These are my best Halloween decorating ideas to date. Easy (ish) DIYs for haunting the hell out of your home.
I would like to take a moment to officially voice my disdain over the latest kind of Haunted Houses up and running for Halloween. I feel it's my civic duty to bring these abominations to your attention. Like that time I told you about the ill conceived 1980's invention: the Cherry flavoured potato chip.
Your community might have one of these horrors in your midst this very moment and you don't even know about it so I encourage you to seek them out and protest them. They're Haunted Houses ... that aren't haunted.
That's right. They are unHaunted Houses. This is such a grotesque and appalling distortion of what Halloween is supposed to be that it sickens me. You know what Halloween without the haunt is?? It's Easter.
I was listening to the radio the other day and there was an advertisement for one of these attractions. According to the soothing sound of the announcer, it was a family friendly Haunted House that wasn't scary at all. So, um. That's just a house, right? Am I missing something?
We are literally taking the scare out of scary because we're scared of scaring someone.
The whole point of it is to be scared. And might I add, if a child can learn to confront their fears and walk past a dark corner that may or may not be hiding a Zombie with teenage acne, they'll be able to confront even more terrifying things later in life. The ability to overcome fear is one of the most important qualities we can instil in children. We are currently raising a platoon of kids whose greatest fear is their iPad battery running out mid-YouTube video.
Which as everyone knows is only scary if you're in the middle of a hair tutorial.
So today I bring to you the opposite end of the Halloween spectrum. My idea of Halloween. Unnerving. Disturbing. Creepy. But beautiful.
It's Pretty Grimm.
Indoor Halloween Decorations
A lot of my Halloween decorations have been collected over the years like the realistic skulls, but even more of it has either been DIYed or just taking things I already own and presenting them in a creepy way. But classy! Creepy but classy halloween decorations.
In other words, there's no fake barf or disembowelled anything.
Chicken and turkey bones. When I make stock after Thanksgiving I save the bones, clean them, bleach them and then put them away because nothing comes in handier around Halloween than a box full of bones.
The Bone Wreath was the first thing I made out of real bones.
Read the tutorial on How to make a Bone Wreath here.
The bone crown is another way to use bones. You can wear it (carefully) or just put it out as a decoration.
Honestly it's just a bunch of bones glued together but you can get the details and tips for how to make it in this bone crown tutorial.
I like it just sitting out on a table or on top of one of my 40 bazillion skulls.
Finally, if you can't be bothered to DIY anything out of your bones, you can just pile them on a table.
Learn how to clean the bones in this how to make a bone wreath post.
Antlers are part of the bone category AND the creepy category so if you have them, use them.
Flea markets are perfect places to find Halloween decorations. I got this frame and portrait locally for $10. I didn't have to do a thing to it other than put the creepy thing on display and add a few cobwebs.
To make bagged cobwebs look good you have to pull it and stretch it apart so it becomes very fine threads. As fine as cobwebs.
Cobwebs. Let's have a little lesson on that right now. When I drive around neighbourhoods at Halloween the #1 mistake I see is people doing their cobwebs wrong. They're too clumpy and thick. Now, I happen to have a lot of experience with real cobwebs so that's why I might be a bit more of an expert than the rest of you.
When you buy spider web it comes in a bag in a clump. It needs to be pulled apart, separated and teased until you don't think it's going to hold together anymore. THAT is the perfect spiderweb. Something so fine it seems breakable.
One bag of spider webbing should do your entire house, not just your front door if you're using it right.
Like the taxidermy bat? Me too.
I can't teach you how to make a taxidermy bat but I can tell you where to get one.
You can get a dried hanging bat on Amazon . It comes without a display box but you can hang it from anything anywhere!.
You can get a taxidermy bat with a display box on Amazon for between $50 and $78.
The Witches Broom is one of my favourite Halloween DIYs from the past few years. This time of year there are branches falling down all over the place, which makes it the perfect time of year for scrounging materials for this.
You can use a DIY witches broom for decorating indoors or outdoors.
Read the tutorial on How to Make a Witch's Broom here.
The black fabric is just cheap cotton Halloween fabric from the Dollar Store and you can put it ANYWHERE and it'll look good.
Just add gold spiders.
You can use black gauzy fabric on the back of your sofa like a throw, hanging down like curtains or over your dining room table like a tablecloth.
I said there wouldn't be any disembowelled things, there are however dismembered things.
If you missed my first post on these vintage doll parts you can read it here and see alllll the photos. If anyone has ever looked at your Halloween decorations and proclaimed "Oh, that's CUTE!", then you will probably not like this. But I *do* know of an unHaunted house you might be interested in.
With a couple of doll parts you can DIY a regular book into an impressive Halloween decoration. Actually the eyes in this book are from dollar store rings now that I think about it. But doll eyes would work too.
If you want to learn how to make one you can learn how to do that in my Book with Eyes tutorial.
Hands can be stuck out of anything and look disturbing.
One ball of yarn and a roll of two sided tape and you're on your way to a spiderweb big enough to trap a mature gazelle.
Learn the tips to making a good wall web here.
Not enough yarn? Use a single thread to hang a big spider from something.
You know your Halloween Decoration has met the pinnacle of Halloween decorations when Elvira reTweets it. And she did.
