them together.

I really like these super-plain cast iron window candle holders that are $30 for 12 of them but I have no use for them so hopefully one of you will.


BOOO! Gotcha again.  Heh.

 
Life sized antique portrait draped with black gauze on a white wall, with a harvest table and modern chairs.

3. Black Gauze.

Draped over tables, curtains, mirrors of the life sized oil painting of Margaret like you see here gives you more bang for your buck than anything else. 

Your best bet for getting black gauze is from a dollar store. 


A single large black spider hanging from a white modern pendant lamp.

4. Spiders.

Placing spiders on surfaces is the easiest way to use them but hanging them is even better.  Just run a line of fishing line or string for a pendant light and attach the spider.

Big old spider from the dollar store.  Cheap.


 

DIY Halloween craft of an open book with eyes set inside the pages.

5. Books.

Stacked hardcover books with a Halloween theme (think Alfred Hitchcock, Edgar Allan Poe …) are a subtle way to give the haunted house feeling without being kitschy.

If you’re feeling in a DIY mood you can craft this book with eyes in it for a total cost of about $2.  Read the tutorial on how to make Book Eyes here … you can do it with a book, a drill and some fake eyes in an hour or less. 


Clear glass skull tea light holder on a round glass riser.

 

6. Skulls.

You need a skull. Skulls are to Halloween what Christmas trees are to Christmas. That’s all there is to it.  If you’re desperate for some sparkle in your Halloween get a glass skull because it will shine and reflect light.

Skulls can be bought anywhere from Amazon to Dollar Stores but the best ones are usually found at places like HomeSense (HomeGoods).  Dan Akroyd also makes vodka with a skull shaped bottle so look for that if you’re having a party.  Where everyone plans to drink a lot of vodka.

Life sized anatomically perfect skull candy dish sitting on a stack of books at Halloween.

This skull I got from Homesense.  That’s Homegoods to you American folk.  I love it. It’s a candy dish but would work well as a festive flower vase as well.  I love it so much because of the attention to detail.  It actually looks like a real skull, right down to the spinal cord coming out of the back of the skull.

 


Dolls hand peeking out of antique copper Burmese Monk's begging bowl.

7. Doll parts.

Grab a doll and rip it apart.  It’s as simple as that. Dolls are scary in general if you ask me, but when you disassemble them they’re downright terrifying.  Just place the doll parts (head, legs, hands) in random places and prepare yourself for people to run screaming from your house.

The BEST dolls for this are vintage or antique dolls. You can get them cheap at flea markets if they’re broken and not in great condition which is PERFECT and exactly what you want when you’re decorating for Halloween.

Seriously creepy antique doll torso under a glass cloche on dining room table.

DOLLING UP HALLOWEEN


Black gauze with spiders draped over 7' high mirror resting on floor.

 

8. Black Feather Boas.

Feather boas might seem a bit frivolous for Halloween but if they’re the right colour they’re perfectly dark and elegant. Drape them on paintings or mirrors.

Yet again, the dollar store for the win on your cheap Halloween supplies. One year I got black feather boas for $2 each at my local Dollarama. They carry them from as cheap as $5 on Amazon.


NOTE. Can you see the picture frame made out of bones in the mirror reflection? This isn’t my DIY Halloween post but if you want to, you can see how to do it in this tutorial right here. 


 

And no.  I don’t have kids.  But that doesn’t mean I can’t partake in the season. I don’t have to have kids to trim my house out to the best of my Halloween ability.  Besides.  How else am I supposed to catch one?  A kid I mean.  A kid with a pillow case filled with chocolate and chips.  Lots and lots of chocolate and chips.
 

→Follow me on Instagram where I often make a fool of myself←

 

81 Comments

  1. pat says:

    Karen, you should adopt a black cat (only if your current pets are up for it) and name it Spooky to go along with your decor. Except not at this time of year because the animal shelters aren’t keen on that. Anyhoo, that’s what we did and because we didn’t know her birthdate, Halloween was dubbed her birthday by my daughter. And on this day she is outfitted with a lovely orange ribbon tied into a bow and no one can resist her cuteness and she gets lots of picking up and hugs (which, of course, she despises). And if you’re really “lucky”, your neighbour will admit to you she’s rescuing cats and you’ll go out on your deck a few days later to see three black cats with little blue collars running around your yard. And none of them are yours. Sigh. Makes for outdoor Halloween decor year round. Inside, yes, I still decorate for Halloween even though my kids are 23 and 18.

