4 Easy DIY Halloween Decoration Ideas

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Don't spend a fortune on Halloween decorations each year, when some of the best decor can be made right at home. From floating ghosts to creepy specimen jars, create fun or scary decor with these simple and cheap Halloween decoration ideas.

Paper Bats

One of the easiest and cheapest DIY Halloween decoration ideas, black paper bats require only a few materials and very little time.

What You'll Need:

  • 10 to 25 sheets of black paper
  • Scissors
  • A bat template (if you do not want to draw one yourself)
  • A pencil


  1. Find a bat template online, or draw one yourself onto a regular, white sheet of paper.
  2. Place the bat template onto a stack of two to four black pieces of paper, and trace the outline of the bat with a pencil. Position the template onto the black pages so that more than one bat can fit per page.
  3. Press down on the pencil hard enough to leave an imprint of the bat on the first sheet of black paper.
  4. Once you have traced the bat, remove the white paper.
  5. Hold all the pieces of black paper together, and cut out the bat around the impression left by the pencil. Using the top sheet as a guide, you can cut out several bats at a time without needing to transfer the template to each one.
  6. Repeat with all sheets of black paper remaining, in sets of two to four sheets at a time. Trying to cut too many sheets of paper at once can be hard, and creates jagged or torn edges.
  7. Once you have cut out all the bats so your sheets of black paper can fit, slightly bend their wings to create a 3-D, flying effect.
  8. Use tape to stick them on walls around your home, or hang them from the ceiling with thin string and tacks.
Ready for Planting Finished Product

Specimen Jars

Easily create your very own mad scientist's specimen jars from materials you have at home, and a few inexpensive Halloween decorations from the store.

What You'll Need:

  • Several clear glass mason jars, with lids
  • Plastic spiders
  • Plastic rats
  • Plastic eyeballs
  • Plastic bugs
  • Green food coloring


  1. Clean out your mason jars, then fill with water to within one half inch of the lid.
  2. Place one to two drops of green food coloring into each jar, until the water has a slight green tint, but is not bright green. Mix well.
  3. Place one small plastic Halloween toy like bugs, rats, spiders or eyeballs inside each jar.
  4. Tightly screw the lid onto the jar, and arrange in your living room, dining room, or entry way for your very own mad scientist's collection of specimens.

Floating Cheesecloth Ghosts

Make these simple hanging ghosts from cheesecloth and starch. Great for chandeliers, doorways and even outdoor Halloween decorations.

What You'll Need:

  • Tall glasses
  • Cheesecloth
  • Balloons
  • Starch
  • A black marker
  • String


  1. Set one tall on a table or counter.
  2. Inflate a small balloon, and set it onto the glass, without pressing it down inside.
  3. Soak a one square foot piece of cheesecloth in a bowl of starch, then drape over the balloon resting in the glass.
  4. Allow the starch soaked cheesecloth to dry over the balloon and glass for approximately 15 minutes.
  5. Using a pin, pop the balloon, and remove it from the hardened cheesecloth. By now, the cloth will have taken on the tall, rounded shape of the balloon set atop the glass.
  6. Remove the ghost from the glass, and using scissors or your hands, roughen up the bottom of the cheesecloth for a spookier look.
  7. Use the black marker to draw on eyes.
  8. Use string to hang the ghosts off light fixtures, in trees, over doorways or anywhere you'd like to add a little Halloween decor .

Candle Wraps

Turn the candles you already own into customized Halloween decorations.

What You'll Need:

  • A clear glass candle holder
  • Plain white paper, rice paper or vellum
  • Halloween templates found online
  • Tape


  1. Look online for a creepy, funny or whimsical Halloween design template.
  2. Measure the height of your candle holder, then either select an appropriately sized template, or adjust one in a photo editing program to fit the size you will need.
  3. Print out the correctly sized template onto plain white paper, rice paper or vellum, depending on your budget and the material availability.
  4. Cut the printed paper to the exact height of your candle holder, and approximately one quarter of an inch longer than its circumference.
  5. Wrap the paper around the candleholder, and secure with a piece of tape. While you can use glue, it can often leave dark circles that can be seen through the paper.
  6. Place a candle inside your new Halloween candleholder, and enjoy the backlit image.

Cover Your Furniture!

Finally, the simplest and least expensive way to quickly create a DIY Halloween theme in your home is to use white sheets you already own, on furniture already sitting in your living room, dining room or den. Simply drape the white sheets over chairs, couches and tables to instantly create the feel of a haunted, abandoned house. Your home will look thoroughly decorated, all without costing you a dime.

Last Updated: August 28, 2011
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About Alexandra Kerr Through Ideal Home Garden, Alexandra covers topics ranging from interior design to home improvement, gardening and cuisine. Having a passion for cooking and entertaining in her own life, she hopes to communicate her love of home design and decorating with her readers. 

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