The Die-O-Rama is hands down my most popular Halloween DIY among readers. They like it when they see it during the day ...
... but they love when they see it lit up at night.
To learn How to Make a Pumpkin Diorama click here for the full tutorial and tips.
Glow in the dark
It's easy to find glow in the dark paint at Halloween, what's hard is finding a place where it's dark enough that it'll actually glow.
This skull has been painted on my staircase for SIX YEARS and it still glows. Yes I should have washed or scraped it off but no, I never bothered to do that since you can't see it during the day or if the lights are on.
It STILL shows up thought when the lights are all off.
Outdoor Halloween decorations
So you need a wreath because in recent years every holiday has a wreath. Easter? Hang a wreath. Christmas? Hang a wreath. Your kid lost a tooth because they were spinning and circles with their eyes closed while wearing boxes on their hands? Hang a wreath.
This one is made entirely from stuff from the dollar store. Black feather boas, black gauze, sparkle skulls and probably a real life bug or two.
I've had it for 10 years and it still looks as good (bad?) as the day I made it.
Here's how to make your own Halloween wreath for outside but if you want to go the super-simple route, just wrap a styrofoam wreath form with black feather boas. Done.
You don't have to carve them.
No seriously, just don't. I used to spend DAYS carving pumpkins into 3 dimensional creative pieces of art. You can see some of them here.
You're lookin' at it. I add a few sparkle lights and that's it.
Contrary to what popular culture might have you believe sheets aren't the best material for making ghosts.
The very BEST material for making ethereal ghosts are gardening supplies.
This ghost that flutters and blows with the help of a fan behind it, is made out of lightweight gardening row cover and insect netting. The lighter the fabric the more fantastic the flutter.
Watch the video of how to make this ghost bride here.
This year above any others I think I'm going to go all in with my Halloween decorating.
It just feels like that kind of year. Where you need to do something BIG.
Only in 2020 could filling your house with horrifying things be a guaranteed way to cheer yourself up.
→Follow me on Instagram where I often make a fool of myself←
To my fellow Hauntress, I'm not really sure there are words for how Amazing your ideas are Simple, Elegant & Dare I say Scary? It's as if you live inside my head, my pile of bones & skulls are growing but I do believe you have surpassed my imagination with your fabulous (Bone Wreath)? I am estatic to see someone who has the Intestinal Fortitude to KEEP Halloween as it has always been Thrilling , a little Mischievous & most of all Magical! Melo
Haha, scary looking stuff, Karen!
I just threw away a whole stockpot full of bones, the horror! :(
I like so much of this!
The owls adorable! ;) & the window cat, nice touch.
I figured the mummy cats you had just wrapped gauze around some statues.
The gold spiders, cute (sorry, lol!)
I have the black webbing up year round, but with seashells.
I don't decorate with webbing outside cause we have the real stuff, lol, large spiders included heehee. But the real webs do sometimes get thick and it gets clumps, though obviously not as much as people normally decorate with.
Great post, Karen...looks like props that have come straight off a movie set!!
Just remember that plastic skeletons are harmful to the environment. Only use locally sourced all-natural ones!😂
My favorite way to get spider webs is to never sweep up around my front door. I don't know what it is about the houses I live in, but those real spiders love to build there. I make sure never to evict them starting in September and they do all the work for me!
I chuckled at the picture with the cobwebs on it. I just thought, how would it feel to be the person that, when people look at your picture, they say, "Hey, she's got the perfect look for a creepy Halloween decoration!" LOL
I love everything about these decorations - the realism, creativity, and not store bought. Well done! I have almost that exact gold frame and photo ... except it's mine! It's my great great grandmother!
Thanks Serene! And wow. Yup, it's a classic creepy photo that everyone seemed to have taken in the day. ~ karen!
I was just thinking this morning that I wanted to know what you were doing so I was super excited to see your post. I love all of your decorations! I have tons of stuff myself, but I agree, carving pumpkins is too much work! Love your posts!!
Christine in BC
Thanks Christine! I love Halloween decorating. It's SO much more fun than Easter. ~ karen!
After reading your post, consider me cheered!
Excellent!😂 ~ karen!
I use to be like you in for the scary ghoulish Halloween it was fun and extremely fun to think up new things each year.
Then I am not sure what happened... about 15 to 20 years ago I stopped finding it fun 🥴. Which took the seasons fun away completely. I now look at an just shiver.
Hmm. Well that's odd. But if you find it icky then try to find another way to decorate for the season that isn't so off putting to you. Maybe just an assortment of black cats. Everybody likes cats. :) (no they don't, but I do, lol) ~ karen!
So many great ideas--the Die-O-Rama is outstanding! I think you must have a PhD in Halloween. (If not, you deserve one.)
Thanks, lol! I LOVE my Die-O-Rama so much! ~ karen
I want to say that I love you and totally agree with everything you said. We are raising wimps. I live in the country and every year I'm so sad because I go all out decorating and it's scary and 2 kids show up. My husband probably gets fed up with the rats on the stairs and the screaming spider every time he goes to the bathroom but he wouldn't say a word cause he knows how much I love Halloween. The other issue that you didn't mention is all the people who are up in arms about Halloween and how we are worshiping the devil. Bunk! We are just trying to scare people and be something else for a day.
I love the crown of bones - very glamorous!