  2. mary says:

    love the decorations, but I especially love the nude drawing, so simple and yet so detailed. Did you do it yourself?

  3. I love it! That book is so creepy

  4. Debbie W. says:

    That’s crazy, I have a LOT of the same halloween decorations as you!! And there was a tv show on, where a person brings in an item, and 4 antiques dealers get to make an offer on it if they wished… but they would all be in separate rooms? Or did I daydream this up?? Anyhoo, the one person brought in a REAL mummified cat!! Found in the walls of an old building in Eastern Canada. Apparently, people used to do this for good luck. Anyways, nobody would make the poor guy an offer. And the mummified cat went back to the east coast.

    And I think it needs to read “muahahahahahahahaha”

  5. Tracey says:

    Hi Karen,
    I’m going to be totally, totally honest here….I wasn’t going to read this post, because I’m not into Halloween at all. I give out candies to the young’uns at the door ’cause I think they are dang adorable, and I have a few pumpkins on the step. But, I never got the whole decorating the house thing. And I don’t like orange (or red at Chritsmas). Those colours are to garish for me. (Don’t hate me fellow readers- it’s not you it’s me).
    Well, I thought…what the heck, read the post…you only get to read Karen’s posts 3 times a week…you gotta read it…
    Uh WOW, my opinion has changed now that I see what you’ve done. No Orange in site. No cutesy stuff. Just creepy, weird, tastefully eccentric looking cool stuff. THIS IS “the Art of Doing Halloween”.
    (I’d also love to see what you do for the outside of your house).
    SO fantastic!

  6. Nancy Blue Moon says:

    CLEO!!! ERNIE!!! WHAT HAS SHE DONE TO YOU!!!!!…OK..you got me with that last BOO..scared the HELL out of me!!!..You are Twisted…Sister…mah hahahaha..and that is not a kiss..

  7. What I love about your Halloween is that it is adult Halloween. It is not cutesy stuff, Its the Dark evening it conjures up and the spirits it entices. You should have ended it with your zipper face makeup in a huge size, that would have scared the chip out of me…muuuuuuauaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhh, boo

  8. Amy in StL says:

    Your bone wreath reminds me of my creepiest piece of jewelry. It’s a pendant that has something written in German in it. The gold is worn down to the base metal so its kind of coppery and inside is a coil made of real human hair. Apparently hair of the deceased brother, which the pendant is dedicated to.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Amy! Cool. Yup. That’d be a Victorian Mourning necklace. (could be earlier than Victoria era … but that’s when they were the most popular) ~ karen!

  9. sera says:

    first, I love it all!
    second, I think your dollarama is better than my local dollar store. although I do love my local Daiso Japanese dollar store. But I want that black fabric!!!
    third, do your cats freak out at the fake cats? my sister-in-law got my husband a creepy squirrel puppet and my cat HATES it. She’s totally traumatized by it.

  10. Sandy says:

    I hope you got those cats when it was 20X the points at Shoppers!!!

  11. Love it Karen! Sophisticated and charming, which is what I’d like to do, but I always go waaaay overboard. I LOVE Halloween! If you’d like to see my “house tour”, here it is: http://theyearoflivingfabulously.com/2014/10/15/victorian-gothic-halloween-a-home-tour-today-the-front-room-decorating-on-the-cheap-diys-tips-tricks/ Well, there are actually 3 Halloween house blog posts…like I said, I go overboard!

  12. Brenda says:

    Yes, I also wonder what the outside of your house looks like, “Halloweened up”
    I looove that creepy web site……Karen, what items do you have from there?

    How about making that creepy mermaid next year out of a Dollar Store skull and the bones of that whole fish you had for dinner last Friday???

  13. Tanya says:

    Just a couple nights ago I went to Michael’s to look for some Halloween decor, The selection was okay, but they didn’t even have little plastic spiders. I went to the dollarama next-door? Huge awesome selection. Love that place!

  14. Sandra says:

    FANTASTIC! Those mummified cats are simply wonderful. We don’t have a Dollarama where I live. We have a really low class Dollar Store that carries nothing, NOTHING, like your Dollarama. If they did I would probably be inclined to hang out on delivery day just to have first dibs. Now do tell, what does the outside of your house look like? My front yard is a cemetary (I know, I know, everyone’s front yard is a cemetary). You know you’ve done a great job when the neighbor dog stops and barks at all of the dead babies crawling out of their graves. My little bit of upgrade this year was repainting over all of the blackened eyes with glow in the dark paint. So disturbing! That and the baby I found this year at the Goodwill who is missing half a head!

  15. Kat says:

    Everything is just perfect! Except I missed seeing your black boa skull wreath on the front door. But you are probably doing a photo shoot of the front of your spooky house in another post.

  16. Leslie says:

    How on earth do you walk around your house at night and not get COMPLETELY freaked out??? It looks amazing, by the way.

  17. Valerie says:

    Fun, goofy question for Hallowe’en:

    question:
    Why don’t witches get pregnant?
    answer:
    Because their boyfriends have hollow weenies.

  18. jainegayer says:

    Your house looks elegantly creepy, Karen.
    Dollar Store, here I come!

  19. DanniS says:

    Love, love, lurve the book with eyes that is definitely a must have! Also dont ever tell Melanie where you live lol that is seriously creepy stuff on that website!

  20. Kim C. says:

    Love it! I was at Dollarama yesterday and walked the Halloween aisle. Your tasteful sense of creepy helped out tremendously as I said to myself, ”What would Karen do?” Saw old perv hand there too and this time it made me smile. 😉

  21. Mary Werner says:

    Your spider with the long leg that is reaching out for the skull stacked on books – is that dollarama also? That is the nastiest looking beast I’ve ever seen and would have a hard time going anywhere near it. I do not like spiders and that is the worst one yet! Love your decor – my sister in law leaves her Jack the Pumpkin King display up all through Christmas which, of course, is the creepiest thing. Except for her husband, my brother, who plays, ever so quietly, a child singing Christmas songs inside their darkened house on Halloween when the trick or treaters come. Great post and home decor! I did keep smiling all along the BOO way.

  22. Debbie D says:

    Boooootiful!!!

  23. Tigersmom says:

    I like to spell it Mwooooooooo haaaaa haaaa! The more purely phonetic the better, it seems.

    I love how Margaret remains so elegant even draped in creepy cloth. Those mummified cats are fantastically life(actually death, I suppose)-like. The whole house looks great.

    Can’t wait to see the kitchen. My physical issue of Canadian Living that I ordered never arrived. : (

  24. Ev Wilcox says:

    Cats are really creepy-good! How do your cats react to them? I once put a wooden box turtle in with my guys and they BURIED IT! For real! They must have thought it was real or they would not have done that. Your house looks good and scary Karen! Will be waiting with bated breath for the kitchen reveal, though! Thanks for nice camera work today, as always.

  25. Jody says:

    I was really enjoying the house until the ginormous spider. Spiders are horrible creatures. What do your real live cats think of their mummy cousins that visit once a year?

  26. Suanne says:

    Your house is so creepy….
    No one could be sleepy
    Due to floor creeks and howls thru the night.
    But one fact that is true
    Is….. we all envy you
    For your ability to give us such fright!

    HAPPY HALLOWEEN KAREN

  27. Su says:

    The cats are creepy no doubt…. LOVE the candelabra with bones and the bones wreath…. you are seriously disturbed but my hero none the less…. cause you got everything on clearance after the holiday… happy haunting!

  28. Darlene Cox says:

    Karen

    I really hate to bring this up – but, your header reads: “your Daily Post” I think you need to change this. sad to say, that is unless you plan to come back to Daily!!!

  29. Karol says:

    I pictured you wringing your hands and hunched over a little bit while you said… Muahaha

  30. karen says:

    1. I tend to spell it BWa-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha
    2. Ok, science now has a 3-D printer and they’re making dumb things like, oh, artificial limbs and heart valves… WHY NOT POTATO CHIPS???? When the bag is empty, one could just stroll over to the 3-D printer and make some more!!!!

  31. Lynn Jackson says:

    Great tour, my son is an adult, every Halloween I still decorate, the day after Thanksgiving , got my glass skull in Newfoundland at that time it was only place I knew where it could be bought, also I saved my turkey bones planted them in my vegetable garden an the next spring got my grandchildren to help me get my garden ready an we pretend to find dinosaur bones they just loved digging and finding them, Good Memories. HAVE A GREAT HA LLOWEEN KAREN!!!!

  32. Tara Fletcher-Gibbs says:

    Those cats! Eeeeek! Most disturbing thing I’ve seen in a while… but I think the most important part of this post is THE KITCHEN REVEAL ON MONDAY!!! AAAAAHHHHH!

    Where’s a Tardis when I need one!

  33. Christy says:

    The mantle is a home run! The mummified cats look like they are going number two.

  34. Tracie Berry says:

    Extremely ghoulish, and oddly tasteful….kudos, Karen. I’m just so envious of your energy….but totally love it!

  35. chris aka monkey says:

    i would suppose because muhhaaha is not a real word you can spell it any dam way you want, i would be creeped out in your house those cats are not for the faint of heart…. but i love the skull sitting on top of a short guide to a happy life..you have a weird sense of humor or is that just chip withdrawals? xx

  36. maggie van sickle says:

    Good job Karen and did that glass skull hold vodka at one time because I have seen vodka holding skulls in the LCBO in the past. Just wonderin. Happy Boo to you.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Maggie! No, it really is a candle holder, but I DO have that glass skull Vodka. 🙂 I even went to the States to buy it about 4 years ago because you couldn’t get it here. Still has some Vodka in it! ~ karen

      • Cred says:

        I remember that post where you travelled to the states for the bottle of Crystal Head. I bought the mini bottle recently and recalled your sojourn. Although, I thought it was because it was far cheaper there. I didn’t realize it wasn’t sold in Canada at the time- doesn’t make sense since it’s made in Newfoundland.
        Love that skull and the mummified cats. Your entire Halloween setup works perfectly in your house. Many of us would have to work harder without the painting of Margaret, the open fireplace, wood floors and other original features of a century home. Beautiful and creepy!

      • Scott says:

        Strange that you couldn’t find the Vodka there. Its distilled in Canada by Dan Aykroyd. Crystal Head Vodka.

      • Jake says:

        If you are not going to drink it I finish it up for you. Let me know.

  37. Amber says:

    I was so sure the Halloween thing was going to be about Freshwater Fish. I mean, you’ve got the book, right there under Hubert the candy-dish-human-skull, and fish have googly eyes and tend to be predators and they are kinda weird if you think about it… Makes sense, right?

  38. Olga says:

    Your house looks very creepy now. I know you mentioned several times that this is 150 year old house, and I just noticed that you have wood floors. Does your floors squeak in a creepy way? That would totally freak me out with all the sculls around haha

  39. Melanie says:

    Mummified cats? Available, but not cheap. The rats are a better deal.

    NOT for the squeamish: http://www.headsandtails.co.uk/Exotic&unusual/Exotic.htm

    And now I’m sorry I even felt the need to look that up.

    • Karen says:

      And as it turns out I own not one, but two of the things shown for sale on that page. Which says a lot about my devotion to ick. The MOST hilarious thing on that page is right down near the bottom, after the mummified cats but before the selection of heads, is the ever so terrifying “basket of fruit”, lol. ~ karen!

    • Heather says:

      Mounted Lioness in driving mode????

  40. Grammy says:

    Screw auto correct. It’s wash ’em down. I don’t care what you do with your email.

  41. Grammy says:

    OK — where are you hiding the chocolate? I know you’re not going to give it to the kids, so where is it? Of course you know that potato chips and a Snickers bar constitute a well-balanced meal, don’t you? Wash ’email down with a Pepsi and you’re set for the whole day.

  42. dana says:

    I LOVE that mummified cat next to Margaret. That skull really looks real. I have been looking for one and none look as authentic as that one. And you say the fella left? Or did he stay and become part of the decor? Lol! The little skeleton garland is really cute.

  43. gloria says:

    A couple of those cats are in poses that look like they are about to hurk up a hairball. Is this intentional?

    • Sandra says:

      Walking into a room and finding a furball is way scarier than those mimmified cats. Is it terrible that I always hope my husband finds it first so he can clean it up? Gag-O-Rama!

  44. Maria says:

    That 1st ‘cat’ looks like a gargoyle! Love it. Love the silver round pedestaled table and stuff on it! Want one (table that is). Spiders? I’m running out of the house on those! Great job.

  45. Debbie says:

    Urban dictionary can’t spell maniacal, but it seems to have bwah ha ha down pat. http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=bwahaha

  46. Katie says:

    Those cats are just wrong. DEAD wrong. (<—see what I did there?)

    Seriously, though. They'd freak me out every time I saw them. I make my husband squish things that freak me out, so he'd probably be pretty frustrated by those…

  47. Dee says:

    Spoooooky! What fun. Hope you are having a party to give your friends this treat too.

  48. Jamieson says:

    maybe try it with a B? As in Bwuahahahaha. Or not.

    Maybe you enjoy Halloween so much – despite avoiding child rearing – because of your affinity for us Gays? It is our Christmas, after all. I’m not taking away from what it means to everyone else of course, but for some reason we Gays particularly embrace the season more than the average adults. Or another plausible reason you like Halloween is because you’re a creepy weirdo (tho we love you for it).

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